Eat & Flourish: How Food Supports Emotional Well-Being (Hardcover)
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A lively and evidence-based argument that a whole food diet is essential for good mental health.
Food has power to nourish your mind, supporting emotional wellness through both nutrients and pleasure. In this groundbreaking book, journalist Mary Beth Albright draws on cutting-edge research to explain the food/mood connection. She redefines “emotional eating” based on the science, revealing how eating triggers biological responses that affect humans’ emotional states both immediately and long-term. Albright’s accessible voice and ability to interpret complex studies from the new field of nutritional psychology, combined with straightforward suggestions for what to eat and how to eat it, make this an indispensable guide. Readers will come away knowing how certain foods help reduce the inflammation that can harm mental health, the critical relationship between the microbiome and the brain, which vitamins help restore the body during intensely emotional times, and how to develop a healthful eating pattern for life—with 30-day kickoff plan included. Eat and Flourish is the entertaining, inspiring book for today’s world.
— Bobby Flay, chef
Food has an incredible power to heal bodies and nourish minds, to connect and repair communities, to feed the few and the many. In Eat & Flourish, Mary Beth Albright makes the compelling case that by understanding food holistically, we can unlock its potential to improve our physical and emotional well-being.
— José Andrés, chef
“As a chef, nutrition and nourishment is at the forefront of what I do. Mary Beth Albright presents an impressive exploration of the interconnectivity of these elements—and beyond—in Eat & Flourish. It is an outstanding and comprehensive book for today’s food and health enthusiast.
— Thomas Keller, chef/proprietor, The French Laundry
Eat & Flourish is a page-turner filled with information that you never knew you had access to or would even want. Mary Beth has brilliantly distilled this wealth of information into delicious bites of knowledge, which is power on a plate. My takeaway . . . I can eat for both pleasure and health at the same time.
— Carla Hall, chef and author of Carla Hall’s Soul Food
Albright, who writes about food for the Washington Post, debuts with a fun and illuminating look at how food affects mental health. Examining neuroscience studies on the connections between the brain and how people eat, she describes how the brain adapts to the pleasure felt after eating ultra-processed food and requires increasing amounts of stimulation to achieve the same level of pleasure, but she notes that cooking for oneself offers a healthier way to enhance enjoyment of a meal. Albright covers research linking changes in the gut microbiome and the enteric nervous system with depression, as well as associating omega-3 fatty acids with levels of aggression and inflammation with emotional stability. Her gift for making science accessible and entertaining is on full display, whether she’s delving into “hangry neurons,” recounting the time she consumed wine and kale juice inside an fMRI machine, or describing a study in which students wore sensory deprivation gear and tried to “track the scent of chocolate from one point to another.” Her four-week plan for building a diverse microbiome, reducing inflammation, and boosting nutrient intake and pleasure includes eating fermented food, legumes, and lots of produce, as well as “eating with another person at least once per day.” The research is eye-opening, and Albright’s genial tone makes her an ideal tour guide. The result is a first-rate program for eating better. (Nov.)
— Publisher's Weekly, Starred Review
"Food is pleasurable," writes journalist Mary Beth Albright in Eat and Flourish, a brilliant exploration of the connection between food and emotional well-being. This sets the tone for what is to come: a health book that divorces wellness and nutrition from weight-loss goals and diet culture. Instead, Albright explores how what people eat contributes to how they feel--and the key role that pleasure takes in that connection... Eat and Flourish is a compelling and practical guide to how small changes in daily diets might make someone feel their best. Among the countless books extolling the virtues of "healthy" eating, this stands apart because of Albright's focus not just on nutrients but also on the "circle of food, nutrients, pleasure, and connection." Eat and Flourish presents a more intentional way of eating that supports every aspect of how a person feels--physically, mentally and emotionally. And in a world that's rife with chaos, the privilege of being intentional about what and why we eat is not one to be taken lightly.
— Shelf Awareness, starred review