Biochemical signals from your gut flora to the brain are responsible for your mood, so if your gut bacteria are well fed and happy, so is your brain!
Serotonin, the happy hormone, is mainly produced in the gut by our gut bacteria.
The foods these guys love to feast on are fibrous plant foods such as fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, peas, beans, pulses, nuts and seeds.
Eating fermented dairy foods like live yoghurt and kefir, or fermented vegetables like kimchi and sauerkraut ensures a good supply of probiotics (good bacteria) to your digestive system.
If the brain is deprived of certain nutrients, it can have a negative effect on mental health. Feelings of depression, irritability and tiredness have been associated in some studies with a lack of B vitamins, folate, selenium, iron and Omega 3.
Slow release energy foods or low GI carbohydrates will help regulate blood sugar levels.
Avoiding high GI foods that make blood sugar levels rise and fall quickly will prevent feelings of tiredness – sweets, biscuits, sugary drinks and alcohol are all the bad guys here!
A simple thing like drinking enough water can make a huge difference to your mental health.
Concentration levels will improve and so will your digestive system, eliminating (excuse the pun!) the feeling of constipation!
So, if any of the following top foods for good mental health are missing from your diet, try incorporating them over the next few weeks – oily fish, nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables, meat, wholewheat pasta, brown rice, oats, wholegrain bread, peas, beans, lentils, live yoghurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut.
For a more personalised assessment, nutritional therapy is available on a one to one basis at The Nutrition Pod at Holcombe Health Clinic.