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We continue to share insights from our recent event in Warsaw, focusing today on the intriguing connection between nutrition and mental well-being. Current scientific studies have begun to uncover the profound influence that diet has on our mental well-being. DŌBRA is at the forefront of this exploration, with one of its startups dedicated to this innovative issue.

The Science Behind ‘Food for Mood’

It’s fascinating to note that approximately 95% of serotonin—a neurotransmitter crucial for mood regulation—is produced in the gut. Yet, only 21% of people experiencing mental health symptoms are aware of the significant relationship between the gut and the brain. In developing the ‘Food for Mood’ mobile app, DŌBRA targets common symptoms of poor mental and physical well-being. “We then align those symptoms with scientifically backed products that have proven efficiency in mitigating these particular issues,” says Max Roslovs, Product Owner and Co-Founder of the Food for Mood app at DŌBRA.

This initiative goes beyond merely recommending supplements or dietary changes. “We’re gradually altering their consuming behavior by guiding individuals to make these adjustments. It’s about fostering a more mindful approach to nutrition and well-being, showing that small, informed choices can significantly improve how they feel daily,” continues Max Roslovs.

Mental Well-being and Nutritional Interventions

The gut is often referred to as a “second brain” because it is the main producer of serotonin, which influences our physiological state and sense of well-being. “So, when you feel anxious and have an upset stomach, it’s not just a coincidence. Although I am not a nutritionist, I am encouraged by the growing amount of research in this area. It can sometimes be confusing with all the supplements out there, but clearer research shows that certain types of probiotics and prebiotics can significantly impact serotonin production. This is a promising starting point for improving our well-being: we could all benefit from a little more serotonin,” said Dr. Christina Spragg, Clinical Psychologist and global Workplace Mental Wellness Consultant.

During the panel discussion, Dr. Tom Van Daele, a Clinical Psychologist and Research Coordinator in Psychology and Technology at Thomas More University of Applied Sciences, commented on the historical separation between mind and body in medical treatments and the importance of their reintegration. “To move towards a more holistic approach to mental health, also focusing, for example, on nutrition, as a component and aspect to work on is definitely important. And for some people, it can be more tangible and concrete to say, I’m going to start focusing on what I eat, rather than I’m going to start being more mindful and live in the moment or whatever. So I think it’s an interesting starting point to also contribute to better mental health,” said the expert.

Conclusion

The dialogue between cutting-edge research and practical applications in nutrition and mental well-being is just beginning. As we dive deeper into the scientific studies and consumer experiences shared by initiatives like DŌBRA’s “Food for Mood,” it becomes clear that our approach to mental health is becoming increasingly holistic and integrative. This journey not only opens new avenues for individual wellness but also signals a shift in how we understand and manage mental health through diet, offering promising prospects for future innovations in health care. Rapidly evolving landscape presents exciting possibilities not only for individuals seeking to enhance their mental well-being through diet but also for educators, healthcare providers, and technologists dedicated to building a healthier future.