Mental Health and Food
Food has been long thought to play a role in our mental health. It may not be so obvious the actual foods that can benefit your mood so let’s first take a look at how we eat when we are stressed and not feeling our best mentally. Nine times out of ten we tend to choose foods that are easy to prepare which in turn may be higher in salt, fat, and sugar.
Gut bacteria and mental health
A recent study showed that consuming ½ cup of walnuts daily, improved mental health scores as well as improved quality of sleep (1). Reporters measured the gut bacteria and general health of students and found these benefits self-reported consistently.
Serotonin and the gut
Similar to depression, anxiety is characterized by low levels of the “feel-good” neurotransmitter serotonin. Ninety-five percent of the serotonin that is created in the body can be found in the gut!
The gut-brain connection has a lot to do with the way foods can boost mood. A healthy gut is such an important part of overall wellness. Check our blog post on Microbiotia and gut for more information.
Until then try to incorporate some mood boosting foods like walnuts, eggs, oats, and dark chocolate (70% cacao or higher). A few others to include will be berries, nuts and seeds, fatty fish, bananas and fermented foods!
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- https://www.unisa.edu.au/media-centre/Releases/2022/walnuts-the-new-brain-food-for-stressed-university-students/. Published Dec. 16, 2022. Accessed Dec. 16, 2022.