With a healthy gut, the gut brain connection functions effectively as the lines of communication operate properly. As the right hunger & satiation signals are sent between the gut and the brain, nutrients are effectively synthesized and we feel satisfied, energized with an overall sense of physical and mental well being. As enough serotonin is formed, it also allows us to cope with stress better. A happy and healthy gut is the key to a happy and healthy mind.
However, due to poor lifestyle and diet our gut can become unhealthy and adversely affect gut bacteria, reduce serotonin production and hinder communication between the brain and gut. As a result, the levels of stress, anxiety, depression and other negative emotions rise affecting our mood and mental health. An unhealthy gut and microbial imbalances can result in various gut issues like inflammatory gut, leaky gut syndrome, gut dysbiosis, SIBO, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and candida. These conditions hamper the lines of communication. This information is then sent to the brain through a neural pathway which causes the brain to react with behaviors like irritability, mood swings, panic, anxiety and depression.
However, there are ways you can improve your gut health with small, simple and effective lifestyle and diet changes.
Ways to boost your gut health & mood
Here are a few quick and simple ways for you to improve your gut health and and keep you gut brain axis proper and effective:
1. Consume foods rich in probiotics & prebiotics
Add prebiotic and probiotics rich foods to your diet. This can help boost the amount of good bacteria in your gut flora. Prebiotic food feeds good bacteria in the gut flora while probiotics adds diversity.
2. Follow a healthy diet
Remove foods from your diet that damage good gut bacteria and cause inflammation in the gut like refined carbohydrates, gluten, added sugar, processed foods and alcohol to aid a healthy gut
3. Consume fermented foods
Foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, coconut milk or Greek yogurt, beet kvass and various probiotic supplements can help boost good bacteria in your gut. Combined with a gut healthy diet, fermented foods can be significantly beneficial.
4. Eat more veggies
Consume more steamed vegetables with your meals. Whether having breakfast or dinner, try to add some leafy, green veggies to your diet. Steamed vegetables are usually rich in fiber that help to improve various functions in the gut.
5. Lower stress levels
Although it may not be as easy as it sounds, reducing your stress levels through meditation, massage, yoga, sleeping and other self-care habits can help your gut a great deal and improve your mood. Make self-care a daily priority and give the gut healing process a much needed boost.
A healthy gut makes a healthy mind
Now that you understand the connection between your gut and your brain, you can now choose to control your stress and anxiety, relieve signs of depression, boost your mood and live a happier life.
Gut health is crucial for our mental health and the better the gut brain axis functions, the better you will feel physically, mentally and emotionally. Follow the strategies shared above and bring a change in your diet and lifestyle if you wish to build a healthier gut and improve your emotional and mental well being.
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