There are many ways to boost your mood - from exercise, to meditation, to the power of a good night’s sleep. At BoroughBox, we’re always keen to dive into exciting research on food. In this post, we explore what’s known as the ‘gut-brain axis’, and discuss the idea that certain foods may have a positive effect on how you feel.
The Link Between Gut Health and Happiness
Did you know that the average gut is home to over 100 trillion bacteria? Our amazing gut microbiome can help with digestion, immunity, appetite, energy, and even our mood. Studies have show that the presence of certain ‘good bacteria’ (such as lactobacillus and bifidobacterium) can lead to overall better mental and physical well-being. (Source)
Tim Spector is a professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College London, and has won awards for his studies into the gut microbiome. When comparing identical twins, he found that significant differences in the gut and its microbiome had links to obesity, and other health issues. (Source)
So perhaps ‘you are what you eat’ really does ring true.
Fun fact: Serotonin is otherwise known as the ‘happy hormone’ - and 90% of this neurotransmitter is created and regulated in the gut. This underrated organ system really deserves a lot more credit.
Can Chocolate Boost Your Mood?
Good news for chocolate fans! Chocolate, especially dark chocolate has lots of feel-good compounds that are associated with mood-boosting chemicals in the brain. These include phenylethylamine, tryptophan, and theobromine. (Source)
A research study from University College London studied 13,626 people and found that people who ‘reported eating any dark chocolate in two 24-hour periods had 70 per cent lower odds of reporting clinically relevant depressive symptoms than those who reported not eating chocolate at all.’ (Source)
Fermented foods are a great way to load up on beneficial gut bacteria known as probiotics. These include sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir and kombucha. Dr. David S. Ludwig states that probiotics are 'crucial to healthy digestion'. (Source).
Dark Leafy Greens
Popeye was on to something! Dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and swiss chard are packed from of B vitamins which can boost iron levels and brain function. These are great for producing energy too.
Oats are a great source of fibre, they’re gluten-free, and they’re also fantastic for stabilising blood sugar levels, to prevent energy spikes and less irritability and mood swings. (Source)
We love oats at BoroughBox, and have some super tasty products, such as this Organic Porridge Oats pack from Primrose's Kitchen.
There are lots more foods that have shown a link to positive mental well-being including omega-rich foods such as fish, berries, green tea, nuts, and seeds. We hope you enjoyed this introduction to the link between food and mood, if you’d like to read more posts like this, let us know by leaving us a comment on social.
*Everyone's health requirements are different, so as always, this article should never replace the advice of a doctor.