Healthy Gut, Happy Life: How Our Microbes Affect Our Mood

We all know about eating well to improve our general health, and even to address specific issues like heart disease or diabetes. But did you know that tailoring your diet can also support your mental health as well? Making some easy changes to your daily menu can actually have a hugely beneficial impact to areas such as depression, anxiety, memory loss and a host of other mental functions too. This is due to the role our gut health plays in affecting our mental state. Just like the brain, your gut has its own nervous system, and this communicates with your grey matter via the vagus nerve. If you’ve ever experienced feeling queasy with nerves, that is the link in action. It means that what we eat can really have an effect on your mood and mental state. Keeping to a diet rich in the following foods can therefore be an extremely effective part of the management of conditions such as depression, addiction and anxiety and keep your mind working at it’s best:

Maintain your microbes for a mood boost. Image licenced under Creative Commons.

Fish Oils

Most people have diets severely lacking in omega-3 fatty acids. This is a problem because our brains are largely made up of fat and these essential fatty acids are not made naturally in the body, we need to take them into our bodies through what we eat. Studies have shown that a diet rich in omega-3, containing food such as oily fish like salmon, sardines and herring, flaxseed and walnuts can ease symptoms of schizophrenia, depression and ADHD. This is because they support the production of neurotransmitters, like dopamine and serotonin. These brain chemicals regulate mood and low levels of them have also been linked to a propensity for addiction. Omega-3 can also boost learning and memory skills, so double up by altering your diet and adding in an Omega-3 supplement.

Whole Grains

Our brain energy is powered by glucose, which our bodies derive from carbohydrates. Yet many of us eat too many simple carbs like white bread and pasta. These create dramatic spikes in blood sugar levels and this exacerbates low moods and had been shown to have a similar effect on the brain to some drugs. At the other end of the scale, complex carbohydrates found in whole grains release glucose at a much slower rate, providing steady fuel for the brain a and body. A diet rich in oats, bulgar wheat, wild rice, beans and soy can help to support this beneficial effect.

Leafy Green Vegetables

While spinach might not make you super muscly in a flash like Popeye, it and other dark leafy greens have a hugely positive mental effect to offer. Romaine, collard greens, bok choi, kale and broccoli all offer essential folic acid to your body. Low levels of folate and other B vitamins have been linked with conditions such as insomnia, depression and chronic fatigue. Boost your levels with a daily green smoothie with the best green superfood powder, and pack your diet with stir fries and dishes featuring these amazing greens.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Foods You Need to Eat if you Are Depressed or Down in the Dumps

If you are feeling low or if you know that your mental health could do with some support then your diet may be to blame. After all, if you have a very poor diet then this could really be limiting your motivation and it can also have a profound impact on your energy levels as well. If you want to try and make yourself feel better or if you know that you need to try and give yourself some additional support when it comes to your own nervous system then these foods can certainly help you to get to where you need to be.

Fatty Fish

Believe it or not, fatty fish is really rich in Omega-3. It is also very rich in docosahexaenoic acid as well. Studies show that foods which are higher in Omega-3 such as herring, salmon and even sardines are all great for your body and they can even reduce depression and hyperactivity disorders. The main reason for this is because it has a huge impact on the neurotransmitters that are in the brain and this includes dopamine and even serotonin. If you are able to support the synapses in the brain then this can help you with your mood, your learning ability and even your memory as well.

https://www.pexels.com/photo/catch-fish-fish-market-fishing-229789/

Whole Grains

The main source of energy for the brain is glucose. This tends to come from carbohydrates. Of course, when you look at simple carbohydrates you will find that these can increase your low moods by creating a spike in the blood sugar. This can have very similar effects on the brain as drug abuse. Healthy sources of carbohydrates however can easily provide your brain with a steady fuel so that you can avoid those blood sugar spikes. This will also help you to avoid heartburn as well, as this normally comes from sugary or fatty foods. If you do find that you struggle with heartburn then you can consider taking products such as Zantac as this can really help.

Lean Protein

Lean protein is ideal if you want to boost the amount of serotonin in the body. The main reason for this is because most of your body is made up of protein, and some people even call it the Prozac of nature. Lean sources of protein can include egg, chicken, fish, turkey and even beans. They help to keep your serotonin levels balanced and they can also facilitate the tryptophan in the brain as well. This helps to reduce both anxiety and depression, not to mention that it also increases your own cognitive functioning. If you are finding it hard to battle the anxiety that you have then increasing the amount of lean protein in your diet can certainly help.

https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-slicing-raw-meat-with-pepper-on-chopping-board-beside-spices-1446270/

Leafy Greens

There’s a reason why Popeye is so keen on spinach! Mustard greens, broccoli, romaine and more are all very rich in Vitamin B. This has been proven, in the past to try and reduce depression and even insomnia as well. If you are suffering from chronic fatigue then this can also really help you. The main reason for this is because broccoli contains selenium and this is a mineral that plays a huge part in the immune system. It also plays a part in the thyroid metabolism and even in reproduction as well. Various studies have been done and they all show that low levels of selenium do contribute to things like anxiety, fatigue and more.

Active Cultured Yoghurt

If you are struggling with anxiety or even depression then active-cultured yoghurts can really help you. You should also look out for fermented foods, such as pickled vegetables. The main reason for this is because they contain probiotics. This is healthy bacteria and this has shown in the past that it can reduce anxiety and stress hormones. It can also have a huge impact on the neurotransmitter GABA as well. If you find that you eat a lot of junk food then there is a chance that the healthy bacteria in your gut has been compromised and you may even find that you struggle with your energy levels. By eating foods that are higher in active cultures, you can help to nurse yourself and your body back to health while also putting an end to your own anxiety and depression.

Of course, if you are struggling with anxiety or even depression then there are things that you can do to help. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference your diet can make to your mood.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

5 Ways Nutrition Plays A Vital Role In Recovery From Addiction

Everything that you put into your body has an effect on your physical and your mental well-being. Taking drugs and consuming excessive amounts of alcohol not only cause damage to your body, but they also often prevent your body from absorbing the vitamins and minerals your body so desperately needs from the food that you eat.

A very common consequence of addiction is that addicts and alcoholics eat very little while using. It is also very common for addicts to vomit during binges so the little food that they have managed to consume is lost.

Depending on the drug the addict may also binge on food, such as marijuana addicts.




Whatever the addicts habits their relationship with food is bound to be unhealthy, causing even more havoc to their body in addition to the physical damages from the alcohol and drugs.

Getting clean from drugs and alcohol is not an easy process and the role that good nutrition plays is often overlooked. When looking for treatment for addiction it is a good idea to ask what emphasis they put on nutrition before choosing a treatment center.

Nutrition Recovery Addiction

Here are some vital ways that nutrition impacts your recovery from addiction:

1 Detoxing from alcohol and drugs

Coming off your drug of choice and going through a withdrawal period is inevitable if you want to get clean. You will need to detox from drugs.

Depending on the drug you are coming off this process can be relatively simple with a small amount of discomfort, or it can be a traumatic and painful process if you are coming off a drug like heroin which has serious withdrawal symptoms and very often has to be medically supervised.

The foods that you eat during this time won’t magically cure you from withdrawal symptoms but you can lessen symptoms significantly by ensuring that you are eating properly.

One of the most important things to do during this time is to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

Stay away from high caffeine drinks such as coffee and avoid drinking sugary carbonated drinks. If you struggle to drink a lot of plain waster a great option is to drink sugarless iced tea which you can make yourself using an iced tea maker. It is a much healthier option than Coke or Coffee which is what so many addicts drink in recovery!

2 Repairing Body Damage

Drugs and alcohol cause significant damage to your body. While there are some things that won’t be able to be undone such as cocaine damage to your nose, a lot of your body’s internal organs will start healing to some degree once you stop using.

Getting in vitamins and minerals to your body will now be vital to helping your body to recover from drug abuse.

Eating plenty of fruit, vegetables and natural foods will give your body the boost it needs. Focus on getting in foods high in protein, fiber and natural fats.

Stay away from processed foods and foods high in sugar.




3 Healthy Living Habits

While in active addiction addicts often don’t look after themselves in any way. They are often dirty and malnourished. Part of being in recovery is changing your lifestyle and habits. You need to learn to look after yourself properly.

Eating regular, healthy meals is a huge part of this process along with good personal hygiene habits, good sleep habits and exercise.

Recovery from addiction is about change, it is about moving from an unhealthy mindset and lifestyle to the a healthy mind and life.

4 Mental Well-being

While many may think that addiction is just a physical problem this is incorrect. While there definitely is a physical craving for drugs this is not the deeper problem. The mental state of an addict is what needs the most work.

Getting over the physical cravings very often is they easy part, getting over the physical withdrawal and cravings happens in a short space of time.

Staying clean and being mentally well is much harder and has to be maintained. Good nutrition plays another essential role here. By eating properly you can control your blood sugar levels which will help to keep your moods stable.

Eating correctly can help to combat depression and anxiety which can greatly impact your chances of being successful in your recovery from addiction.




Many addicts have a dual diagnosis, meaning that they often get diagnosed with a mood disorder along with addiction. This makes paying attention to your mental health so important since your mood disorder can affect your recovery from addiction and in turn your addiction can affect your mood disorder.

It is important to stay focused on both of these issues and treat them both simultaneously. Good nutrition and healthy eating habits aids you in your recovery from addiction and is highly beneficial to your mental health.

5 The Dangers of Cross Addiction

The importance of healthy eating is not just to help the addict to get physically and mentally well. It is also essentially important to educate the addict against the dangers of cross addiction.

When an addict is withdrawing from a substance, even from cigarettes, it is common to crave unhealthy foods such as foods with high sugar or caffeine. While this may help the addict in the short term to pull through withdrawals there is the possibility that the addict can then form a cross addiction into food.

People can become addicted to anything, from the more obvious things like drugs and addiction, to things like gambling, sex, food, online dating, online games, work and exercise.

With food often being the only thing left that an addict has access to when in treatment for recovery from addiction this needs to be looked at.

Teaching an addict to have a healthy relationship with food is therefore essential on so many levels and can have a direct impact on the addict’s recovery from addiction, both short term and long term.


About The Author

My name is Eva Swain, I am the founder of Women’s Guide. I have a passion for keeping up with the latest information and providing the audience with the facts they need to make better choices in their lives. I started Women’s Guide for women who want to advance both for themselves and the greater good. Follow Eva @EvaCSwain


 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail