How the Gut-Brain Link Impacts Mental Health
It has been found that a healthy gut has an impact on many functions within the body, and researchers have discovered that gut health affects mental health. This information has provided new avenues for mental health treatments which can create lasting results, especially when combined with a full non-12 step, holistic approach.
The Connection Between the Gut and the Brain
The intestinal tract contains trillions of microbes that are known collectively as the “microbiome” within your body. These microbes function to help with digestion and immune function, and they also send signals to the brain.
In fact, most of the neurotransmitters in the brain are manufactured in the gut. So, if the gut isn’t balanced and functioning correctly, then it can have a negative impact on neurotransmitter functions. Researchers are still trying to determine the exact reasons that gut changes can impact brain functions, but one strong hypothesis is that a healthy gut supports the production of serotonin, which is a chemical created within the body that works as a neurotransmitter.
It has been found that a deficit in serotonin can lead to depression, and boosting serotonin levels can be an effective way to reduce the symptoms of depression and other mental diseases.
Dietary Changes to Create a Healthy Gut
The food choices that you make each day play a role in your gut health, and if you are working to overcome or prevent mental illness then it is important to take a proactive approach with your dietary choices. Our holistic addiction recovery/treatment program focuses on nutrition, as well as a variety of other natural remedies.
In addition to getting the nutrition of calories, vitamins and minerals from the foods that you are eating, it is also a good idea to eat foods that support a healthy gut. Stay away from ingredients that will disrupt the delicate balance of healthy microbes in your digestive tract, and make sure to include healthy ingredients that promote the right microbe balance.
For example, some of the foods that should be avoided include things such as:
- Junk food
- Artificial sweeteners
- Refined carbohydrates
- Processed foods
- Wheat and gluten
- Industrial seed oils
- Any other source of food toxins or unnatural ingredients
It is also important to stay away from modern lifestyle factors that might have a negative impact on gut health. Avoid things such as NSAIDs, antibiotics, birth control, and chronic stress.
Here is a list of foods that should be included in your diet, to promote a healthy gut:
- High fiber foods, including a variety of fruits and vegetables
- Leafy greens
- Citrus fruit
- Unsweetened, organic yogurt
- Fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kim chi, kefir, and miso
In addition to eating a healthy diet, you might also consider a daily probiotic supplement, which helps to re-populate healthy bacteria to improve the microbe balance in your digestive tract. Look for high quality probiotics that include bifidobacteria and lactobacilli.
It is important that you are consistent with these dietary changes, because a few poor choices can undo the healing that has occurred in your digestive tract. Once you start feeling better, you should continue following these good dietary patterns in order to maintain improved mental health and avoid slipping back into old patterns once again.
As you make these dietary changes, notice how they have a direct impact on your mental health. By boosting the serotonin production and combining this healthy diet with other holistic remedies, it is amazing to see how quickly you can overcome mental health problems.
Are you ready to overcome addiction and other mental health problems? We invite you to contact us today. The Sanctuary is a program designed to help you heal your body, mind, spirit, and soul in a natural, holistic way. We offer a non-12 step addiction recovery program, and our professional team has extensive experience working with a variety of addictions.