Tonight, some of Mental Health Connecticut’s team will join our friends at Healing Meals at Auer Farm for “Feed Your Brain,” a community dinner where the main course is a discussion on how food is medicine for our mental, as well as physical, health.

Healing MealsHealing Meals is based in central Connecticut. Their passionate and dedicated group of youth and adult volunteers provide healthy organic meals free of charge or at a reduced rate to people in a health crisis, while also fostering the next generation of youth leaders through the work of compassion and community.

Both MHC and Healing Meals believe that food is an essential part of healing the mind, as well as the body. At Healing Meals, it is common for the individual in a health crisis to see their mood lift and overall wellbeing improve after receiving healthy, organic, delicious food made with love. Similarly, at MHC, we see improvement in our program participants’ mental health and wellbeing happen in a ripple effect when their physical health improves.

The gut-brain connection and the impact of a healthy microbiome are now being studied extensively. For instance, researchers now know that 95% of serotonin is produced in the gastrointestinal tract. Low serotonin is linked to depression, yet how many doctors prescribe a healthy salad or soup to help avoid depressive episodes? It may sound silly to hear food put into this context – as a prescription or medical answer – yet, we can no longer deny the reality that what we put into our bodies is either a remedy for our health or a recipe for disaster.

MHC’s Gardening, Recovery, and Opportunities for Wellness (GROW) program is committed to bringing healthy, nutritious food to our program participants and our community, while helping to improve gardening, community building, and cooking skills. Many of our program participants need greater access to healthy food, and access to the skillsets and knowledge needed to prepare the food. We are finding that program participants are adding gardening as a healing mechanism in their recovery.

MHC and Healing Meals are exploring ways to collaborate and dig deeper into the possibilities of how food is medicine for our mental health.

How do you see food as medicine? Have you made any changes in your diet to improve your mood or combat a mental health issue? Tell us about it!

Use the hashtag #31DaysofWellness and tag us at @mentalhealthCT on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.