Feeling sad, moody or a bit low? We all do from time to time. Especially for us if we haven’t done any exercise!
Did you know your gut can have a role in your mental health?
A number of studies have confirmed a close link between our gut bacteria and our brain; ever heard of the gut-brain axis? The gut microbiota (bacteria) greatly impacts our brain physiology, influencing behaviour and responses to stress. Research shows that a plant-rich diet high in probiotics and prebiotics helps to increase the richness and diversity of our gut microbiota and therefore aids in our stress responses and mental health.
How can you eat for a happy life?
To promote balanced moods and feelings of well-being:
- Focus on a plant-rich diet including a wide variety of fruit, vegetables and legumes. Aim to fill half of your plate with salad and veggies at lunch and dinner.
- Include whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, wholemeal pasta, couscous and grainy bread.
- Keep your plate portions of animal protein-rich foods to 1/4, not 1/2. These include lean meats, eggs, poultry, fish and seafood. Most people overeat protein.
- Choose healthful, unsaturated fats such as extra virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds and avocado
- Get adequate calcium by including 2-3 serves of high calcium dairy foods such as milk, yoghurt and cheese
To promote healthy gut bacteria, combine the balance above with:
- Probiotic yoghurt, such as Greek yoghurt with live active cultures
- Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, pickles, kimchi
- Kefir and kombucha
- Sourdough bread
- Cultured soymilk if dairy is not for you