Did you know that On May 13th it was International Hummus Day?

I didn’t, until I happened upon it by chance on the day itself, which in turn prompted me to join, I suspect millions of people around the world, in tucking into what I believe is a yummy, nutritious staple of the Mediterranean diet.

Bowl of hummus on the wooden table

My next happenstance was an article reporting on the fact that for the 5th year in a row, the Mediterranean diet has claimed top spot (out of a possible 40) for overall best diet, according to the US News & World Report’s best diets for 2022.

Not long after, my attention landed on a recently published study by researchers at the University of Technology Sydney in which a 12-week randomized controlled study of young men (18-25 years old) saw significant improvements in their symptoms of depression.

What a coincidence.

Now I was no longer ‘happenstancing’ but mentally jumping to the famous, groundbreaking SMILES trial at the Food and Mood Centre at Deakin University (published in 2017), in which almost a third of subjects who had followed a prescribed Mediterranean diet for 12 weeks were no longer classified as ‘depressed’, not to mention much less anxious.

I’ve long held the belief that one’s diet is a powerful pillar of health, not just physical but also mental. Heck, the 2 are inextricably linked.

Just think gut-brain axis, the 2-way process of communication, linking your intestinal function with cognitive and emotional centres in your brain.

Australian researchers at Flinders University have recently discovered how this process of diffusion works by locating specific ‘enterochromaffin’ cells in the gut that produce and release neurotransmitters…think serotonin…in response to certain foods that we eat, which act on nerves to communicate with the brain, thus affecting mood and neurological processes.

It would appear that your gut microbes are big fans of Mediterranean style foods.

As we witness environmental degradation and lack of biodiversity in our natural world, it would appear to be more and more mirrored in our internal gut-microbial ‘rainforests’.

So, if you feel an attack of the moody blues coming on, do your microbiota a favour and dish up some of their favourite Med. flavours.

Go on, I urge you to do your own digging. Below are some links to the research if I’ve whetted your appetite for more.

The SMILEs Trial 
How the gut communicates with the brain
Understanding the link between diet and depression

Till next month…here’s to eating a variety of nuts, seeds, legumes, oily fish, lean red meats, olive oil, avocadoes, leafy greens, complex carbs…and so much more (as I said do your own digging as to what foods are on the Med. list) …and of course to cutting back on processed, sugary, refined, fried foods!

PS – Whenever you’re ready, work with me directly to see how you, and/or your team can benefit from diving deep into all things Mental Health.

Send me an email with “yes, more information please”. 

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