Mind for Life

Nutrition
HOW DOES MICROBIOME
AFFECT YOUR MOOD?
By Nilofar Dorani
Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Nutritionist
“The scientific link between our gut and our
moods and why we truly are what we eat! “
Did you know that our gut microbiome has a huge impact on our mood
Gut microbiome, or gut bacteria plays an essential role in our overall health including mental health and well-being. As the evidence suggests, the good bacteria living in our gut is linked to everything from type 2 diabetes to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), depression, mood fluctuations and even our immunity. So often we focus on the benefits of individual foods, hailed as superfoods, when actually it’s the bigger picture that matters. Your overall dietary pattern is more important than any individual food you do or don’t eat. Especially when it comes to your plant foods, diversity is king. ⠀
There are trillions of good microbes, mainly bacteria, that call our gut home. When it comes to food, there are ideally five key elements that keep these good bugs in our gut happy.

1

Probiotics are the good gut bugs living inside our gut. In adequate amounts, they may have a beneficial effect on our overall health.

2

Prebiotics are the food that feeds our gut’s good bugs – without them, probiotics just wouldn’t survive. The major sources of prebiotic-rich foods that feed these bacteria (probiotics) in our gut are:

3

Postbiotics include non-viable or dead probiotics (gut bacteria) as well as by-products produced as a result of the pre and probiotics’ activity that feed and ferment the food in our gut. Postbiotics may be responsible for many of our gut’s health benefits as well.

4

Fibre is the indigestible part of plant foods such as in fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts, legumes and seeds. All these types of foods help to keep us regular, balance our blood sugar levels, as well as lower cholesterol by preventing fat absorption through the gut wall.

5

Fluid to keep our gut moving regularly which evidently fibre 5 works best with.
Different plants give you a diverse range of nutrients, phytochemicals and fibre types and the result is a diverse microbiome that is associated with a healthier gut, mind and body.
So here are some food suggestions that can keep your gut bacteria smiling: Including a balanced diet, along with at least 30 serves of these food varieties each week will maintain a thriving environment for your gut bacteria and help lift your mood everyday.
Below are some illustrated examples of how to prepare these foods and have them everyday as part of your healthy gut diet to maintain a happy mind and body.
Remember: Make sure you include foods from the five foods groups mentioned in the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating (AGHE) next to a variety of different coloured vegetables to maximise nutrient intake at each meal. The easy way to remember this is the more colourful your meals are, the more nutrients they contain.
Here are some healthy meal suggestions and how to prepare them to help inspire you. Just remember: There is no hard and fast rule as you can include any variety of foods you wish. The sky’s the limit!
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Breakfast ideas :
A bowl of low sugar, high protein and wholegrain cereal, whole grain toast and baked beans.
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Morning Tea ideas :
Banana Smoothie with oats and low fat yoghurt.
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Lunch ideas : Salsa with added kidney beans, couscous, barley, veggies, brown rice and kidney beans, Assortment of vegetables
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Afternoon Tea ideas :
Low fat yoghurt. Hummus with vegetables as a dip.
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Dinner ideas :
Pasta salad, next to a small portion of protein (red meat, chicken or fish).
So make sure you eat a variety of nutritious foods to help keep your gut microbiome healthy, balanced and functioning optimally!
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