Welcome to this week’s dose of mental sunshine, which is all about gut health.
You might be wondering what your gut has to do with your mood – but did you know that 95% of the serotonin in your body is produced by your gut?
Serotonin is a key mood stabilising hormone; we need it to feel good. And if 95% of ours is made in our gut, we need to make sure we’re doing all we can to help that production!
Fun fact: there are actually more bacteria cells than human cells in your body – and the majority of these are in your gut.
More and more research is being done on these little critters and what they do (or don’t do) for us.
Put simply: too much “bad” bacteria, and you’ll feel sad and lethargic and probably quite unwell – they can even make you put on weight.
It’s not simply a case of somehow getting rid of the bad guys though; what we need to do is increase the good guys, who will then crowd out the less desirable bugs.
You can improve your gut health by eating a diverse range of different healthy foods – so different types of fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes.
But cut back on sugar which will feed the wrong type of bacteria.
Fermented foods are really good for your gut health – things like sauerkraut, kimchi and miso are great, but live yoghurt is just as good if you don’t like those.
Another great tip is to eat lots of prebiotic food.
These are fibrous foods that your human cells can’t digest, so they make their way into your large intestine to feed the good bugs there.
Prebiotic foods include onions, leeks, kidney beans and bananas that are more on the green side (as they become more yellow, the starch turns to sugar).
Taking care of your gut can really improve your mood and overall well being, giving you more energy to do other things that can make you feel good like socialising and exercising.
Give it a try and see how you get on!