What you eat controls the bacteria in your gut. The bacteria in your gut controls your mood and can now be linked directly to symptoms of anxiety and depression
We all know that eating a healthy diet is really important in keeping yourself physically fit but mounting medical research is showing that it could also be the key to good mental health.
Recent studies have shown that there is a direct link from a Western diet – i.e. one that is high in processed foods, sugar, soft drinks (either with or without sugar) to poor mental health.
Conversely, a “Mediterranean” diet rich in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, nuts, some dairy and healthy oils has been found to be protective and even curative for some mental health conditions. Adding pre-biotics in the form of fermented foods helps even more.
Our gut is inhabited by a whole host of bacteria – “good bacteria”. This is our gut biome or gut microflora. There are in fact more bacterial cells in your gut than cells in your entire body! (They are much smaller than our own cells so they don’t take up much room!) These microbes produce chemicals that affect our mood and act directly on our brain. When we eat a diet high in refined foods, we leave nothing for the bacteria that live in our lower gut to eat. They starve and die off. The diversity of our gut microflora is reduced and hence the good mood chemicals are not around to keep us mentally healthy.
So if you are feeling a bit low or anxious, diet may be a good and relatively easy starting point. First steps are to cut the CRAP
If you want to know more have a look at the links below.
Firstly, a great podcast that gives some of the science and places to get more information
Look at these websites for more details and some great recipes:
For a more academic article
Some books include
The Healthy Kitchen – http://thehappykitchen.net/
The Clever Guts Diet. – Dr Michael Mosely – https://cleverguts.com/