Feeding Your Gut: How What We Eat Can Affect Our Mood
Trellis for Tomorrow is busy planting seedlings in the ground, looking forward to the days when we can pluck a bright red radish from the ground or harvest tomatoes and cucumbers to take home for a summer salad. We know that eating these fresh vegetables will not only be delicious, but good for our health. But did you know that eating whole foods can also have a positive effect on your mood?
Living within our gut is a community of bacteria that has co-evolved with humans to have a relationship that is beneficial to both the person and the bacteria. This community is called our gut microbiome. What does this have to do with our mood? Well, turns out that 90% of serotonin receptors are located in our gut. Serotonin is the key hormone that stabilizes our mood and produces feelings of well-being and happiness. When we eat large amounts of processed foods which contain refined sugars, hydrogenated fats, and chemical flavorings and food colors—these can affect our gut health. It can cause inflammation or disease, which in turn reduces the effectiveness of the serotonin receptors in our gut.
A balanced, whole-food focused diet may reduce rates of depression and help to stabilize our mood. Incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables straight from the garden or local farmers market as well as gut healthy fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, and kefir or probiotic rich foods such as unsweetened yogurt will help keep our microbiome healthy, which will in turn help us keep our mind and body happy and healthy.
To learn more, check out this article from Harvard Health Publishing: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/gut-feelings-how-food-affects-your-mood-2018120715548