Do you feel nauseous or uneasy in response to certain situations? Have you ever experienced “butterflies” in your stomach or ever had an experience that you’ve described as “gut-wrenching”?
We use these expressions for a reason! Feelings of irritability, sadness, joy, anxiety and fear can trigger gut symptoms as emotions and the gastrointestinal tract are intimately connected. A person’s stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress, or depression.
Without question, Mental illness is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century. Over 75% of mental health problems occur before the age of 25 and almost half of all Australians are estimated to experience a psychiatric disorder of some kind during their lifetime.
Factors that can contribute towards your gut, body and brain health are determined around conception and include your parents’ genetics and lifestyle, the environment you’re born into and your ongoing exposure to infections or illness. Our lifestyle has a significant influence on the types of bugs (microbes) that live and thrive in our guts called the microbiome.
Our gut and our brain are connected through several different pathways known as the gut brain axis, with 90% of our serotonin (our “feel good/ happy” hormone) being located in our guts.
The good bacteria influence our mood by releasing serotonin and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) which is important for keeping us calm.
Studies show that the bacteria is different in someone experiencing low mood, vs someone who is not, and the bacteria can impact areas of the brain that are associated with mental health challenges such as anxiety and depression. Your gut microbiome undergoes multiple changes throughout your life, sometimes within as little as 24 hours.
How to support your Gut-Brain Health.
Drink plenty of water.
Limit/ avoid alcohol and caffeine.
Prioritise an anti-inflammatory diet for improving stress response. Inflammatory foods include processed foods, processed grains and high sugar foods.
Include foods which calm the nervous system such as dark chocolate, bananas, tea and fermented vegetables.
Ensure you are eating quality protein sources.
Enjoy vitamin C rich foods to reduce stress hormone production.
Boost dietary magnesium by eating Green leafy vegetables, Fruit, Nuts and seeds, Legumes, Vegetables, Seafood, Whole grains, Raw cacao, Dark Chocolate, Tofu, Baked beans. Magnesium is known as a nervous system nutrient!
Take B vitamins to support neurotransmitter production.
Get moving! Exercise has been shown to be preventative of some mental disorders and there are many positive effects of exercise for those with depression and anxiety.
If you are suffering with low mood, anxiety, depression or other mental health challenges, discuss how you are feeling with your Doctor alongside a qualified healthcare practitioner like a Naturopath.
Take advantage of a complimentary discovery call with Brooke Crabb, our experienced Naturopath and Nutritionist at Warriewood or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how Naturopathy and Nutrition may support your mood.
Naturopath | Clinical Nutritionist | Herbalist | Northern Beaches Integrative Practitioners