Food & Mood

Did you know, the food you eat can greatly impact your mood!  Our mental health is so important right now, with many of us around the country finding our lives turning upside down. 

There are so many things we do not have control over anymore and the uncertainty has shaken even the strongest of us.  Over the past five months, I myself have been “stuck” in Australia unable to safely return to my home in Zambia. 

During this time, I have made a conscious effort to ensure my diet is loaded with fibre to feed those plant munching bugs in my gut.

Bugs in my gut? 

Let me take a minute to explain the science behind it all. The connection between your gut and your brain is fascinating to say the least and it is this connection that allows the food you eat to greatly influence your mood and vice versa. Connecting your gut and your brain is a nerve called the “Vagus Nerve”- think of it as a busy motorway. There are trillions of microbes (bugs) in your gut sending messages to your brain as they digest your food. Most of these bugs live in your colon (end of your digestive tract) and so only the food that makes it all the way here can be digested by the microbes to who will in turn produce many beneficial compounds. One example is Serotonin (our happy hormone) that positively impact our mood. 

The fibre contained in foods are the main food source for these bugs. So understandably a diet rich in fibre is the key to a great mood 

 Remember a happy gut equals a happy you!

A great goal is to aim for at least 30 different plant-based foods each week. Here are my top 5 tips on how to boost the fibre in your diet: 

  1. Add lentils/legumes to your next soup, salad or even your rice
  2. Choose to snack on a handful of mixed nuts at least once a day
  3. Aim to have 3-4 different types of vegetables with at least two meals in the day
  4. Add fruit to your breakfast cereal
  5. Switch to wholegrains e.g. brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, wholegrain bread etc.

Check out Fathima’s Quinoa, Lentil & Feta Salad recipe on page 28 in Muslimahs in Business Magazine – – download your free copy now. 

For more info & recipes follow Instagram @eatsmart_dietetics Facebook @eatsmartdietetics

*Fathima Abdoola is an Accredited practising Dietitian & Nutritionist based in Australia & Zambia. She has over 8 years experience in a wide range of nutrition positions. She has been successfully running her own private practice, works in hospitals setting up nutrition departments, lectures and is an active advocate of her profession.

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