Food to make you happy – the gut-brain axis

Have you heard of the gut-brain axis? Research shows that it exists and that there is a link between mental health and nutrition. Make sure you get the nutrients you need to keep you in the best possible holistic health.

Published by Steve Foreman on Feb 27, 2021

It is well known that what you eat can have a significant impact on your physical health, but did you know it can also impact your mental wellbeing? Research has shown that a gut–brain axis exists. This axis is described as ‘the relationship between the GI tract and brain function and development’. Therefore, ensuring that your body gets the correct nutrients is important to ensure good mental, as well as physical health. To help with your mental wellbeing, we suggest you ensure that you are consuming enough of the following nutrients.

**Omega-3 fatty acids** cannot be produced by your body, these need to be obtained through your diet and possibly supplements. They can be found in oily fatty fish such as Salmon and Sardines. Eating these a few times a week will ensure your body gets the necessary Omegas it requires.

(photo by Diane Helentjaris)

Research shows that consumption of **Vitamin B12 and folate** could improve your mood. These also cannot be produced by your body so need to come from food or supplements. Folate can be found in fruit and vegetables, whole grains, beans and breakfast cereals but it can be difficult to get the required dose from food alone, so consideration should be given to taking a supplement. Vitamin B12 can be found in many animal products and fortified breakfast cereals. Some people can struggle to absorb enough from food, particularly if they do not eat meat products. Again, a supplement could be the answer.

(photo by Nirzar Pangarkar)

TheBoldAge has stated in previous articles that carbs are not the devil, despite what you may have been told. **Carbohydrates** are well known to improve mood. However, it is best to consume whole grains and vegetables as opposed to sugary snacks for a longer lasting effect.

(photo by DDP)

**Protein** and its essential ammino acids has also been shown to improve mood, it’s not just for gym goers! Protein can come from meat, fish, milk and eggs. If you are vegan you need to ensure you are sourcing your protein from a variety of sources such as Tofu, nuts and seeds.

(photo by Anh Nguyen)

Ensuring your body gets enough **zinc** has also been shown to improve mood. This can come from meat, milk, cheese, peas and lentils. A zinc supplement could also be taken.

(photo by Kelcie Papp)

Finally, if you fancy a treat, try **dark chocolate.** It is believed that it is rich in compounds that could improve the feel-good chemicals in your brain. Just remember it is still high in calories, so only have a square or two each day.

(photo by Mae Mu)

There is no fancy diet required to ensure you get enough of these nutrients, just aim for a healthy, well-balanced and colourful plate at mealtimes.