Many of us are aware that eating unhealthy foods can cause weight gain and stomach aches, but did you know that our happiness is directly related to the health of our guts?
In recent years, western medical practitioners have begun to admit a direct correlation between the quality of our gut flora and the way we feel.
This may at first sound like a bummer because it does mean a lot of what is consumed in the typical American diet is most likely leading to unhappiness, poor health, and depression.
The exciting side of this news is that it allows us to regain control of our health. Instead of depending on medications, which most likely we aren’t sure what exactly they are or what side effects they may be causing, we can often naturally heal ourselves through the foods that we eat and the lifestyle choices we make.
According to Microbiologist Kiran Krishnan, “80 percent of your mental state, well-being, and happiness is controlled by how happy your gut is.”
You know Serotonin? It is that chemical that our body produces and sends out which is responsible for our moods and feelings of happiness. As stated above, according to research, over 80 percent of this mood-boosting hormone is produced in the gut.
So, what happens if our gut isn’t in a healthy state? If you guessed that we aren’t receiving as much Serotonin as we should, then you are right! While that ice cream cone may bring momentary joy (and no, we aren’t saying you should never eat it!), it may also end up wrecking havoc on the gut which in turn results in receiving less of what we need to experience feelings of positivity and joy.
Additionally, there is research that shows that the gut is largely responsible for the regulation of the immune system. If the gut isn’t able to function properly and it is regulating our immune system, we can assume that our entire immunity is at risk.
In other words, gut health is a pretty big deal. Let us look at some ways to nurture a healthy gut:
Krishnan says that eating a diverse set of foods high in fiber is one of the keys to gut health.
He recommends that we eat multiple foods that are fiber-rich instead of a large portion of one fiber-rich food. His example is eating a small portion of sweet potato, carrot, celery and mango together, instead of eating one large sweet potato.
Chia seeds, flaxseed, avocados, oats, and cauliflower are a few additional plant-based foods that are high in fiber.
Antibiotics wipe out the healthy bacteria that we need in our gut for it to function well. It takes weeks, possibly even months, to repair the damage done to the gut and to restore the balance of the flora once it has been obliterated in this manner.
While Antibiotics can be useful and even necessary at times, being aware of how often we take them for ailments, such as common colds, which could be treated naturally, may greatly benefit our long term happiness.
Fermented foods are a great way to improve our digestion and gut health because they are a probiotic which helps restore the necessary bacteria in your gut.
A few of these fermented foods are sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, pickles, and kefir.
Eating for overall gut health allows us to face stress and anxiety with a clearer perspective, and often reduces the overall amount of mental distresses we experience.
With a healthy gut, we are able to feel happier, have increased energy, and live more empowered lives with less overwhelm.
*Though this information may be helpful in treating gut issues, it is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with your qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.