If you've ever dealt with mental health issues, you've probably heard a lot of suggestions about the importance of eating more vegetables. Although mental health is a complex subject influenced by multiple factors, this seemingly simple recommendation has a solid scientific basis.
An imbalance in the gut microbiome, known as dysbiosis, can negatively affect your mental health. Additionally, inflammation caused by stress and anxiety can also disrupt this delicate ecosystem. Since changes in one can affect the other, the connection between gut health and mental health exemplifies how our biological systems are interconnected.
Our gut bacteria have a huge impact on how we feel, think, and experience life. These bacterial communities that reside in our bodies are shaped by our diet and the way we spend our time.
1-. Start each day with a prebiotic breakfast
Most people are fine with eating fermented foods or taking a probiotic to promote good gut health, but without a diet rich in prebiotics, this approach won't help you experience better mental well-being.
To make vitamins, absorb nutrients, regulate hormones, and stay mentally fit, our probiotics (or good bacteria) need to eat non-digestible carbohydrates known as prebiotic fiber. Starting the day with a prebiotic breakfast is a great gut health hack for better mental well-being.
Try Chocolate Protein Oatmeal with Sliced Banana, Ground Flaxseed, and Ganbatte Boost for a quick, easy, and delicious option. You can also add herbs and spices to your morning smoothies. Dandelion, licorice root, and ginger are great for gut health!
2-. Vitamin D supplement
Vitamin D is one of the most critical nutrients for regulating the microbiome and reducing inflammation in the digestive tract. Given the connection between the brain and the gut, it's not surprising that vitamin D deficiency is also associated with poor mental health.
3-. Nuts and seeds snack
Delicious nuts and seeds like hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, and walnuts are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fats:
- Helps your brain and nervous system to function normally.
- Helps reduce cholesterol levels
- Increase memory and cognitive function
- Reduce sugar cravings, and
- Reduces inflammation that can harm your gut health.
There are other sources of omega-3s to consider, but eating nuts and seeds is a very easy trick to improve mental health.
4-. Prioritize lean protein
Unlike fats and carbohydrates, protein also contains nitrogen, which limits the growth of harmful bacteria. Consuming enough protein also helps keep your energy levels high while curbing cravings for sugary and processed foods that trigger dysbiosis and poor mental health.
5-. Try new fruits and vegetables each week.
It's easy to fall into a rut of eating the same foods week after week, especially when our mental health isn't as good as it could be. However, research reveals that eating a wide variety of different plant foods is the key to maintaining balance in the gut microbiota.
The lack of diversity leaves more opportunities for populations of harmful bacteria to grow and cause inflammation. A diverse microbiome can prevent the inflammation that contributes to and results from poor mental health. Try new fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes each week, and add as much variety as you can to each meal!
6-. Spend time in nature
Exposure to diverse microbial environments in the outside world is another easy way to increase diversity in the microbiome. Spending time in nature exposes you to a wider variety of bacteria that can enter your body and support your well-being.
However, the benefits of spending time outdoors don't end there; if you're outdoors, you're probably moving too. In addition to the many benefits of exercise, moving your body also increases the beneficial bacteria in your GI tract by up to 40%!
Spending time in nature is also one of the best ways to manage stress, which is one of the top priorities for a balanced microbiome and healthy mind.
7-. Longer breaks between meals
Eating triggers a healthy immune response known as postprandial inflammation. However, if you eat all the time, this inflammatory state is unnecessarily prolonged. Constant snacking 24 hours a day doesn't allow your gut to go through the necessary cycles to repair itself, no matter how healthy the food is.
There are many different pieces to the mental wellness puzzle, but since there is a direct link between the brain and the gut, a healthy microbiome is one of the most important pieces. If you need a little extra help restoring your gut to good health, try Ganbatte Boost.