Nutritional psychiatry: The science behind food and mood

Dharana Wellness Retreat near Mumbai & Pune, India

To come and think about how the brain works and is always “on” 24*7 even when you are asleep is ineffable. Our minds require “fuel” to keep them operating smoothly, which comes from the food we eat.


The saying, “we are what we eat” is indeed the true definition of food linked to the neurological state. There have been multiple biological pathways that suggest food can influence mood, the most significant among them is the gut microbiome.  High-quality foods containing vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants nourish and protect the brain from oxidative stress, in which oxygen is converted to waste. 


Joining the dots:
Did you know the brain consumes 20% of the glucose the body needs?

Glucose is the primary source of fuel to drive functions making carbohydrates intake integral. Anxiety and stomach problems are closely connected; the gut-brain connection cannot be ignored. Have you ever had a “gut-wrenching” experience? Do certain situations make you “feel nauseous”? Have you ever felt “butterflies” in your stomach? We use these expressions for a reason. There is a high level of sensitivity to emotion in the gastrointestinal tract. Many emotions can trigger symptoms in the gut, including anger, anxiety, sadness, elation, and many others.

Serotonin helps regulate sleep and appetite, mediate moods, and inhibit pain. Our gastrointestinal tract produces 95% of our serotonin, and intestines are lined with a hundred million neurons, so we can see why the inner workings of our digestive systems not only assist in digestion but also guide our emotions.

Understanding Nutritional Psychiatry: 

A nutrient-packed diet reduces the intake of nutritionally “empty” foods while relying on foods high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibre, probiotics, and protein. The meals that Dharana at Shillim prepares are tailored to the individual taking part in the programme while it implements dietary interventions.


The gastrointestinal system and the brain are closely intertwined, and intestinal distress can be the same as anxiety, stress, or depression.

Evidence suggests that vitamin supplements that contain zinc, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vitamins B and D3, can help improve moods and relieve anxiety and depression.

One can maintain good health by reducing junk food intake, eating nutrient-dense foods, eating leafy vegetables and fruits, and quitting smoking, and drinking alcohol.

Dharana Wellness Centre, a wellness retreat near Mumbai, focuses on holistic health, including physical, mental, and spiritual balance. One of the fundamental ideologies of this eco-wellness retreat lies in the holistic approach. Experience Dharana’s Food Philosophy which has its firm roots in age-old Ayurveda traditions.