It’s no secret that food in general is often associated with cheer and celebration. Even the slightest whiff of freshly baked bread, an extra-chilli chilli crab or a garlicky Italian pasta is enough to cheer most of us up. But it’s not simply about inhaling a bar of chocolate when we’re feeling down. Our gut is often referred to as a second brain, thanks to increased research that points to a connection between digestion and mental health.
The science bit is that our diet contributes to microorganisms in our digestive system, which secrete and react to serotonin and dopamine (or ‘happy hormones’). Approximately 90% of serotonin is made in the gut, so what we eat literally affects our brain function, and therefore our general mood and happiness. Whilst we all have different feel-good foods, there are a few go-to ingredients that are proven to increase serotonin.
Here, Singaporean-based Nutritionist (ANutr) and home cook, Charlotte Mei shares some of her favourites.