Overall Wellbeing

For many years when focusing on our wellbeing and mental health, we’ve overlooked the importance of our gut health. Fortunately, the link between our gut and brain health has become far better understood. Recent studies have shown a link between an imbalance of our gut microbiome (bacteria, yeasts and fungus which live in the gut) and conditions such as anxiety, stress and depression.1

Therefore to improve our mental wellbeing, first and foremost we may wish to support our gut, primarily the health of the digestive tract itself, which acts as both a barrier to prevent unwanted toxins, etc. crossing over and to absorb the nutrients from the foods we eat. A balanced gut microbiome help to keep this barrier protected and intact.

Follow these seven easy tips to support your gut and overall wellbeing and click the dropdowns to find out more:


It may sound boring, but we should aim to eat our three main meals at specific times throughout the day in order to regulate our body’s circadian rhythm. Start the day with a breakfast high in healthy proteins and fats which should enable you to stay fuller for longer and reduce the need to snack at work. You may be surprised to see how this positively affects your energy levels and mood throughout the day. If however, you need a snack between meals, try to keep it small and avoid having it too close before one of your main meals, to ensure you don’t skip a meal.


The old saying of, ‘breakfast like a King, lunch like a Prince and supper like a pauper’ appears to be true according to recent research. Importantly, avoid eating large meals late at night, to give your body the opportunity to concentrate on other essential functions whilst we sleep other than digestion. If you wish to snack at work, try to incorporate the snack earlier in the day, perhaps eating breakfast at home and then a snack mid-morning at about 10am.


Snacking on sugary foods and refined carbohydrates can send our blood sugars on a roller coaster of peaks and troughs, disrupting energy levels and contributing to further cravings for sweet things and stimulants. Instead, be prepared and make some healthy snacks at home. An easy snack to prepare and have to hand is cacao and coconut energy balls. Simply blitz up oats, nuts, seeds, cinnamon, cacao powder, dates and coconut oil in a food processor until the mixture sticks together, roll them into small balls and sprinkle with cacao nibs and desiccated coconut, these can be kept in the freezer and thawed slightly before eating. For a more savoury type snack make your own houmous dip to eat with various vegetable crudités.


The food choices we make should help to not only feed our own bodies, but also the trillions of microbes that live harmoniously within our guts. It has been suggested that we should be eating over 30 different plant foods each week to ensure a healthy diverse microbiome. Likewise, we should avoid eating refined processed foods which could feed the less desirable microbes, creating an imbalance of the gut microbiome. It is now recognised that our microbiome can influence our food choices, suggesting that cravings for sugar and refined carbohydrates, such as cakes, biscuits and white bread could indicate an imbalanced microbiome.

Soluble fibres, such as those found in onions, garlic, oats, slightly green bananas and prebiotic supplements such as glucomannan and inulin, help to feed a healthy gut microbiome. Whereas other gentle fibres, such as psyllium husk alongside water help to create a gel like structure in the intestines which helps to improve bowel motility and stool form. 


Choose foods that are easy to digest such as smoothies, soups, dahls and stews whilst at work. Often when we are at work we are not as relaxed as we are at home, so keep it easier on your digestive system by opting for foods that are easier to digest this will allow better absorption of the nutrients within the food. Eating a lunch that is difficult for your body to digest will often result in that afternoon slump as your body puts its energy into digesting the meal.

Ideally find an area where you can sit and avoid any distractions, allowing you to relax and concentrate on chewing your food well. If you’re consuming snacks on the go, opt for a protein-rich smoothie containing fruits, vegetables and nut/seed butters.


If you are feeling stressed or anxious, you may find taking some time out for a mindfulness session could help you to relax and reduce those negative feelings. If you’re restricted on time, simply breathing deeply for 10 breaths could help to relax your mind and body. Aim to make time in your day for yoga or Pilates to help align the body with the mind. Use 20 minutes of your lunch break to get outside for a brisk walk or jog. Remember throughout your day, you have an internal and external world, take time out to look after your internal body and mind when the pressures of the external world start to take their toll.


Certain nutrients are known to help boost our mental health so try to incorporate these into your meals and snacks.

Omega 3 fats: Most abundant in oily fish, such as salmon, sardines, herring, anchovies and mackerel. 

Vitamin C: Foods high in vitamin C like strawberries, red peppers, kale and oranges, can also help the production of endorphins which help relieve stress and anxiety.

Vitamin D: Low levels of vitamin D are linked to depression. The gut microbiome has a role in metabolising vitamin D into its active form.2

B vitamins: B vitamins are used as coenzymes in many functions in the body including energy metabolism. Good sources of B vitamins include dark green leafy vegetables, lentil, grass-fed meats, wild fish, nuts and seeds.

Fermented foods: Eating more fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kefir and kimchi or taking a live bacteria supplement could help to increase beneficial bacteria in the gut.

Water: Dehydration can cause fatigue, headaches, irritability, mood swings, and difficulty concentrating. Aim to drink 2 litres of filtered water a day.


1 Foster JA, McVey Neufeld K-A. Gut-brain axis: how the microbiome influences anxiety and depression. Trends Neurosci 2013; 36: 305–12.

2 Raju MSVK. Medical nutrition in mental health and disorders. Indian J Psychiatry 2017; 59: 143–8.