A recent talk at the Wimbledon Bookfest by Liz Earle MBE (Wellbeing Entrepreneur and founder of Liz Earle Wellbeing) encouraged me to think more about the impact food can have on our mood. Liz spoke passionately about how our gut does so much more than just digest food and support our physical health – it also plays a major role in how we feel. She explained that by looking after our beneficial gut bacteria we can improve our mental health. Our intestines are linked to the brain via the vagus nerve and eating gut-friendly food has been clinically proven to make us feel happier.
Hearing this, I just had to ask Liz my burning question!
Flora: Liz, you are the wellbeing guru, so I’d love your expertise to help answer the question I think about every day! I want to know, what foods make us happier, and how?
Liz: Although we all have different foods that make us happy, there are certain foods that can help improve our mood on a chemical level. For example, the essential amino acid tryptophan – found in eggs, nuts, seeds, cheese, fish, oats, beans and lentils – is vital in helping keep the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin at healthy, happy levels.
Liz: Likewise, if we’re feeling angry or stressed, a little bit of good-quality dark chocolate can help by releasing endorphins and reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol in our bodies.
Liz: Low levels of selenium and omega-3 have also been linked with significantly greater rates of depression and other negative mood states, such as anxiety, confusion and hostility. So, by enjoying oily fish and snacking on Brazil nuts we can help regulate moods from the inside out.
Thank you, Liz Earle! You’ve certainly inspired me to create some delicious recipes using the scientifically proven feel-good foods that boost happiness.
Liz shares 80 nutritious recipes and her plan for a healthy gut in 6 weeks in her new book The Good Gut Guide.