Food and mood
Most people I see in my practice suffering from gut issues, will invariably experience anxiety, depression or other mood-affecting disorders. Although external factors have a direct influence on our mood, gut health is key in reducing depression and anxiety, as up to 90 % of serotonin – the feel-good hormone – is produced in the digestive tract. When gut bacteria are damaged (by sugar, antibiotics, unhealthy diets, stress etc.), then your ability to produce serotonin will be impaired, which will impact your mood and anxiety levels. Here are some gut-bacteria boosting foods to help increase your production of serotonin:
- fermented foods (kefir, miso, unpasteurised sauerkraut, kombucha, good quality organic plain yogurt if you tolerate dairy)
- bacteria-feeding prebiotics, such as bananas, raw honey, onions, and tomatoes, Jerusalem and regular artichokes, oats, goat’s milk, chicory, olives, baked apples and many fruits.
These foods will not only increase good gut bacteria, they will also help to reduce inflammation – another trigger for depression.
To prevent or reduce gut inflammation, increase these foods in your diet:
- turmeric with a pinch of black pepper (daily)
- omega-3 rich foods: krill, wild salmon and other oily fish
- chia and flaxseeds (1-2 Tbsps/day)
- soaked nuts, particularly walnuts as they also contain high levels of vitamin E
- lots of green leafy vegetables
- reduce inflammation-producing alcohol, smoking, meats, dairy and heated vegetable oils in processed foods.
Nature’s best prescription: organic, unprocessed foods as close to their natural state as possible, fresh water, daily sunshine & oxygen, deep breathing…and watch your mood lift – naturally 🙂