Our Founder Suzi Le Fanue was featured on the October edition of Holistic Bliss Magazine!
Our Founder Suzi Le Fanue was featured on the October edition of Holistic Bliss Magazine!
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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Are you feeling overwhelmed, moody, fatigued and like your digestive system has gone to sleep, and your healthy diet is not giving you the lift you would like? There is always a cause. Let me explain. Snorkeling in Goa
TIRED AND WIRED is the expression that many of my clients say they feel. Along with this feeling they are often stressed and overwhelmed. Why is it so common?
Well, there are two sections of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) is split into two sections: The rest and digest system (Parasympathetic) and the fight or flight system (Sympathetic). I see that some people have an imbalance and are switched in the fight or flight too often. When your body is exposed to stress, whether it be physical or mental, it is flooded with two hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Both of these put you in the “fight or flight” response. Your pupils dilate, your heart races, you become tense, thoughts are short lasting, memory reduces and you are on edge. These may have been handy in the days when an animal would jump out of a bush, but not handy for modern day stress, in fact it is detrimental to your health and will make your body even more stressed.
What does this do to your hormones? I call it the pregnenolone steal! What’s that? Pregnenolone is like a mother hormone, it can be used to make cortisol or it can be used to make reproductive hormones. When you are stressed your body goes down the cortisol pathway and then you can end up with hormone imbalance. So if I stress less it will fix itself up? Not just yet, you see inflammation such as asthma, arthritis, heart disease, kidney disease, hepatitis, IBS, allergies or any other inflammatory condition will also cause cortisol to increase. So you need to reduce the inflammation in the body.
Cortisol causes the blood to be shunted from the digestive system to the muscles, causing peristalsis (bowel movements) to change and your nutrient absorption may possibly drop. This in itself can cause energy to drop, sleep quality to reduce, changes in skin, and lowered mood. Much of your serotonin production (happy neurotransmitters) happens in the gut, so any sort of reduced blood flow could result in reduced neurotransmitter production. Digestive enzymes are made in the gut, if you find that some days you can handle a food and the next day you cant, it could be a reflection of your stress response. Digestive becomes the second priority when you are in the fight or flight response.
Can you see it is hard for your mind to be clear when your body is not?
The stress/anti-inflammatory hormone Cortisol is what wakes you up in the morning. If you are stressed, it is high all day long, not the slightest bit useful when you are laying in bed trying to get to sleep. It will prevent you from getting to sleep. Your mind will race! I see this in many clients when we do saliva hormone testing (Cortisol is high at night and melatonin [sleeping hormone] is low).
It is more than likely that you have experienced the gut-brain connection. The expressions “gut wrenching” or “butterflies” are all examples. I have heard of instances where a person was so stressed from a trauma that it was then their digestive health deteriorated. For this you need to go back and correct damage that was caused, but more importantly address the brain and the gut at the exact same time.
It is always harder to lose weight when you are stressed. Cortisol also makes it difficult to lose weight, and you will hold more fat predominantly around the tummy. So no matter how much exercise you do the weight will be hard to reduce. Cortisol levels could alter your melatonin levels, the sleeping hormone. If this happens your leptin levels (a hormone that tells you to stop eating) reduces, so you will feel more hungry and more likely to eat carbohydrate or sweets and unable to control your portion size. The increased carbohydrate content then increases insulin, which promotes inflammation, causes another spike of cortisol. See how everything in the body is connected?
Being in the fight and flight response for too long a period of time can lead you feeling drained, this leads to you being more emotionally unstable and you may become teary easier. This not only affects you it affects those around you. And makes it hard to deal with day to day tasks. I say this, because I know what it is like. I have experienced anxiety and panic attacks, so my understanding comes from experience and not just knowledge.
Stress and digestion go hand in hand. I never just treat stress, you always need to dig deeper. The body needs balance, when one thing increases another decreases, when one nutrient is deficient for a pathway it will be ‘robbed’ from another and the imbalance continues. This is the beauty of Naturopathy, we address all aspects of your health, to enable you to live a happy, fruitful, abundant life!
Yours in health and happiness,
Suzi Le Fanue ND
Book your FREE Introductory consultation with a Naturopath today 5458 4800. Appointments are available in person, by phone or skype.
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.
Written by Suzi Le Fanue
Integrated Wellness Clinic