Why is it that mental health and diet go hand in hand? Because of the gut, otherwise known as the second brain! Did you know that roughly 90% of serotonin is in the gut?! Serotonin is the neurotransmitter in our brain that essentially regulates mood. This neurotransmitter helps bring your mood back to normal after something bad or extremely exciting happens. With depression or lower mood levels, there is a lack of serotonin in the brain, which means the brain cannot regulate mood.
Depression is not directly caused by the foods someone eats or poor gut health. However, eating foods or restoring gut health can help decrease depression. By focusing on a balanced diet with more nutrient-dense foods, we keep the gut happy, and when it is happy – it helps our brain become happy. Below are 5 things everyone should know about gut health:
01. Your body will tell you what you can and cannot digest – listen
Our bodies do not lie. Sometimes I like to think I am smarter than my body and know best. Spoiler alert: that never turns out very well. Our bodies are complex, so what we think we may know about what we can and can’t digest might be completely wrong. I struggled with digestive issues for about 5 years. They were uncomfortable, but never to the point of severe pain, so I did nothing about it. The problems were gone in the morning, and I would just start all over again until around 4, I started to experience discomfort again. Finally, I told myself this wasn’t normal and decided to listen.
02. 90% of serotonin is made in the gut – eat better = feel better literally
Wait for what?! I know how crazy that is! Again, serotonin is the neurotransmitter that plays a role in mood, sexual desire, digestion, and appetite. When you think about it – this explains why you feel sluggish, heavy, unmotivated, and moody after a binge. I don’t know about you, but I did not eat carrots and kale when I was binging.
03. Stress plays a component in digestion
Have you ever experienced eating the same as you usually do but suddenly having more bloating, gas, indigestion, or constipation? Stress affects how fast or slow food goes through your digestive system. I did not know this!! This means your digestive issues might not be due to the actual foods you’re eating but rather the stress you are experiencing. Mind blown. I always was looking at the foods, never my lifestyle. Anybody else?
04. Supplements help but do not heal
Proper gut healing comes down to changing your diet, reducing stress, and better-understanding foods that work with your body. In this process, supplements like probiotics and digestive enzymes can help; however, they are not the magic pill.
05. It can take up to 3 months to heal your gut
Good things take time, amirite? The same thing goes for your gut. This is not a process to rush, but it is a process that is worth it. The best place to start is by finding a good probiotic. Probiotics are amazing because not only do they help with getting healthy bacteria into your gut, but they also help with digestion, bowel regulation, and nutrient absorption!
Here is the probiotic I’ve been taking for almost a year and LOVE
If you take anything away from the above, let it be this: your gut and brain work together as a team. Your body needs both a healthy brain and a healthy gut to function optimally! The best news is that even if you have destroyed your gut, you can heal it. It takes time, but it is possible. And I can tell you from personal experience; it is worth it! Nothing is more uncomfortable than having a bloated, painful, gassy stomach every night. It doesn’t have to be this way anymore!