Food and mood with nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert
Nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert has spoken to us about the links between food and mood including the effect of the Mediterranean diet as well as the 3 key nutrients we need.
The Mediterranean diet
Rhiannon tells us about the link between what we eat and how it makes us feel, she says there’s been research behind the Mediterranean diet and that eating it can reduce rates of depression. The Med diet is essentially cooking with olive oil, adding nuts, seeds, pulses, wholegrain fibre and eating oily fish. She says it’s also having lots of colour, flavours and polyphenols.
These are natural antioxidants that work to defend the body and protect the cells. Rhiannon says you can get them by eat the rainbow. Dark coloured berries like blackberries, blueberries, strawberries contain polyphenols as well as dried rosemary and cloves. They can help the brain, keeping the hippocampus at a good size and help the neurons within the brain.
A healthy gut can also help our mood says Rhiannon. Our diet affects the bacteria within our gut and this is where 95% of our serotonin is created. She also says eating a balance of carbohydrates and proteins can also help the serotonin get to where it needs to be in the body.
Rhiannon talks to us about the 3 key nutrients to include within your diet. Firstly omega 3. Omega 3 is part of the med diet and plays a role in our brain health and heart health. We can get it from oily fish, and she recommends we eat at least one portion a week. Sometimes this is hard to do or if you are vegan or vegetarian a supplement can come in handy.
The next supplement she talks us through is vitamin B12. It is a water-soluble vitamin and helps our nervous system, energy and metabolism. We mainly get vitamin B12 from animal products so if you’re not eating enough or are vegan you might need to supplement B12.
Finally, the last vitamin Rhiannon talks us through is vitamin D. She explains the government recommendation that everyone should take vitamin D supplements from the autumn to spring months, 10 micrograms per day. Find out more about the benefits of vitamin D supplements in our guide.