Food for Mood


Using food to improve your mood

Feeling low, anxious, panicky, or tired are all normal responses to everyday life. Struggles with mental health are common and can make everyday activities feel overwhelming. There are a variety of natural ways to manage these feelings. Small changes in your diet can add up to significant improvements in mood and overall well-being.

Our health and bodycare supervisor and registered Nutritional Therapist, Claire Cohen, gave us some insights on using food to regulate your mood.

The gut/brain connection

This is a constant 2-way communication going on via several different pathways. (Vagus nerve, immune response, microbiome, hormone pathways). This is the link between what we eat and how we feel and behave. For example, coffee can give you an energy hit, and high carbohydrate foods can make you feel sleepy. Going in the other direction, stress and anxiety signals from the brain can cause the feeling of ‘butterflies’ in the stomach.

A balanced plate

At each meal, you want to aim for a balance of protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. This provides essential nourishment for the hormones and neurotransmitters that link your body and brain. The Mediterranean style diet has been scientifically proven to boost mood and contains the ideal balance of nutrients. It’s also satisfying and includes some tasty treats.

Feeding the gut microbiome

Prebiotic fibres from plant foods feed our gut’s friendly bacteria and probiotic, live, fermented foods introduce new good bacteria to the gut.

90% of serotonin is produced in the gut, and is responsible for feelings of satisfaction and happiness. The neurotransmitter, GABA, is also produced by the gut bacteria and is responsible for calming feelings of anxiety. Therefore, maintaining a healthy gut microbiome can help to avoid disruption to our production of serotonin and GABA.

Nourishing the brain

A good balance of omega 3,6 & 9 fats is essential for our brain. We generally have difficulty including enough omega 3 in our diets each day. You can get this from oily fish, nuts and seeds, particularly walnuts, chia seeds and flax seeds.

Cacao and Almond Bliss Balls Recipe

Tasty, indulgent and satisfying, but made with nutrient rich ingredients. These could not be easier to make or more delicious. Get the recipe here.

Recipe provided by Claire Cohen, Nat-Nut Nutritional Therapy, for a Food for Mood nutrition talk.