If you want to have better mental health, first fix your gut health
A word that I only learnt a few years back is microbiome. After my cancer diagnosis I began researching the optimum way to eat for health. It became my highest priority in the world to be as healthy as possible, to ensure that my immune system is the strongest that I can make it.
I am only interested in proven science and the latest research, not fad diets. I have been astonished to learn how important our guts are when it comes to our health. And not just our physical health, which I was expecting, but also on our mental health which I really was not expecting.
You see our digestive system is inhabited by what is sometimes called flora, or ‘good bacteria’ and there are lots of different ones which have evolved alongside us to be mutually beneficial to us. Did you have any idea that we have these inside us and we carry them around with us everywhere! When we have lots of good bacteria and we look after them, they look after us too.
There is increasing evidence that our gut health has a major impact on our mental health and although the junk food companies throw millions of pounds and dollars to advertise that junk food will make you happier, the reality is that eating this so-called food could be fueling your anxiety or depression and mental illness as well as obesity, heart disease and cancer.
Lack of vitamins and nutrition, and eating ultra-processed food means that we are not giving our good bacteria what it needs to keep us well. Inflammation is caused in the gut and this is shown to cause not just anxiety but also a whole range of illnesses.
We are one system, mind and body so when your body isn’t well, your mind isnt going to be either. Just like when you feel mentally drained and overwhelmed, your body reacts too. Eating foods like doughnuts, sugary cereal and fast food starves your gut flora of what it needs, and simply means that you get messaging sent to your brain to eat more please. This causes a cycle of overeating but is not giving your body the nutrition that it craves. When your body is in a state of stress like this, it will trigger in you feelings of anxiety, stress, depression and worry.
The great news is that you can change it, so that you create a better environment for the gut. By taking probiotics, eating lots of vegetables and fibre rich foods, and fermented vegetables, avoiding any foods which are ultra-processed and high in sugar, you will over time, create a healthier gut. It’s worth researching and making a change because the impact will not just be on your waistline. I promise it makes a big difference..but also on how you feel mentally and how well you feel you can cope with life.
It really is a case of ‘you are what you eat’. Self care and self nourishing means food choices on every meal, every day, but it will add up and make you feel better.
I want to connect with anyone who wants to eat better, be healthier and feel happier.
I’ve created a free group (this one is especially for ladies) – who have been through tough times and now want to live fearlessly. There are no limits except those which we put on ourselves from our own mindset. Living fearlessly means optimising our health, prioritising ourselves self care and our recovery from illness or surgery and boosting our immune systems. Sleep better, eat better, move better and live better.
With optimum health at the forefront of my mind this week, I wanted to share some useful resources with you.
Furthermore, Healthy Eating Week is an annual celebration to encourage the nation to eat and drink more healthily, as well as get more active.
The British Nutrition Foundation’s 10th Healthy Eating Week will take place from 13 – 17 June 2022 and their big message for this year is, Eat well for you and the planet! I would recommend checking them out!
If you want to feel more educated on gut health – fermented foods and probiotics, I recommend you follow Donna Schwenk to learn more about how our microbiome affects us and the latest cutting edge science.