HOW IS YOUR DIET INFLUENCING YOUR EMOTIONAL WELLBEING?


Did you know that food has a huge impact on our day-to-day mood and general mental wellbeing?

The way we eat reflects the way we feel and this is because “mental health depends on brain health, and brain health depends on food.”

Food is the equivalent of fuel for our body and brain. We need to fuel up our brain with nutrient dense foods so it can do its job properly, and believe me, the brain needs a lot of fuel because it accounts for over 20% of our daily energy requirements.

If we choose to feed our brain with nutritious foods, our body can perform and function well. Why? Because we are providing it with the “building blocks” needed to thrive. Proteins, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates (macronutrients), and fibers as well as minerals and vitamins (micronutrients), are necessary to guarantee brain’s optimal function.

The brain can perform as it best only when it has the right amounts and a wide variety of nutrients. Following a healthy and complete diet is linked to better mood due to the fact that the brain is able to produce the right biochemicals needed to maintain it.

The opposite is feasible too, when there is a deficiency in the amount and types of nutrients given to the brain it cannot maintain a stable mood and this contribute to some mental health issues.

Eating a diet full of refined sugars and flours (cakes, donuts, white brad, white pasta, pastries) causes fluctuations in blood sugar levels that alter your mood. High blood sugar often can lead to irritability, while low blood sugar can bring about feelings of anxiety, depression and lethargy[1].

Another cause of severe mood swings are food allergies and intolerances. The reason behind this is connected to the gut microbiome.

“Many people aren’t aware that 90% of serotonin, the brain’s ‘happy hormone’ is produced in the gut, and that the nervous tissue in our gut does much more than merely handling digestion – it is heavily involved in influencing our mental state,” Dr John Hart.

Food allergies and intolerances are two of the many consequences of a disbalance in the gut microbiome. When your microbiome is underpopulated and out of balance, your emotions are out of whack and you can't think clearly. 

The gut and the microbiome that live in it, play a vital role in people’s mental health.

THE GUT:

The gastrointestinal system, also referred to as the gastrointestinal tract, digestive system, digestive tract, or gut, is a group of organs that includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, small intestine, colon, and rectum. The gut serves many essential roles in sustaining and protecting the overall health and wellness of our bodies, starting with the intake and absorption of nutrients and water[2].

Recent researches have found that your intestines contain a vast neural network and a host of biochemicals that are constantly exchanging information with the brain. 

THE MICROBIOME:

It is the community of bacteria that populates our digestive tract and elsewhere in the body.

The microbes that live inside our gut work alongside with the brain and the gut to create the biochemicals and other types of support on which your brain depends, like vitamins and neurotransmitters. 

This community of bacteria that enables us to digest our food, maintain our immune system and cope with stress, play a vital role in optimizing our brain function. If they are not healthy or balanced, they are not able to produce such biochemicals needed for the brain to keep our “good mood”.

These microbes can only thrive and stay healthy if they are receiving the food they need to survive too (they are living organisms that need to be fed so that they can do their job). They love fiber, veggies and fruits.

In conclusion, eating healthy, nutritious foods will help to keep a healthy brain. Having a healthy brain is a direct result of having a healthy and balanced microbiome, and keeping a thriving community of good gut bacteria can only be achieved by feeding those guys with healthy foods.

So, if you want to improve your mood, I would recommend to start paying more attention to your meals.


[1] https://psychcentral.com/lib/improving-your-emotional-health-through-healthier-eating/, https://www.health.qld.gov.au/news-events/news/good-mood-food-how-food-influences-mental-wellbeing-anxiety-depression-stress [2] https://med.nyu.edu/medicine/gastro/about-us/Gastroenterology-news-archive/your-gut-feeling-healthier-digestive-system-means-healthier

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