How food affects your mood – fibres

Chocolate can make you feel very good sometimes. For a while… because, alas, the effect soon passes. Fortunately, there is a solution with a longer lasting effect: fibres.

Fibres are an important nutrient for the bacteria and other micro-organisms in your intestines. In all, you have about 1.5 kilogrammes of all kinds of bacteria in your intestines, collectively known as the intestinal microbiome.

How this works:

The fibres in our food are a source of nutrients for the bacteria in our intestines. They ferment the fibres, converting them into other substances. There is still much research going on into the effect of these substances or our health, but what we do know is that there is a connection between the intestinal microbiome and the brain. It appears that certain substances that are produced by the intestines have a positive influence on our mood and our thinking.

Fibres:

Fibres can be found in fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and wholemeal grains. They are very important to the intestines. Parts of the fibres from these nutrients can be fermented. So, the bacteria in your intestines convert them into nutrients and signalling substances for your body. Other parts of the fibres cannot be fermented and, with sufficient fluids, make up your excrement. In plain language: a well-formed, soft turd that makes for an easy visit to the toilet.

To do list:

  • Eat at least two pieces of fruit every day. Do you tend to forget this, now you are at home so much? Then take fruit with each meal.
  • Eat at least 250 grammes of vegetables (preferably more) every day.
  • Eat wholemeal grains every day; at least with two meals.
    For example, wholemeal bread, wholemeal crackers, rye bread, muesli, oatmeal, Brinta, wholemeal pasta, wholemeal couscous, bulgur, quinoa, or wholemeal tortillas.
  • Eat a handful of nuts or seeds every day.
    For example, a peanut butter sandwich, a handful in your muesli or oatmeal, or as a snack between meals.
  • At least once a week, eat legumes (lentils, chickpeas, brown/white/kidney beans), for example chili sin carne, dahl curry of lentils, lentil or pea soup, cannellini beans with your pasta, a black-beans brownie, hummus, and so on.
  • Keep it varied!
  • Challenge: can you eat 30 different fibre-rich products in one week?

Bonus: a healthy microbiome is also beneficial to a well-functioning immune system. That’s pretty important in these times!