Over the last few years, research has pointed toward low-grade gut inflammation as a significant contributing factor to depression. In fact, ailments such as anxiety, and several paediatric disorders, including autism and hyperactivity, have been linked with gastrointestinal problems. In today’s blog, we explain how small changes to your diet can reduce “bad” bacteria and cultivate good bacteria in your gut.
Eat whole foods
By swapping processed food for whole foods – food that has been processed or refined as little as possible and is free from additives or other artificial substances. Processed foods often introduce unnatural toxins and chemicals into your body which your digestive system struggles to break down.
We’re all familiar with the cliché of sitting down with a bowl of ice cream to perk yourself up when you feel blue, but research has found that this could cause your mood to deteriorate even further. One study suggested that eating a lot of nutrient-sparse processed foods could up your chances of becoming depressed by as much as 60%.
Avoid processed sugar, gluten and dairy
Natural sugars, like those found in fruit, as well as grains and dairy products are good for you. Refined sugars, gluten and processed dairy are not. The alterations made to refined foods promote the development of bad bacteria and drastically reduce nutritional value. Natural yoghurt is a great example of natural dairy and is packed with healthy bacteria and protein.
Don’t be afraid of fats and proteins
As we discussed in a previous article – 5 Foods That Are Known to Ease Anxiety – healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acid, found in abundance in oily fish, is an essential component in the protection of brain neurons. Salmon is a superb fish and is not only loaded with omega-3, but also protein.
The researcher has shown that chicken, turkey, brazil nuts, eggs, avocados and oily fish can all have a positive impact on our mental state. All these foods contain amino acids, vitamins and minerals, which convert into mood-enhancing brain chemicals.
Eat your Vitamin D
Findings of a study conducted in China we released this week found that low levels of vitamin D are associated with an increased risk of cognitive decline in seniors. Furthermore, earlier this month Public Health England advised people in the UK to consider a vitamin D supplement during the autumn and winter months to avoid developing deficiencies, such as the importance of the vitamin.
Sunshine can be difficult to find in the UK, but you can get your daily dose of vitamin D in fortified cereals, bread, juices and milk, which are packed with the essential vitamin.