“If you are feeling depressed, anxious or just plain flunky, it’s likely your gut that’s behaving badly” (The Psychobiotic Revolution). A better balanced gut can improve anyone’s mood and the good news is that you can change the composition of your gut overnight just by eating different foods. You are a unique ecosystem so you might have to experiment to see what works best for you.
Psychobiotics are types of probiotics that help our microbiome to produce neurotransmitters like GABA + Serotonin + Dopamine in the gut that are used in our brains + help to balance our mood. 90% of our tryptophan (crucial for making serotonin our ‘feel happy’ brain chemical)is made in the gut by particular bacteria.
Vitamin B12, vital for normal psychological functioning, can only be synthesised by certain bacteria in our gut. If they are not present we cannot make B vitamins.
Changing the foods you eat + including psychobiotic supplements in your daily routine are the 2 essential steps that you can take today towards better gut health and better mood.
Most of the strains of probiotics that help our mood are Bifidobacterium (Bifido or B. on lables) or Lactobacillus (Lactus or L. on labels). This is a new field + research is continuing but these types have been well researched + found to be effective:
- Longum, Infantis, Breve, Animalis, Bifidum
- Acidophilus, Bulgaricus, Helveticus, Rhamnosus, Reuteri, Plantarum, Casei Saccharomyces Boulardii
Have a look for a supplement with these in to boost your gut flora.
What foods to eat to improve gut health?
To balance your mood with foods rich in probiotics and prebiotics try adding these:
1 Chicory, endive, lentils, asparagus, beans, garlic, onions, leeks, bananas, beets, broccoli)
2 All fermented foods
3 Whole fat live yogurt
Lifestyle changes to improve gut health
Here are 10 other life changes that can reduce gut damage + boost your gut health significantly:
1 Eat more fibre (fresh vegetables, whole fruit, whole grains)
2 Reduce junk + processed food
3 Reduce sugar (high quality maple syrup + honey contain prebiotics)
4 Increase Omega 3 intake (nuts, seeds, olives, oily fish)
5 Drink less alcohol
6 Increase antioxidant foods (berries, turmeric, green tea)
7 Avoid emulsifiers (look on food labels for CMC + P80)
8 Increase exercise
9 Lose weight
10 Intermittent fasting
Making loads of changes all at once to your food habits can feel overwhelming so I truly recommend taking one change at a time - start with the one that you will find easiest to sustain, that you will be able to do forever, before adding another. If you start with making sure you shop for the ingredients so that when you open your fridge or larder cupboard you have everything there that is good for your gut, choices become simple. Add a good supplement + you are on your way to transforming your health.