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We all know that food can affect our weight, skin, cardiovascular system and energy, but did you know it can significantly affect your mood and mind? There is always more that can be done in correcting your diet for mental stamina, calmness, clarity, motivation and happiness.
A diet centred around food for mood should include eating ideally grain free, increasing high nutrient value foods, significantly increasing the fats your brain loves and increasing fermented foods.
Neurotransmitters are made from a huge range of nutrient cofactors, but the most clinically significant nutrients that are often low are zinc, vitamin B6 and magnesium. These nutrients are all essential for the formation of serotonin, dopamine and GABA. A naturally colourful, diversified vegetable loaded diet with a good level of proteins will ensure these vitamins are available.
Why reduce the grains for a happy mind? Grains contain lectins, a known gut irritant, and phytic acid, which inhibits bioavailability of nutrients needed for neurotransmitter production. Grains are often heavily farmed, so often are nutrient poor. And most importantly they almost always take place of what should be vegetables thus reducing mood boosting nutrient intake.
The first questions I often get asked is “Will I get constipated if I reduce grains?” Yes you may, but that is not normal. If you are constipated it is probably because you have either not increased your vegetable intake enough, you have not drank enough water or your gut flora and/or enzyme activity is out of balance. In which case it is best to see a Practitioner as there are many physiological factors that need addressing as one diet does not fit every single person.
Fermented foods are becoming so popular and for good reasons. Kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha and kimchi are all superb examples of imputing good bacteria into your gut. Bacterias help with increasing your nutrient absorption, providing precursors for neurotransmitters, balancing inflammatory responses and digestion of your food. It is well documented that gut bacteria can indeed affect our mental state. The more of the good bacterias that are there the more in favour your microbiome is for a happy mental state.
Your brain is mostly made of fat so it is important to include plenty of good fats in your diet. Omega 3 fats fatty acids, naturally high in seafood, is a key nutrient in nerve function. Research shows us that omega 3’s can reduce significantly inflammation in the body, and inflammation has been implicated as a contributing factor of many psychological imbalances.
How you feed your gut, is how you are feeding your mind. Make your diet naturally colourful, eat foods that are not processed, eat plenty of vegetables, drink copious amounts of water, eat moderate protein & plenty of good fats. The results can be transformational!
This article was written by Suzi Le Fanue and published in Holistic Bliss magazine April edition.
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We all know how bacteria can affect us when we are sick. But what about the seemingly harmless bacteria that colonise our gut every day? Naturopath Suzi Le Fanue Reports.
Are you finding yourself frustrated, thinking negatively, unmotivated and overwhelmed? Are you tired of taking medication that is not offering you the relief you would like? Have you ever wondered why all this happens? Could Bacteria be the answer?
Are you anxious when you wake up, find it hard to fall asleep, tired all the time and irritable?
There is always a cause.
A survey of 8,841 people aged 16 to 85 was conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and they found that a staggering 7.3 million (45%) of the respondents reported a lifetime mental disorder. You have to wonder, why this is becoming more frequent?
Research shows us some promising answers. Often part of the problem is not in the brain, it is further south… your digestive system to be exact. After all, for years Scientist’s have been called it your “second brain”.
The digestive system is like the roots of a tree; it absorbs your nutrients and helps you to flourish. But what if you carried a pathogenic infection that released neuro-toxins, affecting the way your brain works and at the same time robbed you of your nutrients?
Researchers at McMaster University have supportive evidence that bacteria residing in the gut influence brain chemistry and behaviour. When there was a change in the gut flora of the test subject’s increased anxiety and behaviour change was noted. For years these bacteria’s have been seen to be harmless, but the negative impact of specific strains of bacteria on the brain are documented.
The pathogenic bacteria have the potential to cause havoc on your digestive system and indirectly can cause Serotonin to drop. Serotonin is your happy, chirpy, relaxing neurotransmitter. Not many people are aware that it is predominantly made in the gut. So viewing depression or anxiety as a one organ “disease” is clearly not the only way it should be treated.
The expressions “gut wrenching” and “butterflies in my belly” are used for a reason, and we have all experienced them. So we know there is a connection between the gut and brain.
Most research around the connection of the gut to brain has been focused on early childhood mental health such as autism, with only recently emerging studies on adult onset mental health conditions. It is exciting to see the medical world of research extend beyond just looking at one organ. Let’s hope this area of research continues to grow.