A Holistic Psychiatrist Eats A Spoonful Of *This* Every Day To Calm Her Mind
The foods we eat play an important role in how our brains function, and prioritizing certain nutrients can go a long way in supporting mental health. Take it from holistic psychiatrist Ellen Vora, M.D., who values a "food first" approach when it comes to balancing mood: When trying to help someone feel less stressed, "we look at food first and foremost—your brain is a piece of flesh in the body. It's an organ, and it only functions as well as it's physically in a state of balance," she explains on the mindbodygreen podcast. We couldn't have said it better ourselves.
While Vora shares a laundry list of foods that can support emotional resilience (find her daily menu here), she also enjoys one unique staple by the spoonful: chicken liver. Don't run off just yet! Below, she explains why just a tiny bit a day may be worth incorporating into your routine.
Why a holistic psychiatrist recommends eating chicken liver.
Chicken liver might not be on your weekly grocery list, but according to Vora, it may very well deserve a spot: "I eat a lot of chicken liver pâté. I try to stock it in my fridge at all times—I take about a spoonful a day," she notes. Organ meats—including the aforementioned chicken liver, heart, kidney, brain (a source of omega-3s), tripe, thymus, and pancreas—are especially nutrient-dense and provide a variety of vitamins and minerals; Vora goes so far as to consider them "Mother Nature's multivitamin."
These nutrients include zinc; copper; manganese; vitamins A, C, D, E, and K; B vitamins (which support methylation, the process responsible for synthesizing mood-regulating neurotransmitters, among other essential processes in the body), iron, phosphorus, choline, and selenium. "If you can throw back a spoonful of pâté every few days, it'll go a long way toward meeting your nutritional needs," Vora writes for mbg. Additionally, the protein content of organ meats provides the building blocks for peptide neurotransmitters like serotonin, which is famously known as one of the "happy hormones."
Another bonus of organ meats? They're rather rare (as in unique, not raw), so they're more likely to be higher quality than mass-produced meats: "I think that the sort of weirder the animal, the smaller the animal husbandry business," says Vora. "So the more likely it's going to be a love-filled passion project, as opposed to large agribusiness." Still, it's important to be mindful of your sources: Vora personally grabs pastured chicken liver pâté from her butcher.
Now, let's address the elephant in the room: Organ meats might not be the most...visually appealing. If you can't stomach the thought of eating chicken liver—even a mere spoonful!—you can always look to dietary supplements to meet those nutritional needs. Multivitamins, in particular, are designed to help you meet the daily requirements of an array of vitamins and minerals—many of which are found in organ meats, the multi from Mother Nature. In fact, a 2017 study1 discovered that frequent use of a multi effectively increases micronutrient intakes and decreases the prevalence of most nutrient inadequacies in U.S. adults.
They're also great for individuals who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet who may struggle to get enough iron, iodine, and vitamin B12 because they've either partially or entirely eliminated animal products from their diet (and, thus, won't be eating any chicken liver). Of course, we're partial to mindbodygreen's ultimate multivitamin+, as it features 14 vitamins and 13 minerals in just two capsules, but in addition to promoting nutritional sufficiency, it also folds in six longevity bioactives such as glutathione, resveratrol, and carotenoid antioxidants to promote cellular health and healthy aging.* It's truly revolutionizing the multivitamin space.
If you're looking for some brain-health-supporting foods to incorporate into your diet, think about trying chicken liver or other kinds of organ meats. And if you don't eat meat or aren't quite on board with the idea of eating organs, consider taking a high-quality multivitamin supplement to get an array of nutritional benefits.