Gut health. It’s not something that is well known to be a big part of the mental health field.
It’s not something we normally think of when we think mental health. We think of the basics – meditation, therapy, practicing self-love and being kind to ourselves, amongst others. But have you ever thought about the correlation between what you eat and your mental health?
The brain has a direct effect on the stomach and intestines. For example, the very thought of eating can release the stomach’s juices before food gets there. This connection goes both ways. A troubled intestine can send signals to the brain, just as a troubled brain can send signals to the gut. Therefore, a person’s stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress, or depression. That’s because the brain and the gastrointestinal (GI) system are intimately connected.
So what can you do?
To maintain or restore the health of your microbiome (the microorganism environment in your gut) and support good overall health, it is important to maintain a strong balance in favor of beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract. The first step is to eat a well-balanced diet that includes foods with probiotic or prebiotic ingredients that support microbial health by helping to restore balance to the gut microbiome.
Eating a well-balanced diet may help you regulate your anxiety, stress and depression. Eating poor foods and not getting enough nutrients in your body has a negative effect in your body. Working out & eating right play an important part in being mentally healthy.
So the next time you go for a snack think about how much your gut and your brain will thank you in the long run if you choose to fuel it with good nutrients. And remember, consistency is key.