Good food helps with good mood.
We've all heard of the "gut feeling" as an intuitive feeling. However, well beyond intuition, the science of the gut-brain interconnection indicates how gut bacteria produce various neurotransmitters that relate to our emotions, such as dopamine, norepinephrine, acetylcholine, and GABA, which are essential for mood, concentration, reward, and motivation.
We are what we eat; thus, what we eat, particularly products with chemical additives and ultra-processed foods, has an impact on our gut microbiome and increases the likelihood of different diseases.
Processed and ultra-processed foods, which have been linked to inflammation and disease, should be avoided. The equilibrium between good and bad gut bacteria might be altered as a result of poor nutrition.
Therefore, diseases like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, as well as cognitive and emotional disorders could develop.
Ultra-processed products are foods and beverages that have undergone specific types of processing. Ultra-processed foods are made mostly from substances extracted from foods, such as fats, starches, added sugars, and hydrogenated fats.
These foods are very common in Western diets, which include soft drinks, sweetened breakfast cereals, packaged soups, canned fruits and vegetables, salted meats, hotdogs, instant noodles, chips, and more.
The gut and brain have an anatomical and physiological two-way connection called the gut-brain axis. Additionally, 90% of serotonin (mood-stabilizer neurotransmitter) is produced in the digestive tract.
Nutrition can actually negatively or positively affect mood. Poor nutrition and diseases, including depression and anxiety, are linked through the gut-brain axis. Some of the most prevalent side effects of an antidepressant, such as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), are gut-related. Therefore, healthy foods nourish the gut bacteria in order for the gut to function properly, which in turn improves mood.
How the food you eat affects your brain | Mia Nacamulli
Although a person's unique gut microbiome is formed within the first 2-3 years of life, there are things you can do throughout your life to influence your gut environment and maintain its well-being. Here are some suggestions:
Consume whole foods rather than processed foods, which contain food additives and preservatives that disrupt the gut's good bacteria.
Consume fresh fruits and veggies. Frozen fruits and veggies with no additives are also a good option.
Consume a balance of seafood and lean poultry while limiting red meat intake.
Consume fermented foods such as kefir (unsweetened), sauerkraut, or kimchi, which can aid in keeping your gut healthy.
Consume a diet rich in whole grains and legumes.
Include foods high in probiotics, such as plain yogurt with no added sugars.
Eat sufficient fiber.
Lastly, don't forget to exercise and incorporate other self-care practices into your routine in addition to a healthy diet.
Here are some online thoughts from a Board-Certified Gastroenterologist.