There is a very clear, well understood relationship between food and physical health, but
are you aware of the connection between food and mental health? You’ve probably found that feeling happy, sad or bored can make you more (or less) inclined to eat, sometimes even triggering cravings for specific foods. However, not only does your mood affect your food choices, but your food choices can affect your mood! For example, did you know that more than 90% of serotonin, the hormone that plays a role in controlling sleep, digestion, mood and more, is produced by bacteria in the gut? Low levels of serotonin may contribute to depression, anxiety and other mood problems, which is why it is essential to maintain a healthy gut!
One of the most important things you can do to balance your gut microbiome is to ensure you consume plenty of pre- and probiotic rich foods, such as the following:
Prebiotics (“food” for already existing beneficial bacteria in the gut; helps to increase the
good amount of bacteria in the gut) found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains such as:
- Beans, chickpeas and lentils
Probiotics (beneficial bacteria in the gut) found in many fermented foods, such as:
- Certain cheeses
Consider keeping a food journal if you find your food choices are a result of your mood. When logging your food along with how you are feeling at the time you select the food may give you insight to your own connection between your mood and food. Consider speaking with a registered dietitian or your physician for assistance with your food habits.