Have you ever been so stressed out that you lost your appetite? Do you ever get so nervous that you actually feel nauseous? Perhaps that presentation you have to do has you fending off a hoard of butterflies in your tummy?
It’s hard to deny that the state of our mind can affect our gut – but not so surprisingly the health of our gut can also affect our mind.
When it comes to overall health, most of us know that our gut health matters. Our body does not know the difference between physical and mental stress and when any type of stress is inflicted on our body, this can lead to inflammation which affects our immune system – 80% of which resides in the gut.
When our immune system is strong, we’re better able to fight off inflammation.
When it comes to our emotional health, our gut also plays a significant role.
Your gut, aka “inside your belly”, has been referred to as your body’s literal “second brain”. For years, the medical world has been trying to figure out what causes our moods to change and what causes common problems that most of us face like stress, anxiety, and even depression. These are common problems, and we know they are linked to serotonin, but did you know that almost all of our serotonin isn’t even produced in the brain? Serotonin is actually produced in the gut.
What we put inside of our bellies is directly related to our emotional health. Our gut consists of bacteria and we need that bacteria to have a healthy balance or the rest of us will not be balanced including our mood. Your gut and your brain work together, so if one is out of balance the other will be also.
So, what can we do about it?
Reducing stress is one thing everyone can do to have a healthy gut and mindfulness and meditation can be powerful tools.
Increasing healthy foods and habits will also make our gut a lot healthier overall and I don’t know about you – but when I feel healthy – I feel good mentally as well!
What are some foods you can add- in to give your gut some love?
- Probiotic foods and drinks full of good gut bugs! Sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, yoghurt, kefir etc.
- Fatty fish such as salmon for those crucial Omega 3 oils (or a fish oil supplement)
- Fibre-filled whole grain foods such as whole grain sourdough bread, brown rice, buckwheat etc.
- Resistant starch (cooled potatoes or rice, oats etc)
- Lots of veggies and fruit for fibre and a variety of nutrients.
- Bone broth is a great source of collagen and gelatine to soothe the gut lining.
- Tryptophan: Tryptophan is the key ingredient in making serotonin; without it, serotonin won’t be made. You’ll find it in turkey, eggs, beef, some dairy products and dark leafy vegetables.
And don’t forget about vitamin D: The sunshine supplement! Have you ever noticed you feel better when the sun is shining? I know I certainly do. The right amount of Vitamin D can positively affect our overall mood.
To fill the gaps, I have my daily dose of Nuzest Good Green Stuff with probiotics, prebiotics, turmeric, digestive enzymes and everything I need to keep me, and my digestive system happy.
So, in conclusion – crowed in a variety of whole foods and you’re off to a great start. Experiment with different vegetables, whole grains, proteins and fats and keep note of how you feel.
Of course, there are so many other influences on our mental health such as lack of connection, stress and fatigue. And while food is not a cure-all, it’s a good one to have on the team. ****If you suffer from depression or other mental health-related conditions, please ensure you seek the advice of a dietitian, nutritionist or your doctor before attempting to treat it with supplements. Always talk to a professional if you are not ok.