Updated: Aug 24
We all know that certain foods impact our physical health, but were you aware that our diet can also affect our mental health and mood?
Neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine (also known as ‘happy hormones’)
boost our mood and reduce stress and anxiety - and they rely on amino acids (from protein), along with nutrients such as vitamins A, B, C and D, which activate the amino acids.
So eating foods that contain plenty of nutrients, such as fruits and vegetables, contributes to better mental health!
You may have heard of the gut-brain axis - the link between our gut health and our mental health. Nearly all of the body’s serotonin is produced in the gut, and it’s used in digestion, so there is a clear correlation between gut health and mental health. It’s not just serotonin - our gut also produces other neurotransmitters and chemicals that affect our brain.
Studies have shown that improving gut health can significantly improve mental health symptoms such as depression and anxiety!
Another role of Serotonin is to regulate the mood, so even if you don’t suffer from any mental health conditions, when our serotonin is at normal levels we will feel more focused, emotionally stable, happier and calmer.
It’s not only what you eat that matters. Eating at regular times is also important to regulate your energy levels and your mood, and studies suggest that having set times to eat can be beneficial for both mental and physical health.
Additionally, who we eat with can affect us! Research shows that eating with others has a positive impact on our mood and health!
Socialising with friends and family increases feelings of happiness and wellbeing, and it has also been shown to improve digestion.
So as we can see, having a healthy diet, as well as eating at regular times and with those we love, can all have an effect on our overall well being and mood - as well as improving our mental health.