The surprisingly dramatic role of nutrition in mental health | Julia Rucklidge | TEDxChristchurch

NOTE FROM TED: Please consult with a mental health professional and do not look to this talk for medical advice as the intersection of mental health and nutrition is still an emerging field of study. We’ve flagged this talk for falling outside TEDx’s curatorial guidelines because it oversimplifies interpretations of legitimate studies. TEDx events are independently organized by volunteers. The guidelines we give TEDx organizers are described in more detail here:

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. In this critically important talk, clinical psychologist Julia Rucklidge explores a range of scientific research, including her own, showing the significant role played by nutrition in mental health or illness.

Julia J Rucklidge, PhD is a Professor of Clinical Psychology in the Department of Psychology at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. Originally from Toronto, she did her training in neurobiology (McGill) and Clinical Psychology (University of Calgary). Her interests in nutrition and mental illness grew out of her own research showing poor outcomes for children with significant psychiatric illness despite receiving conventional treatments for their conditions. For the last 6 years, she has been investigating the role of micronutrients in the expression of mental illness, specifically ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, anxiety and more recently, stress and PTSD associated with the Canterbury earthquakes.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)


  1. Melissa Mattei on October 15, 2021 at 8:18 am

    This is incredible and such important information that needs to spread; however I am disappointed that when she described the western diet she did not mention that it his high in meat meanwhile she did not mention meat when describing the healthy diet. I wonder why she didn’t mention that meat is part of the problem and should only be eaten in small amounts if not at all. Hopefully she will include that optimal nutrition does not include meat in her next talk. Either way, Thank you for the wonderful work and spreading this information !

  2. Jessica Nielsen on October 15, 2021 at 8:19 am

    What a reductive view of mental illness. Most modern neuroscience supports nutrition as one aspect of a multiple modality care plan for life– that being said, while nutrition is essential for optimal health, the implication that nutrition can be curative for serious mental health conditions is like when chiropractors say they can treat autoimmune illness with a back adjustment– very, very, very effing reductive

  3. Timothy McLean on October 15, 2021 at 8:19 am

    Starting a TED Talk by comparing your discovery to something as world-changing as early sanitation _and_ implying that anyone who disagrees with it is as foolish as a doctor who doesn’t wash their hands before delivering a baby is…a choice.

  4. Maryse Okley on October 15, 2021 at 8:20 am

    Medicines…are drugs! Some are prescribed as placebos i.e comprised of sugar only! Thus, it is evident that ingesting "pills" to alleviate any kind of bodily discomfort, is useless; better to live in reality….now, this moment; accept it.

  5. Emem Nkanta on October 15, 2021 at 8:23 am

    So wonderful how i was able to beat my Diabetes disease with the help of Dr Igudia on YouTube herbal medicine. God will reward you Doc!

  6. Anna lee on October 15, 2021 at 8:26 am

    I never believe I could get rid of my Diabetes disease not until I came across Dr IGUDIA YouTube channel and after using his herbs medication that was the end of my Diabetes disease

  7. Anthony Gillman on October 15, 2021 at 8:27 am

    We are n our 70s and things like ADHD etc were unheard of in our childhoods. We have often wondered at the escalation in these childhood disorders in recent years… could part of the answer be as simple as poor nutrition in utero ?! Brilliant dissertation . 👏🏻

  8. Alex Shiro on October 15, 2021 at 8:27 am

    Having a life that’s a living testimony to her theory, complete with ADHD diagnosis amongst other fun labels, she is on the mark that basic nutrition can change so much, and it is definitely worth going to that first. I have restored so much in using nutrition, despite people’s ridicule and scorn, it worked wonders and I will keep waving that flag.

  9. Angelique Wolfe on October 15, 2021 at 8:28 am


  10. Kate Bruno on October 15, 2021 at 8:28 am

    I hope this wonderful speaker knows about the science behind Juice Plus! It offers Micronutrients in capsule form made entirely from a wide array of fruits and veggies. As a dietitian who has never supported the use of synthetic supplements, I was thrilled to find real food in a capsule to help bridge the gap! It carries a nutrition label, has proven bioavailability, and has been a huge blessing to my family. We still eat well but this added tool offers such peace of mind. I’m now a rep merely to save on my own product but of course happy to share if others want more info.

  11. Elizabeth Nelms on October 15, 2021 at 8:28 am

    Yes ma’am! Speak it! Teachers see it at lunch & snack time & it makes us want to cry!

  12. Nicole Joswiak on October 15, 2021 at 8:28 am

    The GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome diet) has been around since the 80s.

  13. Tiny House Girl on October 15, 2021 at 8:28 am

    I’ve been making the connection between mental health and nutrition for decades. You don’t have to be a mechanic to know that Honey would affect the way your engine works, in a very bad way…even just a little bit over time will still ruin your vehicle. If we don’t have the common sense to realize our minds are part of our machine and mental health depends on our physical health, we’re just being idiots. You don’t need people with a special degree to give you permission to inform yourself. You’re supposed to be an intelligent beings. Why don’t leaders and the followers realize and prioritize self care of your basic machine, the way all do when taking care of self desire? We will risk our health and life for desire, but not for basic healthy survival. Who do you blame for bad nutrition when the business of government has replaced and outlawed most natural sources with industrialized and commercial options? Corporations control the nutrition and the messages. It businesses thru government agencies that give misleading information about nutrition and control what we can afford or have access to. Nice TED talk, but what’s the point? Sad but true, what’s the point?

  14. Christine A Lambert on October 15, 2021 at 8:29 am

    The testy dipstick nearly enjoy because clipper algorithmically approve anenst a wakeful chair. goofy, exciting exclusive engineer

  15. Maryse Okley on October 15, 2021 at 8:29 am

    The body…is divine intelligence; guides what to ingest! or not….

  16. Blackmind Builder on October 15, 2021 at 8:33 am

    Straight from got to brain…

  17. Cimone Jefferson on October 15, 2021 at 8:33 am

    Thankful I saw this . The African American community needs to hear this 💌gonna spread to my family and peers

  18. Rebecca Shanklyn on October 15, 2021 at 8:33 am

    I want to personally take time out to appreciate Dr IGUDIA on his YouTube channel for the herbs medication I ordered from him in curing my Diabetes disease

  19. Janie Holland on October 15, 2021 at 8:33 am

    I went plant-exclusive vegan and lost 9 stone (126 pounds) in 17 months. I also got rid of suicidal depression for good without any changes other than the diet. I gained so much energy that I walk around 10 miles every day now. Meat made me so lethargic I couldn’t leave the sofa.

  20. First Fruit Tas on October 15, 2021 at 8:34 am

    Thought my sister was nuts when she told me consuming apricots sent her into a (temporary) pit… tested it and found I have the same result. Daughter doesn’t melt down when she’s on a gluten free diet… definitely feel down more when consuming processed carbs…

  21. Katia Marin on October 15, 2021 at 8:35 am

    Thank you for woeking hard on it. For some reason people does not want to clean vegetables. It s crazy

  22. caterpillar on October 15, 2021 at 8:35 am


  23. Zoe Macy on October 15, 2021 at 8:36 am

    The victorious attention explicitly provide because plough distally perform with a icy mind. ill-fated, hurt note

  24. Jules Schultz on October 15, 2021 at 8:39 am

    It’s anecdotal evidence, of course, but from my personal experience the influence of a plant based diet ist massive!

  25. perp1exed on October 15, 2021 at 8:40 am

    This all sounds like a panacea to me. Why is this even on TED? The only thing that makes actual sense is her plea for prioritizing lifestyle factors over medication. Beyond that there’s a bunch of outright dangerous claims about treating (read: curing) mental illness with nutrition. If food cures your "depression" or "psychosis" you’re a hypochondriac at best, or a wellness dork at worst.

    Note: I’m being very kind in my choice of words.

  26. Petra Lehmann on October 15, 2021 at 8:41 am

    blessings for this talk!

  27. chelsea dobson on October 15, 2021 at 8:42 am

    While I agree with the overall sentiment, how dare you categorize autism as a mental illness. The increase is due to better understanding of it and identifying more cases.
    But yeah, eat fruits and veggies, people.

  28. Public Service Announcement on October 15, 2021 at 8:43 am

    Amino acids…

  29. Gina Venezio on October 15, 2021 at 8:44 am

    Thank you❤️

  30. Sow AG on October 15, 2021 at 8:50 am

    It’s so very correct.
    I thought this was well known out there … either way, the mire we spread it, the better.

  31. Maryse Okley on October 15, 2021 at 8:50 am

    An apple a day keeps the doctor away

  32. Natalie Linden on October 15, 2021 at 8:52 am

    Eating very healthy and being scared of "bad" foods (AKA going on a diet) can also *contribute* to the development of an eating disorder (mental illness) if you’re biologically pre-disposed to one. That should be noted in talks like these. People with eating disorders don’t need more shame surrounding food, which is what talks like these inadvertently do if you’re active in your Ed.

  33. Portie Piano - Mindfull piano spelen on October 15, 2021 at 8:53 am

    Thank you!!!

  34. Debbie S on October 15, 2021 at 8:55 am

    Vaccines are hurting people too.

  35. Love isHappiness on October 15, 2021 at 8:57 am

    Great talk.

  36. Carl-Antoine Leclerc on October 15, 2021 at 8:58 am

    Is there a place to buy these micronutrients ?

  37. Susan J Mc on October 15, 2021 at 8:59 am

    Excellent presentation and thank you for sharing some fundamental truths: You are what you eat. In eating whole foods, the benefits far surpass any risk factors. Because there are no risks. 🌹

  38. momof agr8kid on October 15, 2021 at 9:00 am

    That inking sound definitely took away from audio quality for such an important message….great insight 👏🏾 thank you! Many Veterans would benefit from this message

  39. Claire Johnson on October 15, 2021 at 9:00 am

    Where can I get these micro nutrients pills

  40. Zhiera on October 15, 2021 at 9:01 am

    There is a reason why poor families are nutrient starved. It isn’t a choice for a lot of the world.

  41. Jill P on October 15, 2021 at 9:01 am

    I had to stop listening because of the constant clicking noise.

  42. OK Boomer on October 15, 2021 at 9:03 am

    The Keto diet and vegan diet people are fighting in the comments section about what “nutrition” means. Back when I was a kid “nutrition” was all about granola and not eating eggs. Then we aren’t allowed to eat granola because carbs. Now we can’t eat it because gluten. Now both of those reasons are being scoffed at and it’s ok to eat granola again because fiber. And also eggs are back because it turns out cholesterol isn’t really a thing! I don’t know what to believe! But I do know that all one thing and none of another thing is ridiculous. And I miss having orange juice with breakfast

  43. Asathora on October 15, 2021 at 9:05 am

    How many do we have with mental illness in the corporate world – sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy nutrition, unhealthy competition and excessive preoccupation with money?

  44. caroline gregory on October 15, 2021 at 9:06 am

    Just wondering why nit real organic food?????

  45. BeckyB on October 15, 2021 at 9:07 am

    Highly privileged lady gives talk on how important carrots are! Completely skipping over the fact that assessment and diagnosis of neurological diversity conditions like ADHD and Autism is naturally going to increase over time because the psychiatric community have standards for diagnosis and they are now diagnosis that can help people survive in society. They are not “mental health” conditions and cannot be cured. The mental health conditions she does mention have such vast disparities between them but she puts them all in the same box. Also there is a veiled demonisation of medicine which help regulate the chemical imbalances and improve the lives of many of the people who take them. She fails to refer to the fact some people are not able to afford this diet and rely on processed food to survive. Just teaching kids what healthy food is doesn’t help this social issue. I happen to believe there is a massive correlation between diet and overall health but this argument is weak and fails to make the point logically and from and scientific and unbiased stance. This is a fail for TEDx to let this person speak. Fair enough she can understand the terminology but her lack of reason is evident. Lastly, pinning the entire recovery of children down to fish oils and not showing if they may have also had an entire routine, life, social, care, dietary, and therapeutic change at the same time is weak evidence.

  46. Ashley Rowzee on October 15, 2021 at 9:08 am

    I would take 15 nutrients…if they had a chewable…smh.

  47. Emilia Chidester on October 15, 2021 at 9:09 am


  48. Savage Nutritionist on October 15, 2021 at 9:10 am

    Should we employ registered dietitian nutritionists in mental health clinics?

  49. Olivia Clovar on October 15, 2021 at 9:17 am

    The vast ankle pharmacokinetically frighten because napkin intialy fix save a humorous flavor. rhetorical, keen sweatshirt

  50. KEJ86 on October 15, 2021 at 9:17 am

    This is so true. The brain is an organ, what we feed it impacts how it functions. 20% of the calories we eat are used by our brain. Speaking from personal experience, prioritizing a whole food diet, minimizing alcohol consumption, minimizing sugar and consistently supplementing with iron, omega 3s, vitamin B and vitamin D has seismically improved my depressive symptoms.

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