Food and mood
“No mental health without physical health” “No physical health without mental health”
Look at the photos below. Which one makes you feel good?
When it comes to boosting our mood two obvious things come to our mind: nutritious food and physical activity. Physical activity brings us social benefits, boosts our self-esteem, increases blood flow giving us that happy “rush” and helps to release endorphins. Nutritious foods give our body what it needs – plethora of vitamins and minerals. Healthy diet can also boost our self-esteem and decrease our risk of certain diseases. For example, Hippocrates, the father of medicine was treating melancholia (depression) by exercise and dieting. Zaman et al. says (2018) “As Europe emerged from the dark ages, enlightened physicians such as Robert Burton in 1621 (who published the Anatomy of Melancholy), suggested various treatments which included, dietary measures, exercise along with distraction, travel, cleanses, bloodletting, herbal remedies, marriage and music therapy”
Hippocrates, said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”. He also said “All disease begins in the gut.”. There is growing amount of evidence and interest regarding mind-brain connection, so called gut-brain axis and how boosting our gut health can boost our mental health.
Human organism is a “home” to billions living microorganisms. In fact, there is 10 times more microorganisms living inside us than there is human cells. Our “tenants” being to form from the first day of birth and are known to contribute to development of healthy and functioning brain.
It has been studied that gut microbiota from samples from depressed individuals differs from samples from healthy individuals. Animal studies show that lack of healthy microbiota can lead to abnormal mental development.
Studies have shown that unhealthy, fast-food and western type diet is healthy microbiota’s biggest enemy.
So how can we boost our gut health? Two Ps – probiotics and prebiotics. Probiotics are living microorganism that inhibit out gut, prebiotics are healthy foods that help those microorganisms thrive.
Probiotics are available in form of tablet or drink, they can also be found in fermented foods, such as Kimchi, Sauerkraut, live yoghurts and kefirs. If you want to take probiotic supplement, we recommend that you go for one that is multi-strain and has at least 10 billion units of living bacteria.
Prebiotics, or fermentable fibre can be found in oats, wholegrain breakfast cereals, artichoke, dandelion greens, onion, garlic, leek, asparagus, wheat bran and bananas.
Together, prebiotics and probiotics work on keeping our gut “happy”, which will hopefully contribute to our overall mental health. New research regarding our gut is fascinating, I recommend you read “Gut” by Giulia Enders!
Have any questions? contact NutritionU. for more information.