The deep connections between gut and brain health are frequently overlooked.
It’s a fact that alterations in the gut microbiome can lead to a whole host of symptoms, including changes in mood and brain function. These trillions of bacteria are interconnected with the vast signaling and communications taking place between the gut, brain, immune system and hormones. The microbiome even creates many of the biochemicals the brain uses to process emotion and thought.
When the microbiome is healthy, your mood is lifted and you experience a deep sense of well-being that can never come from a pill. In an unhealthy state, it’s common for anxiety, depression, brain fog, and memory and concentration issues to pop up. For the greatest impact on brain health, look to the microbiome for the answers.
Gut Microbiome Natural Mood Boosters
By taking a few steps to foster a healthy balance of gut bacteria, you reap the benefits in untold ways. Not only does mood and brain function improve, the immune system strengthens and regulates, digestion and intestinal function normalizes, inflammation resolves, and detoxification pathways are opened up.
The microbiome even creates important substances like vitamins, natural antibiotics and short chain fatty acids essential for gut and brain health.
Here are my top tips for promoting a healthy bacterial balance.
Include plenty of:
- Fermented and living probiotic foods like kimchi, yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut.
- Prebiotic foods including asparagus, carrots, garlic, onion, Jerusalem artichoke, jicama, leeks, radish and tomato.
- Clean filtered water, at least eight glasses per day.
- Organic plants with wild, antibiotic-free proteins on the side.
- Turmeric, which is anti-inflammatory, and ginger to stimulate digestion.
I also recommend these additional supports:
- Probiotics. Look for a good quality broad-spectrum product that includes several strains of both Lactobacillus and Bifidobacter.
- Prebiotic supplements can help the beneficial bacteria already living in the intestine grow and multiply. Look for supplements including arabinogalactan, inulin, FOS and GOS.
- Digestive aids like HCL, which is crucial for digestion; enzymes containing DPPIV, amylase, lipase and protease, which help to break down other types of foods; and apple cider vinegar, which sparks digestion and has the added bonus of being antimicrobial.
- Take a SCFA called butyrate. It’s good for the brain and good for the bacteria.
- 1820 Clary Sage Omega-3 oil.
- Get a good night’s sleep.
- Take a breath. Studies show stress has a negative impact on intestinal health so do your best to remove stressors and take time to go for a walk, help someone out, read, do yoga, meditate or just breathe. When it comes to mealtime, avoid working or watching TV while eating. Instead, listen to your favorite music and dine with your favorite people.
Do your best to limit or avoid these:
- Processed sugar, HFCS and artificial sweeteners.
- Fast food.
- Overuse of medications like PPIs and antibiotics.
- Foods that contain words you can’t pronounce, additives, coloring and preservatives.
- Excessive and conventionally grown meat.
- Unhealthy fats including trans fats and hydrogenated fats.
- Inflammatory foods including gluten, dairy, eggs, soy and even grains should be removed for three weeks to give the intestine a break. After that, try adding one back in at a time and notice if anything sparks a negative reaction, either in your mood or in your body. Certain foods like gluten may need to remain off the list.