Your brain is just like any other organ in your body – it needs nutrients so it can carry out its many tasks, including those that keep you mentally well. Eating some foods can improve your mood and mental wellbeing, while other foods can have a negative impact on how you feel.
Your gut (intestine) also plays a key role in your mood. Everything you eat passes through your gut, which is home to billions of bacteria and other micro-organisms (bugs). This is known as your gut microbiome. These bugs are involved in many functions that are key to your health and wellbeing. Therefore, eating healthy foods that support your gut microbiome helps your mental health.
If you are feeling depressed or anxious, you are more likely to want to eat more unhealthy foods (such as potato chips and takeaways) and eat fewer healthy foods (such as fresh fruit and vegetables). But, eating unhealthy foods can actually make you feel worse. Poor diet may not only be a reaction to feeling depressed, but may be one of the factors that trigger it.
Luckily, the same eating habits that keep you mentally well are those that support your physical health too.
Eat regularly and choose a wide range of food from the 4 main food groups and and limit sugary, salty and processed foods. If you eat a wide range of foods the nutrients should take care of themselves, including the main nutrients associated with depression: Omega 3, B group vitamins and vitamin D. Read more about food and mood.