May is Mental Health awareness month and this year has seen depression rates jump. We've been going deep into our learning on the connection between the gut and mental health. Let's just say, it's REALLY big. Here's just a few key findings:
Gut bacteria are key players in our mood and overall mental health. As more research comes to light, the connection between gut health and depression is undeniable. Here's part of the reason why:
Serotonin and dopamine are our feel-good neurotransmitters. About 15% of our intestinal lining is comprised of enteric endocrine cells, which produce over 90% of our serotonin and over 50% of our dopamine. This means your gut is the major player producing them (not the brain as long-thought). Damage to our gut health and lining is commonly linked to anxiety and depression.
Circling around, stress can alter your gut flora (i.e. throwing off the balance of the essential good bacteria levels needed). Your intestines have a tight barrier that helps protect bad bacteria from entering the body. Prolonged stress can cause your gut intestinal barrier to weaken and allow bad bacteria to get by. Stress can also impact gas production, which is tied to nutrient absorption.
Ways to support your gut health with feel-good food:
- Do your best to stick with whole foods that are minimally processed. Avoid processed sugars, artificial sweeteners, refined carbs, and processed foods.
- Opt for more plant-based foods that include a wide variety of sprouted whole grains, fruit and vegetables, legumes, nut and seeds.
- Balance blood sugars to help balance mood. Eat a combination of fats, carbs and proteins together and meals that are high in complex carbohydrates and fibre. Avoid high sugar snacks that can spike blood sugar levels. Your Blended For You blends are orchestrated with a good macronutrient balance to make it easy.
- Add in fermented foods such as kombucha, cultured vegetables, miso, cultured yogurt, and kefir. Do this slowly as your body gets used to new beneficial bacteria.
We have put together a list of foods that help fight and fuel depression.
Foods to fight depression
- Seeds (flaxseeds and chia seeds)
- Probiotic - tofu, temph, kimchi
- Whole foods
Foods that fuel depression (foods to avoid)
- Sugar - sugary drinks and food
- Refined Grains
If you have any questions or would like some more information about the blends that could help you please email us.