Did you know that studies have shown that there is a strong link between gut health and mental wellness?

Those who experience anxiety could reduce symptoms by regulating the microorganisms in their gut using probiotic and non-probiotic food and supplements. The trillions of microorganisms that are present in the gut perform important functions in the immune system and metabolism by providing essential inflammatory mediators, nutrients, and vitamins, and can help to regulate brain function. You know that ‘gut feeling’ that’s so commonly referred to? Well, there’s something to it! The gut is sensitive to emotions like anger, anxiety, sadness, and joy – and the brain can react to signals from the stomach. That’s why it’s so important to eat a balanced and nutritious diet, for a healthy mind and body.

So what is the gut? It includes every organ which plays a part in digesting food. The lining of the gut is often referred to as ‘the second brain’. Not only is it physically connected to the brain, it’s also chemically connected to it through chemicals like hormones and neurotransmitters. The gut and brain pass chemical messages between each other, and these messages can be affected by the bacteria, viruses and fungi that live in the digestive system. They can be beneficial, harmless, or harmful.

Those who experience mental health issues can also experience gastrointestinal symptoms like heartburn, indigestion, acid reflux, bloating, pain, constipation, and/or diarrhoea.

So how can you look after your gut?

You should aim to eat a diet packed with whole grains, lean meats, fish, fruits, and vegetables. You can feed the good bacteria and help them grow by eating prebiotics such as asparagus, bananas, garlic, onions, apples, berries, tomatoes, and mangos. Probiotics are also great for your digestive system, so you should try and eat things like yoghurt (make sure the label says live or active cultures), miso soup, kombucha, kimchi, and apple cider vinegar. You can also get probiotic supplements to help grow your good bacteria. Try and avoid foods that are sugary, fried, or processed, and fizzy drinks.

Check out last week’s Wellness Wednesday blog about exercise HERE

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