If you’ve ever experienced poor mental health, you’ve probably heard all the suggestions about going outside and eating more vegetables. While there are many factors at play when it comes to mental health, there is some solid scientific weight to this seemingly simplistic advice.
hile an imbalanced gut microbiome, or dysbiosis, can lead to poor mental health, the inflammation caused by stress and anxiety can also throw this delicate ecosystem out of balance. As changes in one can affect the other, the link between gut health and mental health is a prime example of the interconnected nature of our biological systems.
The way we feel, think, and experience life is at the mercy of our gut bacteria, and these bacterial populations living inside our bodies are shaped by what we eat and how we spend our time.
Here are 7 easy gut health hacks for better mental wellness.
Start each day with a prebiotic breakfast
Most people are familiar with eating fermented foods or taking a probiotic to promote good gut health, but without a diet rich in prebiotics, this approach won’t help you experience better mental wellness.
To make vitamins, absorb nutrients, regulate hormones, and keep us mentally well, our probiotics (or good bacteria) need to eat indigestible carbohydrates known as prebiotic fibre. Starting the day with a prebiotic breakfast is a great gut health hack for better mental wellness.
Try chocolate protein oats with sliced banana, chopped apple, and ground flaxseed for a quick, easy, and delicious option. You could also add herbs and spices to your morning smoothies. Dandelion, liquorice root, and ginger are great for gut health!
Vitamin D deficiency is also associated with poor mental health
Supplement with Vitamin D
Vitamin D is one of the most critical nutrients for regulating your microbiome and reducing inflammation in the digestive tract. Given the connection between the brain and the gut, it’s no surprise that vitamin D deficiency is also associated with poor mental health.
Not only does each serving of Tropeaka Superfood Greens + D contain 50% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin D, but it’s also a great source of gut-loving fibre. This incredible whole-food supplement also contains many other vitamins and minerals, including iron and vitamin C.
Iron reduces fatigue and improves mental clarity, while vitamin C is essential for normal neurological function. Along with good gut health and sufficient vitamin D, iron and vitamin C are essential for mental wellness.
Snack on nuts and seeds
Delicious nuts and seeds such as hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, and walnuts are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fats:
- Help your brain and nervous system function normally
- Help lower cholesterol
- Increase memory and cognitive function
- Reduce sugar cravings, and
- Reduce the inflammation that can harm your gut health.
There are other sources of omega-3’s to keep in mind, but snacking on nuts and seeds is such an easy gut health hack to improve your mental health.
Keep Lean Protein on hand
In addition to being another plant-based source of omega-3’s, Tropeaka Lean Protein is formulated with digestive enzymes to prevent bloating and support your gut health. This organic, plant-based blend also contains the essential amino acids needed to produce mood-enhancing neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin.
Unlike fats and carbohydrates, proteins also contain nitrogen, which limits the growth of harmful bacteria. Consuming enough protein also helps you move your body more by keeping your energy levels up while curbing your cravings for the sugary, processed foods that trigger dysbiosis and poor mental health.
Eating a wide variety of different plant foods is the key to maintaining balance in your gut microbiome
Try new fruits and vegetables each week
It's easy to fall into a routine of eating the same few foods week after week, especially when our mental health isn't as good as it could be. However, research reveals that eating a wide variety of different plant foods is the key to maintaining balance in your gut microbiome.
Spend time in nature
Exposure to diverse microbial environments in the outside world is another easy way to increase diversity in your microbiome. Spending time in nature exposes you to a wider variety of bacteria that can make their way into your body and support your wellbeing.
The benefits of spending time outside don't end there, though; if you're outdoors, you're probably moving around too. On top of the many benefits of exercise, moving your body also increases beneficial bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract by up to 40%!
Spending time in nature is also one of the best forms of stress management, which is one of the most important priorities for a balanced microbiome and a healthy mind.
Take longer breaks between meals
Eating triggers a healthy immune response known as postprandial inflammation. However, if you eat all the time, this inflammatory state is prolonged unnecessarily. Constant, round-the-clock snacking doesn't allow your gut to go through the necessary cycles for repair, no matter how healthy the food is.
When you’re not digesting food, a bacteria species called akkermansia refreshes the lining of your gut so that food can't permeate the gut wall and cause inflammation throughout your body. Having your meals within a smaller time frame of 6-8 hours, a practice known as intermittent fasting, allows more time for system repairs.
There are many different pieces to the mental wellness puzzle, but since there is a direct link between the brain and the gut, a healthy microbiome is one of the biggest pieces. If you need a little extra help to restore your gut to good health, try Sarah’s Day Body Bloom for the tastiest blend of prebiotics and probiotics.