We often talk about a ‘gut feeling’, but there’s more to that saying than you might realise.
Your gut plays a crucial role in your feelings and mood, as well as your overall mental health, and can even contribute to conditions like anxiety and depression.
Naturopaths call the gut ‘the second brain’ because more messages are sent from your gut via the vagus nerve to your brain than the other direction. Also, up to 90 per cent of your brain’s neurotransmitters are produced in the gut.
How can an unhealthy gut play with your mind?
There are three ways your gut can impact your mental health.
Firstly, symptoms of gut inflammation (such as bloating, cramping and IBS) can cause confusing messages to be sent from your gut to your brain, increasing levels of anxiety.
Secondly, if you’re also suffering from a leaky gut, toxins crossing the gut wall cause inflammation, which has been linked to brain fog, anxiety, depression, Autism and behavioural problems like ADHD.
Finally, if you have too many bad bacteria in your gut, this imbalance decreases your body’s ability to respond to stress, and leads to a myriad of other health conditions, from autoimmune to mental health.
How to rebalance your gut and clear your mind
Studies have shown the greater the number of different bacteria in your gut, the less chance you have of experiencing anxiety and depression or an exaggerated stress response.
The best way to encourage a healthy gut flora is to increase your intake of both prebiotic and probiotic foods, as well as taking a good quality probiotic supplement.
Probiotic foods introduce a wide range of healthy bacteria to your gut, while prebiotic foods encourage the growth of those good bacteria in your gut.
I’ve included for you a list of the best probiotic and prebiotic foods to add in to your diet for good digestive health.
Taking a probiotic supplement has been shown to improve symptoms of anxiety by reducing cortisol, as well as improving the mental symptoms of people suffering chronic fatigue, depression and anxiety.
When it comes to choosing the right probiotic supplement, you need to choose one that has been well-researched or you will be wasting your money.
The best probiotics include strains that can survive the acid environment of the stomach and actually reach the large bowel, where they are most effective.
- Kefir yogurt
- Yogurt containing cultures must be fermented for 24 hours to be effective. This does not include store bought yoghurt. Learn more about fermenting at our upcoming talk – Natural Remedies for Gut Health on 9th August.
- Real sourdough bread made from a starter
- Miso Soup
- Kefir Milk
- Kombucha tea
- Fermented Kvass
- Apple cider vinegar
- Spring onion
- Fennel bulb
- Green peas
- Snow peas
- Sweet corn
- Savoy cabbage
- Ladyfinger bananas
- Custard apples
- White peaches
- Red kidney beans
- Baked beans
- Soy beans
- Brown rice
If you have any more questions, you can call us to book a FREE 15 minute chat with one of our Naturopaths to see how we can help you. Call now on (02) 4961 4075.
Yours in health,
Are you feeling frustrated and drained by your health?
Click here to discover how to boost your gut health naturally, which can in turn help you to lose weight, regain energy, support your immunity and even help to ward off cancer.