How Food Affects Your Brain:
The Role of Nutrition and Diet in the Mental Health Crisis

A FAB Research Webinar and Q&A session

This webinar addresses:

Why what we eat has such a powerful influence on how we feel, think, and behave – by its effects on our brains and nervous systems.
How changing diets can change minds – for better or for worse – and the practical implications of this for health and education professionals, policymakers, and the general public.


How Food Affects Your Brain:
The Role of Nutrition and Diet in the Mental Health Crisis

Leading international researchers Professor John Stein and Dr Alex Richardson present and discuss the scientific evidence on how nutrition and diet have a powerful - but often unrecognised - influence on how we all feel, think, and behave

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All proceeds from this event will go to Food And Behaviour (FAB) Research to support its work Registered Charity No: SC034604, Company No: SC 253448.

Find out how key elements of modern diets affect brain development and function, in ways which:

  • reduce our resilience to stress, anxiety, depression, dementia and other mental health problems.
  • help to explain the rise in developmental conditions like ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia and autism (and more general learning difficulties) and make these conditions more difficult to manage.
  • promote tendencies for impulsive, aggressive and antisocial behaviour, rather than pro-social co-operation and problem-solving.
  • also relate to common physical health problems including allergies and immune disorders, gut and digestive difficulties, and chronic pain.

Learn what basic nutritional and dietary changes could improve mental health and wellbeing both now – and for future generations. Hear from two of the world’s leading experts in this area what the latest evidence really shows, and crucially:

  • what we can all do in practice to help support and improve mental health and wellbeing at any age.

"FAB has raised my awareness of the importance of a healthy diet for all, not just those with behavioural issues, problems."

- Early Years Officer, Local Authority

"FAB Research provides a wealth of valuable information which isn't always available elsewhere - and in an easily digested form."

- GP and Medical Advisor

Who is this webinar for?

Anyone interested in improving mental health, wellbeing and performance - for personal or professional reasons

Including: • Individuals • Students & Researchers • Professionals • Policy-makers

who are interested and/or working in health
(particularly mental health, general medicine, psychiatry and psychology), nutrition (including food providers and producers), education, social services, criminal justice and allied areas.


This webinar is designed to help anyone - whatever their background, education and training:

  • to understand how what we eat affects our mental, as well as our physical health and wellbeing - via its effects on the brain and nervous system.
  • to find out more about what you can do in practice towards improving brain health, and reducing the burden of mental ill-health - as an individual or via your work/studies.
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What To Expect

Hear from two of the world’s leading experts in this area about the impact of nutrition and diet on the brain, and why the current ‘mental health crisis’ cannot be solved without addressing the issue of nutrition.

Dietary interventions are often regarded as ‘alternative medicine’ – but food is an absolute essential for life – not an ‘optional extra’.

Nutrition is therefore best seen in terms of prevention (via public health measures) or as complementary to mainstream medicine, psychiatry and other health services – because abundant scientific research shows that:

  • good nutrition, particularly in early life, can prevent many mental health conditions from developing in the first place - while poor nutrition will increase those risks.
  • effective action to improve nutrition at any age can enhance the effects of behavioural, psychological or pharmaceutical treatments.

The Speakers

The speakers are both highly experienced teachers as well as researchers - and they will provide an accessible overview of the latest evidence behind the fast-growing areas of ‘nutritional neuroscience’, ‘nutritional medicine’ and ‘nutritional psychiatry’, making clear:   

  • why more emphasis on these areas is urgently needed to stem the growing mental and public health crises.
  • how the current burden on the NHS - and other key public services - could be reduced by some simple, evidence-based measures to improve nutrition and diet.
  • why better information and education on the effects of food and dietary choices for brain health - and therefore mental, as well as physical wellbeing - is needed in schools, care homes and workplaces.
  • what individuals, parents and professionals can do - for themselves, as well as those they work with and/or care for - to improve their nutrition in ways that support, protect and promote brain health.


In the live Q&A session, you'll have the opportunity to get your own questions answered.

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More about Our Speakers

Hear from two of the world's leading experts in nutrition and mental health - Professor John Stein and Dr Alex Richardson - and get the chance to ask them your questions.

Professor John Stein

Emeritus Professor at the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, and Senior Research Fellow of Magdalen College, University of Oxford.

John Stein, FRCP, FMed. Sci, studied Medicine and Neurology at Oxford University, and became a tutor of medicine at Magdalen College, Oxford and researcher and lecturer in Neurophysiology in 1970. He is internationally known for his pioneering research into the neurological basis of both vision and movement – which led to the development of new treatments for conditions including Parkinson’s disease and dyslexia.

He also has a strong interest in the links between nutrition, behaviour and mental health, and is a Trustee and Chair of the Science Advisory Council at the Institute for Food, Brain & Behaviour. His ‘magnocellular’ theory of dyslexia – and its implications for vision, attention and other aspects of cognition – led on to studies of omega-3 fatty acids in dyslexia and related conditions; and trials of broader nutritional treatments for antisocial behaviour in young offenders.

By coincidence (although they both grew up eating a lot of fish) John’s brother is the TV fish chef, Rick Stein – but John doesn't cook fish; and his brother does not do neuroscience!

Dr Alex Richardson

Founder of FAB Research, world-renowned researcher, author, and educator.

Alex Richardson, DPhil(Oxon), PGCE, FRSA, became interested in dyslexia and related conditions from her early work in teaching – leading to her DPhil at Oxford with John Stein (Neurophysiology), and Gordon Claridge (Experimental Psychology). The links she found then between neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders - involving not only vision, attention, cognition, but also allergies, immune disorders and other physical symptoms – led to her pioneering studies of omega-3 for conditions including ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Depression, Bipolar disorder, Schizophrenia and Huntington’s Disease; and for behaviour and learning in children from the general school population. 

She is now one of the world's leading experts in nutritional neuroscience, with her 100+ publications including experimental and population studies with brain imaging, genetic, biochemical and psychophysical measures, as well as clinical trials of nutritional treatments for neurodevelopmental and mental health conditions.  

Her book for parents and professionals, "They Are What You Feed Them" explains how children’s diets can - and do - affect their behaviour, learning and mood, and offers easy-to-follow, practical and evidence-based advice.

Hear from our speakers


Iodine deficiency affects many people in the UK - but pregnant mothers are particularly vulnerable; and these subtle nutritional deficiencies can affect their unborn child's development, with lifelong consequences.

Dr Alex Richardson and Professor John Stein discuss the issue in this short clip.

How much iodine is enough?

Read FAB's new article (here) on the importance of iodine intake in pregnancy for children's brain development and future outcomes - with links to further information, and practical dietary recommendations to help optimise iodine status. 

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What is FAB Research?

Food and Behaviour Research (FAB Research), established in 2003 by Dr Alex Richardson DPhil (Oxon), PGCE, FRSA, is a charitable organisation dedicated both to advancing scientific research into the links between nutrition and human behaviour and to making the findings from such research available to the widest possible audience. 

Our mission: We are committed to improving current knowledge and awareness of the effects of nutrition and diet on human behaviour, learning and mood. We aspire to be a leader of scientific research into how nutrition affects the human brain and mind, and an intellectual and strategic force for improving public education and professional practice in this domain.

What other people say about working with FAB Research

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