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Mental Health and Your Microbiome

August is mental health month, and research is discovering that it isn’t just our brain on our shoulders that determines our mood, but our microbiome-gut health that primarily impacts our mental wellbeing. There has been an increasing number of studies in the last decade that are finding our microbes play a dominant role, dubbing the gut “the second brain.”  There is a greater realization of the wisdom, “Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine, your food.” for it may be best to deal with our second brain with good nutrition to have a better mental state than it is to rely on drugs to manipulate the brain.

We have more microbiota in our gut than we have cells in our body, and they want to be fed. We have good microbes that support the immune system and help us feel good (send good hormonal messages) that have us on the road of good health, and we have bad microbes that cause stress, depression, anxiety, and disease. We make a difference of which kind of microbe is in control by what we eat. For example, if one eats high sugar or junk foods (sodas, desserts, fried foods, fake foods), the microbiota that thrive on that will multiply and drive cravings for more. Other things can help the “bad” microbes take over, such as antibiotics which upsets the microbiome.

What can you do to take care of your microbiome?

  • Eat a plant-based diet. It is high in fiber bringing nutrients to the colon. We need 9-13 cups of fruits and vegetables of all colors every day, 30 different plants a week to meet our body’s nutritional needs. Organic is best. Make a goal that half your plant is raw fruits and veggies for every meal. If you are like most and find eating that many servings, and that many different plants is difficult, try science backed dehydrated plant powders in capsules.
  • Limit sugar intake, avoid junk/processed foods, added chemicals, including caffeine.
  • Eat prebiotic rich foods such as: dandelion greens, Jerusalem artichoke, garlic, onion, leeks, asparagus, bananas, whole oats, apples, cocoa, flaxseed to name a few. Chew your food well to help your gut break down the food.
  • Eat fermented foods everyday such as raw sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchee.
  • Take a good probiotic
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Get enough quality sleep. We do a great deal of repair and rejuvenation only while we are in deep sleep.

The saying, “you are what you eat” is really true!  Fuel the good guys! Remember there is power in what is at the end of your fork. Choose wisely, and have a happy, healthy day!

 

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.  1 Corinthians 10:31

 

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