How Gut Health Affects Mental Health
The global conversation around mental health
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), around 450 million people worldwide currently suffer from mental health disorders. In their lifetimes, 1 in 7 Australians will experience depression, and 1 quarter of the country’s population will experience anxiety.
Mental health disorders have become a global conversation, and there is a lot of research being done to identify the cause. Studies are beginning to show the significant connection between gut health and mental health, and how the two are intertwined.
The gut-brain connection
Also known as the gut-brain axis, the connection between the gut and the brain is a strong one. There is a bidirectional link between the two, which means that communication goes both ways – the gut can send and receive messages to and from the brain, and vice versa.
Interestingly, we can often feel emotion in our gut. Whenever you experience “butterflies”, or the feeling of being “sick to your stomach”, your brain and your gut are actually communicating with one another.
The gut microbiome refers to the community of bacteria in your intestines. When these bacteria are healthy and balanced, they work in harmony with the rest of your body.
However, when your gut microbiome is unbalanced, it has the power to negatively influence your brain – and thus, your mental health.
Food and mood go hand-in-hand
Research is making it clear that the food you consume can directly affect your mood. Foods that are high in sugar can give you a quick high followed by a crash, and carb-heavy, processed foods can put you to sleep.
It is no surprise, then, that certain foods can either boost or lower your mood.
Signs that your gut health could be affecting your mental health
Gas and bloating
If you are experiencing gas and bloating after a meal, it could be because your gut microbiome has become unbalanced and the bad bacteria within it has taken over.
This unbalance can be caused or worsened by excessive alcohol consumption, medication, antibiotics, external stress or a poor diet.
People who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) are likely to have associated mood disorders and anxiety. With a whole-food, plant-based diet, you can replenish the good bacteria in your gut, rebalance your microbiome and ease any IBS symptoms you may be experiencing.
Food intolerances or allergies
Allergies or intolerances to food can cause your stomach much discomfort, and can often lead to other afflictions like brain fog and fatigue.
While you might not be aware of any intolerances, it is important to determine whether certain food types may be harming your gut. By removing any foods from your diet that cause your body distress, you can boost your gut health and improve your mental health as a result.
When Candida albicans (a naturally-occurring yeast found within our bodies) overruns the gut, fatigue is just one of the many ways it can affect you – and your mental health. Because Candida albicans live off sugar, they cause intense sugar cravings.
These cravings, when succumbed to, will cause an initial spike in energy, followed by a crash that will only leave you craving more sugar for another energy boost. Poor quality sleep can also be a factor, as studies have shown that the gut microbiome can affect sleep regulation.
To help fight fatigue and give yourself an uninterrupted night’s sleep, ensure that your diet contains all of the necessary nutrients to keep you feeling energised and healthy – both mentally and physically.
Your gut health may be affecting your mental health
The food you eat has the power to take over your gut microbiome, which can bend your brain and your body to its unbalanced will. Our Prebiotic Blend feeds the good bacteria in your gut, strengthening your microbiome and improving your overall health and wellbeing.
By opting for a whole-food, plant-based diet, you can take one step further to restoring a healthy balance to your gut microbiome and improving your mental wellbeing along the way.