• Culture

A gut health dietician’s top 5 mood boosting foods

Because it’s what we need right now 

By Jenny Ringland

We’ve all read studies revealing the mood boosting, antioxidant benefits of dark chocolate, because who doesn’t want to feel good while indulging in a square or two (or let’s be honest, more)? But what if we told you there was a long list of foods we could be eating to help top up our dopamine levels? The link between the foods we eat and how we feel, or the mood we are in is clear. 

“The link between our diet and our mood is becoming stronger and stronger, with research revealing that dietary improvements are associated with positive changes in depressive symptoms,’’ gut health dietician Nicole Dynan explains.

“A few simple ways Australians can look after their mental health is by nourishing their bodies with foods that are supportive of a good mood”

5 foods to eat to boost your mood according to a gut health dietician

  1. High fibre cereals and whole grains

“Fibre-rich foods are essential for good gut health as they keep the gut microbiome healthy, which is important as research has found that 90 per cent of serotonin (the mood-boosting chemical) receptors are located within the gut,’’ Nicole says.

“Incorporating high-fibre cereal into your daily routine is one of the easiest ways to consume more fibre. By consuming cereals high in fibre like All-Bran, you’re helping the good gut bacteria to thrive while also boosting your gut function. Other foods that help feed the good bacteria are lentils and beans which are high in prebiotic fibres.”

bowl of porridge with nuts
Whole grains and high fibre cereals have been proven to boost mood
  1. Avocados

“Adding Avocados into your diet may help to boost your mood as they are rich in a variety of nutrients including folate and other B vitamin,’’ Nicole says.

“These properties make avocados the perfect addition to your diet as they help to improve brain function and reduce fatigue. Now is the best time to incorporate Australian avocados into your diet to give your mood that extra boost as they’re currently in season.”

Adding avocados to your diet may boost your mood according to dietician Nicole Dynan

“We know that our stomach responds differently depending on the food we eat. Consuming yoghurt and other fermented foods that are rich in live bacteria may have a positive effect as it not only has the potential to support the existing populations of good gut bacteria but may also help to lower inflammation,’’ Nicole says.

“Inflammation within the body has been linked with chronic health conditions, including depression. By incorporating fermented foods we may help to reduce this inflammation as well as lower the risk of developing chronic disease”.

bowl of yoghurt and berries
Fermented foods like yoghurt can help reduce inflammation
  1. Pineapple

“Pineapple is the perfect fruit to be added to your diet as it’s high in manganese as well as a great source of vitamin C, and B-vitamins, including folate – all of these properties have been known to help with brain health. Pineapple is also rich in the amino acid tryptophan which helps to facilitate serotonin production,’’ Nicole says. 

Pineapple is the perfect fruit to be added to your diet as it’s high in manganese as well as a great source of vitamin C, and B-vitamins
  1. Dark chocolate

“A sweet treat in moderation is sure to improve your mood, however, instead of reaching for milk chocolate, switch to dark,’’ Nicole says.

“The darker the chocolate, the more cocoa it contains, cocoa powder is one of the core ingredients in chocolate and is also high in antioxidants, particularly flavonoids which can have a positive effect on the brain. Meaning you can still treat yourself to your favourite comfort food and improve your mood.’’

Dark chocolate
The ultimate mood booster (in our opinion) is dark chocolate

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