Dr. Naomi Torres-Mackie on the psychological benefits of a healthy diet – Free Press Journal


Can eating better truly impact how we feel about our mental wellbeing? Doctor Naomi Torres-Mackie, a psychologist in New York, says that it can.
Healthy eating isn’t just good for our bodies; it’s good for our minds. So says Lenox Hill’s Dr. Naomi Torres-Mackie. The Head of Research at the Mental Health Coalition since 2020, Dr. Mackie, has a long history of helping her patients process all types of traumas. She advises her patients that creating a firm foundation of wellness starts with what you put into your body – a substance, food, water, or trauma.
Dr. Naomi Torres-Mackie wears many hats to protect patients from the traumas of mental illness at her practice at Lenox Hill Hospital. Although currently stationed in New York and practicing as a postdoctoral fellow in the Northwell Health group, she has a complete background in her field. The doctor plays the Adjunct Professor of Psychology at the esteemed Columbia University. Her other accreditations include being a co-founder of a social justice-focused medical and clinical psychology consultancy known as Nascent Consulting.
Dr. Torres-Mackie authored her Dissertation around strength construction under stigma and strain, making her uniquely placed to connect the dots between mental illness and outside influences. One of those outside influences lies in what we eat. Here are some of her thoughts on eating well and mental wellness.
When we hear the words “Healthy Eating,” most of us instinctively groan. What’s life without a bit of sugar and fat? However, if we consistently overeat sugars and fats, we risk high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart diseases. We don’t manage our weight; the same things can happen. Doctors don’t look at as closely how that unhealthy diet would impact our minds.
Our brains require recommended levels of vitamins and minerals to maintain healthy functioning. This means getting enough B-vitamins to grow healthy blood cells, getting enough calcium to create new bone, and eating the right things so that your body continues to produce enough serotonin and dopamine. These two chemicals connect to the brain’s ability to fight off mental instability and things like depression and anxiety. Eating healthy foods more regularly helps us to produce the correct chemical compounds. It, therefore, gives us the energy we need to maintain a positive stance against our mental ill-health.
Dr. Torres-Mackie, the head of research in the Mental Health Coalition, shared her thoughts on the links between healthy eating and healthy thinking with us.
“Preliminary and later research has shown a vital link between mental wellness and a nutritionally improved diet. It makes sense that if you do not put the right chemical compounds into your body, your brain doesn’t have those compounds to act upon. Ergo, eating healthily is the fastest path to improved mental functioning.”
It’s not an overnight fix, but it seems like a great place to begin.

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