Poor dietary choices, stress, and poor digestive health can all disrupt the community of bacteria that naturally reside in your gut.
The rate of digestive disorders in our modern societies is increasing. The emerging field of psychobiotics provides fascinating insights into the role the gut plays in influencing mental health.
How Does Gut Health Affect My Mental Health?
The gut microbiome plays an important role in our health by helping to control digestion, and that also benefits our immune system.
Increasingly, evidence has associated gut microbiota (microorganisms living in your digestive tract) to both gastrointestinal and extragastrointestinal diseases.
Inflammation of the gut has been linked to causing several mental illnesses, including anxiety and depression.
Psychobiotics are live organisms, or probiotics, that influence the chemistry of your brain, via two-way communication between your gut and your brain.
Most of the microbes living inside you are beneficial to your health. They prefer us to be happy and healthy hosts, so they are involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters like serotonin that help us feel good.
When the balance of those microbes is affected or out of synch, essentially the beneficial bacteria can get overwhelmed by other potentially harmful microbes, and that can have negative effects.
That can impact our capacity for producing feel-good chemicals.
Also it can mean an increase in inflammation, potentially compromising the digestive tract, and allowing for viral and bacterial pathogens to gain access to the bloodstream.
It’s here where they can travel throughout the body and cause damage. It can lead to inflammation in the brain, which contributes to mood disorders such as anxiety and depression, aggression, impaired memory, and migraines.
Can Probiotics Help My Mental Health?
There are specific probiotic strains that are currently being studied for their positive impact on mood disorders, and on general mental health.
How Can I Increase the Good Bacteria in My Gut?
- Eat fibre-rich foods.
- Probiotic foods.
- Limit fats and animal products.
- Exercise and practice a healthy lifestyle.
- Try prebiotic foods.
- Try consuming a green drink.
- Get out into nature.
- Practice stress management.
Worst Foods to Eat for Gut Health:
- Processed foods.
- Red Meat.
An imbalance of microbes in your intestines can also contribute to weight gain.
As we’ve seen, certain foods and dietary patterns can influence the amount of different types of bacteria in the gut, which in turn can affect our health and potentially our mental well-being.
Personally I found drinking a green drink daily really helped with my digestion. They are packed with good gut-health ingredients. There are many different brands, if you’ve never tried it before I would personally suggest you look into trying it out.
Although green drinks usually contain all natural ingredients, as always please consult with a medical professional if you have an underlying condition or may be currently taking medication.
3 thoughts on “How Does Gut Health Affect My Mental Health?”