Is there really a connection between your gut and your mental health?
When working on bettering mental health, it is pretty common to be advised to also pay some attention to eating habits, and healthy nutrition. At times, this advice might seem a bit confusing as we can sometimes forget how connected our mind and body are. Nonetheless, a healthy stomach and a nutritious diet might be more important to your mental health than you have considered. Gut health, including the gut bacteria can even be thought of as one of the key players in mood and mental health, as the activity of these bacteria influences the brain and its functioning. Therefore, it’s crucial to not undervalue the impact of diet on enhancing one’s mental well-being.
How can gut health affect mental health?
Previous research has found that the trillions of bacterial cells in our gut, that form an environment known as the gut microbiome, may have an impact on how we feel and think. When your microbiome is more diverse and includes a lot of healthy bacteria, it produces substances which increase mood-lifting chemicals, like serotonin.
Besides a connection to one’s mood, a balanced microbiome can also improve one’s stress resilience, which again can help to protect your mental health. Similarly, gut bacteria’s activity can affect anxiety symptoms as well. Usually, more fibre and fermented foods in your diet can help your gut by reducing inflammation and elevating your mood. Therefore, the changes in immunity that impact how well our brains function may be caused by our gut microbes.
Fundamentally, happy microorganisms seem to be a helping factor in protecting better mental health. So yes, your belly has that power!