Gut Health May Impact Your Mental Health
The scientific community is more than ever convinced that the mind and body are more intertwined that we once thought. Research has found that the gut, which is also termed GI tract is not just a part of our digestive system but is something that is considered to be our second brain. When I heard this, it made total sense to me, because I don’t know about you but when I feel things, I tend to feel them in my stomach first and foremost.
1. It turns out that our brains and gut are constantly communicating with each other via something called the brain-gut axis. They communicate via neurotransmitters, nerves and even our immune system. The wide variety of neurotransmitters used are responsible for some of the feel good hormones that make you feel good such as: oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine. Not only can these hormones make you feel good but hormones such as gaba can help you feel relaxed while norepinephrine can help you to focus. It’s said that 90% of ones serotonin and 50% of dopamine starts at our guts. What does that mean? That a lot of your emotional well-being might just start in your gut.
2. Since the brain is in contact with your immune system, it receives constant signals about how you feel. Why would you care about that? Because if something is off with your gut, it might be sending signals to your brain that cause you to feel anxious or even depressed. This scenario can also decrease the production of chemicals that reduce inflammation. That can impact how you feel emotionally. That’s why it’s no surprise that one particular study showed a 30% greater brain inflammation in those with clinical depression. The worse the inflammation, the worse the symptoms.
So what can you do to have a healthier gut? Eat a wide variety of plant-based foods. Eat more fibre. Add more olive oil into your diet. Take prebiotics and probiotics. Prebiotics are non living ingredients that feed the good bacteria in our gut. These can be found in: onions, asparagus, bananas, apples, cabbage, artichokes, flax seeds, garlic and beans. On the other hand, probiotics are living friendly bacteria that is found in foods such as yogurt, cheeses, kefir, miso, tempeh, sauerkraut, chicory root and kombucha. Prebiotics been shown to reduce anxiety at the same level as anti-anxiety medication. Other studies have shown certain probiotics in yogurt can positively alter brain function.
The last thing you can do is manage your stress levels. High stress levels can negatively impact the healthy bacteria in your gut. This can cause inflammation which can then lead to anxiety and depression. We all live much more stressful lives than ever before which is why it’s really important that we get a handle on our emotional well being.
That being said, be on the lookout for my upcoming MyMindTime website which is focused on not only helping you to de-stress and relax but is also focused on helping you to be the best version of you possible. I will be launching with my Mindful eating & weight loss program and after that, I’ll be adding other programs for topics such as boosting one’s self confidence and overcoming trauma. To make sure that you find out when it’s ready, be sure to sign up for my newsletter by going to my website.