Do you know that the food you eat can moderate your mood? That it can help fight depression, for example?
That’s because, even though most of the fibre you eat isn’t absorbed by your digestive tract (stomach, small, and large intestines), it still helps your mood by feeding the good bacteria that lives in your gut.
The other day I was in downtown Toronto and I visited one on my favourite restaurants (the Canteen). Unusually, I ordered one of the unhealthiest meals on the menu – burger and fries. Yes, it tasted good. And yes, I paid for it later!
That evening I felt stuffed, hot, and so miserable I even cried over some minor thing (so minor I don’t even remember what it was).
Time is limited to do everything we must. Shopping for fresh/real (not from a box) food and cooking those ingredients at home may be difficult for you. In order to save time, you might buy pre-cooked frozen meals, packaged processed food, eat out, or take-out. Not only do those foods usually contain more salt and fat than you should consume in a day, but also they probably do not offer you the amount of fibre you need to stay happy.
Yes, FIBRE is very important for mood!
Studies have shown that a Mediterranean-style diet is helpful for depression if it includes
- 7-9 servings per day of vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, Brussel sprouts) or fruits (apples, berries, mango)
- legumes (chickpeas, beans, lentils)
- daily consumption of nuts
- whole grains (oats, barley and others).
I grew up eating and continue to eat a Mediterranean-style diet. I love my raw veggies, fruits, oats, nuts, and legumes. I cook from scratch and freeze a lot for the days I don’t have time to cook. (I also make a menu list weekly with accompanying shopping list and go shopping only once per week).
The reason I’m telling you about the connection between food and mood is because a lot of changes happen during the menopause transition and it’s helpful to connect the dots:
- You are what you eat
- Food influences your body and how you feel
If you haven’t been feeling your best lately, write down what you eat and how you feel, physically (bloated, itchy, hot, headache), and mentally/emotionally (fatigued, sad, anxious, angry). Maybe you can eventually see a pattern between what you eat and how you feel.
Once you connect the dots you can start eating (and cooking) more foods that are helpful to your gut bacteria and as a consequence to your mood as well.
Listen to this episode of The Dose – What does my mental health have to do with the health of my gut? to learn more about your food affects the microorganisms in your gut and how they affect your mood, for better or for worse.
Want to know more about menopause? Sign-up for me biweekly MenopausED Newsletter here