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Using Food for a Better Mood: Promoting Positive Mental Health

Content by: Sarah Bigbee, RD

Nutrition and lifestyle habits can play a role in mental health. Read more for six (6) quick tips that promote a healthy gut and a healthy mental state.

Using Food for a Better Mood: Promoting Positive Mental Health


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The digestive system is an incredibly designed system that can function without the brain. It is so advanced, it is referred to as the “second brain”.

The digestive system and brain communicate with each other to help keep us healthy both physically and mentally. The chemicals in our brain promoting positive feelings or our “feel good drugs,” like serotonin and dopamine, are found in large quantities in the gut. This means what we eat matters!

Below we will list some foods and actions you can take to help shape a healthy gut and promote a positive mental health state:

🍨 Get your probiotics.
Probiotics are live bacteria that can help aid in digestion and promote an overall healthy, balanced gut. You can find probiotics in:
▪️ Certain yogurts
▪️ Kiefer
▪️ Kombucha
▪️ Kimchi
▪️ Sauerkraut
▪️ Other fermented foods

🍌 Don’t forget the prebiotics.
Prebiotics are foods that feed the bacteria that is already living in your gut. You can find prebiotics in foods such as:
▪️ Garlic and onions
▪️ Bananas
▪️ Barley
▪️ Oats
▪️ Apples
▪️ Wheat bran
▪️ Many other fresh fruits, veggies, and grains

🌰 About insoluble fiber.
Insoluble fiber will keep things moving in your digestive tract. Some good sources are:
▪️ Nuts
▪️ Beans
▪️ Whole grains
▪️ Fruits and veggies

🥕 Soluble fiber.
Soluble fibers can help to lower cholesterol and keep your gut and mind moving. Some good sources are:
▪️ Beans and peas
▪️ Oats
▪️ Apples
▪️ Carrots
▪️ Barley

⛹🏽 Fit in some exercise.
Fresh air and movement work to keep your gut moving. Try adding 30 minutes of exercise 3 days each week.

🧘🏽 Find a way to destress.
Stress can take its toll on our gut health! Find ways to find calm and peace in your life.
▪️ Try meditating
▪️ Practice gentle yoga
▪️ Take a walk
▪️ Listen to calming music

Quick tips!

1️⃣ If you are interested in gut microbiome, try Thorne’s at home test:

2️⃣ The MIND diet is a great resource for healthy eating:

Next Steps:

⏯ Watch this video on how to create an active lifestyle:

⏭️ Dig a little deeper into gut health here:

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