Can the Paleo Diet Improve Your Mental Health?

We often search for the new diet that can give us the body we’ve always dreamed of. But can this diet also help our brains?

Like many of our body’s intricate systems, maintaining brain health heavily relies on our dietary choices. People frequently believe that as long as they eat a few specific “brain powering” foods, they will give their brains enough nutrients. This may not necessarily be the case if the rest of their diet is off.

Brain health is complicated. There’s no specific combination of foods that works exactly the same for everyone, as influenced by genetics and other factors. However, it’s becoming increasingly evident that the paleo diet may “check the boxes,” so to speak, of everything our brains need to operate at their best.

What is the Paleo Diet?

The paleo diet is a dietary plan that centers around foods that humans may have eaten during the Paleolithic era (2.5 million to 10,000 years ago). The diet, which includes lean meats, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish, cuts out foods that emerged with the development of farming, such as dairy products, legumes, and grains.

This diet returns us to what our ancestors would have been eating before modern farming changed the human diet. Paleo proponents argue that we, as a species, have still not fully adjusted to these dietary changes, which may contribute to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, schizophrenia, and other conditions.

How Does the Paleo Diet Effect Brain Health?

It’s becoming more apparent that the paleo diet can improve brain function in many ways. Some of these include:

No Gluten: A strict paleo diet cuts out all grains, which also means that gluten is out. Gluten is linked with Celiac disease, an autoimmune disease that can be accompanied by psychiatric symptoms such as psychosis, depression, and schizophrenia. People struggling with these issues show considerable improvement by cutting gluten out of their diets in many cases.


No Refined Carbohydrates: Added sugars, processed cereals, and other refined carbohydrates are also avoided in a paleo diet. Eating too many of these can often cause high blood pressure and insulin levels. This promotes hormonal instability, oxidative stress, and inflammation throughout the body and brain. Imbalances in serotonin, dopamine, glutamate, and GABA can occur and cause various psychological issues.

No Refined Seed Oils: Vegetable oils derived from seeds, such as cottonseed, canola, etc., have only recently become a staple of the human diet. They contain high levels of Omega-6 fatty acids, an acid that balances delicately with Omega-3. Too much Omega-6 may tip the scales towards inflammation and away from healing. This imbalance reduces the brain’s access to DHA, which is vital for brain function.

No Dairy: The study of how dairy affects our mental health is still ongoing, but many intriguing studies may indicate a negative relationship between dairy and brain health. Studies have shown that people with autistic spectrum disorders, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia tend to have higher antibody levels against dairy proteins. 

Includes Healthy Foods: The Paleo diet isn’t just what to avoid, but also what to eat. It contains foods that boost brain health, reduce inflammation, maintain a balanced gut biome, and much more. The advantages that the paleo diet can have on the brain, for many patients, are plentiful.

Should I Switch to the Paleo Diet?

If you do not currently practice a paleo diet and struggle with mood, concentration, energy, stress, or other issues, you may very well benefit from trying it out. The diet is safe, doesn’t require you to monitor any medications that you may be taking, and can drastically improve your body and mind. Dr. Sheldon Jordan can help you decide if the paleo diet will serve you.

The experts at the Neurological Associates- The Interventional Group in Santa Monica, CA, are committed to helping their patients improve their lives holistically. With their access to clinical trials, world-class neurological care, and the most up-to-date methods, they are the best option for those who struggle with acute and chronic pain, headaches, depression, and many other neurological issues. You can contact them by calling (310) 829-5968 or scheduling a consultation online today.