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The Gut-Brain Connection: How To Boost Your Mood Through Your Diet

Gut-Brain Connection

As the old saying goes, “You are what you eat!

Did you know that you have trillions of bacteria thriving in your body? This is good bacteria that helps keep your body and your emotions in balance. Scientifically speaking, your gut microbiome is made up of trillions of bacteria, fungi, and other microbes. It plays a very important role in your overall health by aiding digestion. It also affects your immune system and many other aspects of your physical health.

The gut-brain axis refers to the physical and chemical connections between your gut and brain. But sometimes, the good bacteria is thrown off balance by things like stress, antibiotic, and unearthly eating. Unfortunately, these changes in the gut-brain axis can affect the way you feel.

The Gut-Brain Connection

Research shows just how important that connection between our gut and brain health really is. We know that gastrointestinal health can be the root cause of many other health issues including our mental health. Therefore, you can improve your brain health and mood by altering your gut bacteria. Here are a few key points to keep in mind…

  • Gut inflammation (from trying to digest overly processed foods) can trigger mood swings and disorders. Gut inflammation may cause many diseases.
  • The Enteric Nervous System (ENS), is made of two thin layers with more than 100 million nerve cells. It’s hidden in the walls of our digestive system and acts as “the brain in our gut”.
  • The gut-brain connection is formally known as the microbiome and has a great effect on our moods.
  • Stress directly impacts our guts through our flight or fight response. This butterflies in the stomach feeling is due to a fluctuation our cortisol levels.
  • A dysfunctional microbiome could be at the root of your headaches, anxiety, inability to concentrate, or even a generally negative outlook on life.

Improve The Way You Feel

Luckily, you have the power to change your life through what you eat. Even small adjustments in your diet can help improve the way you feel. Try cutting back on processed and refine foods that can increase your risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Instead, choose a diet consisting of whole foods that can dramatically impact the composition of your gut in a good way. 

Probiotics are good bacteria that can help with proper nutrient absorption and better overall health. Probiotics regulate the balance of the microbes in the microbiome helping improve sleep and decrease anxiety and depression. Examples of probiotic-rich foods are sauerkraut, apple cider vinegar, and, of course, yogurt.

“This beneficial bacteria also produces nutrients our bodies need to carry out the hard work of digestion,” said Sarah Hooff, our certified holistic nutritionist at Sunshine Coast Health Centre.

Sarah also recommends incorporating healthy fats that are great for brain development. 

For example, Vitamin A is a fat-soluble nutrient essential for nutrient absorption. As an added bonus, olive oils and avocados are great for your heart health, too! 

There are many things you can do to help make your gut work for you by improving your mood and your overall health! It starts with a commitment to personal growth and improvement. At Georgia Strait Women’s Clinic, we provide personalized mental health and addiction treatment for high-functioning and motivated women struggling with their mental health. Learn more today!