A disturbed digestive tract forewarns the brain, such as a disturbed mind forewarns the intestine.
There’s so much mystery to unfold with our brain and gastrointestinal system, how intimately they are connected. The pain of the gut is the pain of both. So it is imperative to consider the food that we will feed our body because that food is a crucial factor that will bring health to both our brain and gut.
Are you aware that your favorite processed foods are full of bad fats, sugars, preservatives, and additives? Of course, with our busy world, it is very convenient to just grab any processed food on the shelf without considering what impact it would make in your health. This processed food will ruin the balance of bad and good bacteria in your gut and can lead to inflammation, colitis, aches and pains, allergies, depression, acne, and many more health problems.
“Certain foods are linked to mental health issues such as increased symptoms of depression and decreased self-esteem.” Christina L. Gmyr, LMHC, NCC explains. So the next time you pass by the food section, avoid picking up processed food.
Choosing foods rich in probiotics, such as yogurt, fermented vegetables, kefir, and sauerkraut can boost not just your mood but your gut’s health as well. Probiotics are helpful bacteria that mostly line your intestine and are in charge of absorbing the nutrient and supporting the immune system.
Herbs produce pleasant smells that heal our bodies inside out. The aroma that the plant releases is their immune system fighting the microbial attacks and that same essential oils (smells) from these herbs help us fight infection and inflammation.
There’s more to herbs than making our meals interesting. They keep the harmful effects of flora away.
Consider Healthy Fats
Fats have always been feared by many and considered as their enemy. What most people are not aware of is that there are healthy fats that we can include in our diet that are friendly to our digestive system and are essential for brain development. Take for instance the high amounts of antioxidants found in olive oil which protect cells from damage. It also improves memory and cognitive function, and even serves as an anti-inflammatory. Avocado is another source of healthy fats that protects our heart as it helps with digestion and an excellent choice for enlightening our mood. Nuts and seeds, salmon, and tuna are also a great source of these healthy fats. Staci Lee Schnell, MS, CS, LMFT once said, “Depression rates are higher among those with a Vitamin D deficiency. Fatty fish like salmon and tuna have the most naturally occurring Vitamin D.”
Dietary fiber in sesame seeds helps your bowel movement. Regular bowel movement prevents you from developing hemorrhoids and also colon cancer. The amino acid in sesame seeds boosts the brain’s dopamine levels, also enhancing the feel-good hormone to reach its state of maximum activity as it balances out the others.
When feeling depressed and constipated, think of Open Sesame!
A small plate of nuts such as cashews, walnuts, and almonds contain serotonin, an important chemical neurotransmitter that makes the body feel good, affecting mood, behavior, appetite, digestion, memory, sexual desire and function, and sleep.
The next time you feel down, boost that mood by nibbling on some nuts.
Mushrooms don’t only make our food taste great; there are also some health benefits we can get from ingesting these fungi. White button mushrooms are rich in soluble fiber which are crucial to digestion. The shiitake mushroom has been found useful in treating depression as it provides plenty of vitamin B6 which helps in producing serotonin and neurotransmitters, resulting in having a positive mood and naturally reducing stress.
Abstaining From Gluten
For some, off-putting gluten or having a low-gluten diet results in a positive effect on their gut microbiome, leading to better digestion and absorption of nutrients. Many famous players in the food industry are considering gluten-free recipes in their market. The old ways of soaking, sprouting and souring grains help us digest the hard to break down gluten, but this process has been long forgotten because of the fast and mass production food industry. Note that “Research is now uncovering more information about just how consuming excess sugar impacts our overall health-not just our physical health but also our mental health.” Mary C. Wiley, PsyD said.
Try to bring back the past by making your food digestible and nutritious.
This article may not fully uncover the mystery behind the intimacy between our gut and mood, but it proves one thing, whatever we put in our mouth will dictate the health of our gut and our brain. Stop overthinking. Instead, start being mindful that the health of one will benefit the other and the rest of our body.