Why food can change your mood


It's Blue Monday, supposedly the most depressing day of the year. Dreamed up by psychologist Dr Cliff Arnall in 2004, Blue Monday is based on 7 variables including the average time for New Year's resolutions to fail, bad weather and low motivational levels.

"The equation itself is farcical" explains Neuroscientist Dean Burnett and yet, 18 years later, the concept lives on perhaps because it it taps into something we are feeling? Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, affects around 2 million people in the UK, causing symptoms similar to depression. 

So, what can we do to combat this difficult time of the year?

Think about your diet

The link between the foods we eat and depression and mood is clear: a meta analysis of 41 studies shows that a plant-rich, high-fibre diet is associated with a 33% reduced risk of depression (source here).

Our second brain, the gut

We’ve all heard of the Central Nervous System, but did you know we also have an Enteric Nervous System? Spanning the length of our gut, the ‘ENS’ is a lining of more than 100 million nerve cells which is in constant communication with our brain. 

The gut brain-connection

We have trillions of microorganisms living in our gut, which all play a role in how we digest and absorb the foods we eat. Think of these microorganisms as tiny chemical factories that produce neurotransmitters sending messages around the body. 95% of the serotonin you make, for example, is actually produced in your gut.

Research has shown that diets that support the good bacteria in our guts, which in turn provide the right balance of chemicals and hormones in our body, show significantly less depressive symptoms (while pro-inflammatory diets do the exact opposite).

At Indi we talk regularly about the need to eat 30 different types of plants a week for a healthy gut, and a happy system.  Our whole food supplement, Body, can offer a helping hand. Acting as a daily diet enhancer, it contains 15 of the world's most nutrient rich plants. Simply add the powder to your breakfast routine and benefit from its far-reaching, gut-boosting benefits. 

Interested to learn more?

TED fellow, Neuroscientist Diego Bohórquez, explores the mysteries of the gut-brain connection and how increased understanding could lead us to new treatments for disorders and conditions such as autism, obesity, IBS and even chronic stress. Follow this link.

Similar stories

Here are some other stories we think you'll like.