In my previous article, I’ve discussed how our daily stress drives us to craving food with high carbohydrates. Though not always bad, it’s not always good either. But how does food actually affect our mood?
“Gut health is the key to overall health” — Kris Carr
These days I’ve been invested into gut health more than ever because I now know that the gut holds the key to many things, including our immune and our emotions. This is because 95% of our Serotonin -the neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood, is produced in our gastrointestinal tract.
In an article by Harvard Health Blog about Nutritional Psychiatry, Dr. Elva Selhub mentioned that our “gastrointestinal tract is lined with a hundred million nerve cells, or neuron, it makes sense that the inner workings of [our] digestive system don’t just help digest food, but also guide emotions.”
The function of these neurons is influenced by the “good” bacteria in our intestines. These bacterias help protect the lining of our intestines and ensure to provide a strong barrier against the toxins and other “bad” bacterias that we consume and or exposed to us daily.
“Good” bacteria will help improve our nutrients absorption capability and help activate “neural pathways” from our gut to our brain.
So, now what should we be eating then?
If you know me, I’m not a health expert myself. Hence, a quick disclaimer that all these suggestions are merely based on my personal research and readings to help me improve my own health. I would like to share with you what I’ve been consuming and you can read more about this via Healthline.com — my favorite health site!
- The right fats:
Omega-3 fatty acids are the group of fats that is important to our diet because our body does not produce it naturally. This group of essential fat is mentioned to lower the levels of depression and play key roles in brain development. These can be found in fatty fishes like salmon and tuna.
- Nuts and seeds:
Nuts and seeds contain plant-based proteins, healthy fats, fiber, and even some seeds contain good minerals like zinc and selenium. These ingredients also play a role in producing serotonin. They can be found in almonds, peanuts, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, and more.
During my childhood, my mom used to provide berries as snacks as they are believed to have a high level of antioxidants. This ingredient is believed to help with any inflammations and protect us from illnesses such as cancer.
- Fermented Food
Yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, kefir, is believed to help with increasing gut health. These fermented foods contain live bacteria called probiotics, which help with digestion and moods.
The amino acids in proteins help the brain to regulate thoughts and feelings. Proteins are also good for diet as it is believed to keep us feeling full for a longer period of time. Proteins are found in lean meat, fish, eggs, nuts, legumes, and more.
And last but not least do not forget to keep yourself hydrated! Water makes up to 60% of our body so it is important to always keep drinking water.
Bottom line is, your gut is your second brain. Keep it healthy and happy then I believe you would be a happier person too! It is not easy to shift from one habit to another. The key is to always remind yourself to be mindful and appreciate mistakes as it takes part in your journey to a healthier you.