Serotonin is a natural mood stabiliser and 90% of serotonin receptors are located in the gut. The gut and brain are connected so what we eat affects how we feel.
Eating foods that boost mood and feel good hormones will naturally help us to feel better throughout the day. These usually involve foods that don’t cause a sugar crash. For example, when we feel hungry or stressed, we often reach for a sugary snack. Sugar instantly makes us feel better but it only lasts for a very short period of time and our sugar levels crash back down to even lower than before. This causes us to feel irritable and annoyed.
A way to stop this is to eat foods that keep you balanced all day, like whole grains and protein.
Research shows that a diet made up of junk food (including the below foods) can cause us to feel tired, frustrated and can cause symptoms of depression:
- Sugar (sweets and chocolate)
- Processed foods (ready meals)
- Refined carbs (white bread)
- Processed meats
So what can we eat to make us feel good?
Research has shown that many foods can help us to feel calmer, happier, less stressed and can relive aspects of anxiety and depression.
The foods below have all been shown to help ease stress, improve mood and relieve anxiety by increasing feel good hormones and healthy gut bacteria:
- Green leafy vegetables
- Fiber rich foods, such as, whole grains and legumes
- Chicken and turkey
- Dark chocolate
Mind. (2020). Food and Mood. Available at: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/food-and-mood/#.XRNA6i-ZOLI
Naidoo, U. (2018). Gut Feeling: How Food Affects your Mood. Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/gut-feelings-how-food-affects-your-mood-2018120715548
Prof. Jacka F. (2019). The Brain Changer. Macmillan Australia.
Robson, D. (2019). How your belly could heal your brain. Available at: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190218-how-the-bacteria-inside-you-could-affect-your-mental-health