The connections between food, mood & gut health have a complex interconnection that has garnered significant attention in recent years.
The connections between food , mood & gut health is well established and complexed .Research has shown that there is a strong link between what we eat , and how we feel. The gut, often referred to as the “second brain,” is home to a complex network of neurons and microorganisms that work together to regulate digestive function and overall health.
Dr Michael Gershon coined the term second brain after his thirty years of research leading to an extraordinary rediscovery that we have nerve cells in our gut that act as a brain.
Think of the last time you felt a “pit in your stomach” or “butterflies in your stomach.” When someone is upset emotionally, it’s common for them to say they “feel sick to their stomach.” Your belly physiologically responds to stressors, trauma, triggers and more. The neurons in your gut and in your head are also forming memories that stick around. Inside your gut is an entire ecosystem of bacteria and a neural network.
The gut microbiome, the community of bacteria that live in our intestines, is increasingly being recognized for its impact on our mental and emotional health.
Your ‘gut microbiome’ is made up of the trillions of microorganisms and their genetic material that live in your intestinal tract. These microorganisms, mainly comprising bacteria, are involved in functions critical to your health and wellbeing.
The brain in your head influences your mood, so does the one in your gut.
Studies have shown that an imbalanced gut microbiome can lead to a range of mood and emotional disorders, including :
- Irritable bowel syndrome.
Conversely, maintaining a healthy gut microbiome can lead to improved mood and emotional well-being.
One of the keyways that gut health and mood are linked is through the gut-brain axis. This axis refers to the bi-directional communication between the gut and the central nervous system. The gut microbiome produces a range of neurotransmitters and hormones that play a role in regulating mood, including serotonin, dopamine( also known as the “feel good hormones”) and GABA (GABA is a neurotransmitter, a chemical messenger in your brain. It slows down your brain by blocking specific signals in your central nervous system ,your brain and spinal cord GABA is known for producing a calming effect.)
These neurotransmitters can influence our mood and cognitive function, and imbalances in their production can contribute to mental health challenges.
Food plays a critical role in maintaining a healthy gut microbiome. A diet high in fiber, probiotics, and prebiotics can promote the growth of beneficial bacteria, while a diet high in sugar and processed foods can lead to an imbalanced gut microbiome.
So remember “ fuel well to feel well” & strive for nourishing & well balanced nutritional options
Some of the best food options for promoting food, mood & gut health include:
Foods like yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut contain probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that help to maintain a healthy gut microbiome.
Foods high in fiber, such as whole grains, legumes, and fruits and vegetables, provide the food that the beneficial bacteria in our gut need to thrive.
Leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, contain vitamins and minerals that are essential for gut health, including vitamin K and iron.
Nuts and seeds:
Nuts and seeds are a good source of healthy fats and fiber, which can promote a healthy gut microbiome.
In addition to dietary changes, there are several psychological principles that can be used to enhance the connection between gut health and mood. For example, mindfulness practices, such as meditation and yoga, have been shown to reduce inflammation and promote a healthy gut microbiome.
Additionally, practices such as gratitude journaling and positive self-talk can help to reduce stress and improve overall well-being, which can in turn support a healthy gut microbiome.
Statistics also show a clear link between gut health and mood:
For example, a study published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity found that individuals with depression and anxiety had a different gut microbiome composition compared to those without these conditions.
Another study published in the journal Gut Microbes found that individuals with irritable bowel syndrome had higher levels of anxiety and depression compared to healthy individuals.
The connection between food, mood & gut health is complex and far-reaching. Maintaining a healthy gut microbiome through a balanced diet and positive lifestyle practices can lead to improved mood and emotional well-being. By incorporating these principles into our daily lives, we can support our gut health and improve our overall mental and emotional health.
With an emphasis on wellness education, Nourishment Vitality…
- Is disrupting old beliefs and systems… of diet and weight obsessions by understanding that you are so much more than what you eat will allow you to feel more relaxed and make a difference in the way you feel.
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