Having a healthy gut contributes to a healthy mind
We have all had ‘butterflies’ or ‘the jitters’ in the stomach, when nervous or anxious. Have you ever said “I can’t stomach that’ to hearing or seeing something disagreeable. Or when very upset, you cannot eat, you feel like you will throw up if you did?
Well there has been a lot of research done on the relationship between the brain and the gut. The gut is considered to be a single digestive organ which includes the esophagus, stomach and intestines; it has a brain called the ‘gut brain’ (enteric nervous system) that allows it to operate independently from the brain. Neurons in the gut produce neurotransmitters also found in the brain, such as serotonin, about 95% of the serotonin in the body is made in the gut, not in the brain.
This information has consequences for us all regarding our
mental health. Depression is affected by serotonin, when we do not produce enough it can affect our moods. This is especially true of women who are on a high protein low carb diet. Complex carbohydrates are involved in the making of serotonin, the ‘happy’ hormone, if you are on not eating enough carbohydrates you can have low levels of serotonin this could leave you open to depression.
Can you begin to understand how diet can modify your personality and your behavior, there are many hormones and neurotransmitters that are generated in this gut brain; thus it is very important not only to eat healthily but to keep your gut healthy.
One way is to increase your intestinal bacteria; many of us eat yogurt thinking this will alleviate this problem. Not so, especially if you are on any form of drug: drugs kill the good bacteria in the millions, therefore we need to put millions back into our gut. Anything which upsets the beneficial bacteria upsets us; it may affect our moods and lead to depression and anxiety.
Many who have a mental health illness often report that they have stomach problems, so is it the gut causing the mental health problem? What you think is going on in your head may be caused in part by what’s happening in your gut.
Also very important is to keep it clean! If you eat white flour products you are clogging up your gut. When I was little we used to make a glue to stick pictures into our books using white flour and water. You are gluing up your gut, you are coating it with a paste which clogs it up and does not allow the nutrition to get to the gut brain. It is important to do regular cleansing of your intestines and especially get off the white flour and white sugar (another deadly poison).
Beverley F. Searle
B. Soc. Sc. (honors) Masters P.H.C