Eat well

Did you know you have a second brain in your gut?

About 95% of your serotonin (the neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep, mediate your mood, and more) is produced in your gastrointestinal tract. Meanwhile, the bacteria in your gut (your microbiome) also sends signals directly between the gut and the brain.

Taking care of your mental health also means taking care of your “second brain” through a healthy, balanced diet.

Practice self-compassion and keep in mind that it’s not your fault you’re struggling with eating healthy. Past and current stressful experiences may be getting in your way. Community services, support groups, and mental health programs can help — through providing free/low-cost nutritious food, coping strategies, and advice on healthier eating habits.

3 ways to eat well

  • Find the best food for your mood
  • Eat mindfully
  • Don’t forget to drink water!
Each day check in with yourself about how you’re feeling emotionally. Write about it in your journal, pick a color or emoji to represent your mood, or whatever method works best for you. Keep track of it in a journal or a device so you can find patterns and the best foods for you.

  • Week 1: Observe. Don’t change anything yet! Just start observing how you’re feeling and notice any trends.
  • Week 2: Add something new. Find at least one new healthy food that you love and add it to your diet. Choose whole foods that are high in fiber like veggies, fruits, and whole grains.
  • Week 3: Let something go. Find a processed or sugary food that you’re ready to let go of and remove it from your diet. To make the change easier, try swapping in a healthy substitute.
  • Week 4: Analyze. What trends do you see in your mood? What changes would you like to keep?

Looking for a playlist? Check out our selection of songs here.

When we “stress-eat,” we eat quickly without noticing what or how much we’re eating.

Instead, try these mindful eating techniques:

  • Pay attention to the color, aroma, and shape of your food.
  • Take a deep breath, chew slowly, and pay attention to the taste and texture with every bite.

It’s not just food that has an impact on our moods. 

Drinking enough water is also important for optimal gut health. Research suggests that even mild dehydration can lead to changes in energy level, mental clarity, and emotional health.

Having a hard time getting enough water? Try adding fresh fruits or herbs for flavor, carry a water bottle with you for convenience, or try setting a reminder on your phone.


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Mental Health and Nutrition
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