There are many reasons you can feel down or uncomfortable. Pressures in your daily life can be wearing. Relationships with others, or lack thereof, also provide reasons for stress and sometimes, despair. If you’re “overweight”, you know very well the hostility that lies in the air from so many including shopkeepers, acquaintances, family, doctors, friends, strangers, etc. Their comments and suggestions regarding your body can frequently be insensitive and downright hurtful.
The above scenarios can easily be part of the cause of your hurt feelings, low self-esteem and overall depression. Depressive symptoms by the way aren’t exclusively related to feeling sad. On the contrary, people who are clinically depressed have a wide variety of symptoms. They can include: insomnia, no appetite, fatigue, difficulty with concentration, irritability, low mood, loss of interest in things that were once enjoyable, etc.
Depression can start out slowly and increase quietly. One way to self-medicate depressive symptoms is by eating foods containing carbohydrates – desserts, snacks, junk food and more. Of course, that will help you to feel better momentarily, but, after the binge, you will return to your low state of being and feeling. While it’s very important to seek out your physician’s advice and perhaps consider taking anti-depressants, I’d like to introduce an entirely new concept about what may be greatly influencing your moods.
Did you know that your microbiome out number your human cells 10:1? In fact, there are more than two pounds of bacteria that make their permanent home in your gut.¹ Microbiomes are bacteria that live in the intestine. Some of the bacteria are bad and some good. One of the most important health challenges is to keep a healthy balance of the microbiota in the gut.
Ninety percent of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that makes you feel happy, is created in the gut – if you have a healthy balance of bacteria. Seventy percent of immune cells are also created in the intestines. In short, gut bacteria is linked to everything from metabolism management to mood, immunity to autoimmune disorders, symptoms and disease.² As the father of "Let food by thy medicine", said so long ago, “All disease begins in the gut.” (Hippocrates, 300 BC)
An unhealthy gut will challenge your brain, mind, thoughts and feelings. Negative thoughts and feelings in turn will challenge your digestion and nutrient absorption. There is constant back and forth communication between the gut and brain. Both influence the other continually. If the gut is off balance, the brain will also be off balance. Not surprisingly, depressed people have far less diversity in the gut microbiome than those who are not depressed.³
What we eat plays a super important rule in the health of our gut. Consuming the meat of animals treated with antiibiotics, for example, reduces diversity of the human microbiome.⁴ Eating lots of organic greens high in fiber makes for a far healthier gut. Think broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, jerusalem artichokes, onions, garlic, leeks, chicory and even, not overly ripe bananas. All help the gut to thrive.
If you’d like additional information on this topic and options to handling your mood challenges, then check out “From Food to Mood-The bugs in your gut have hidden ways of helping you master your emotions” by Hara Estroff Marano, Psychology Today, Oct, 2017 pgs. 31-32.
This discussion brings whole new meaning to the concept of mindful eating. Food directly impacts the gut for better or for worse when it comes to the colonization of bacteria. It’s therefore vital to feed your bellies well to create/maintain a healthy microbiota balance. Doing so will make for a much healthier back and forth dialogue between your gut and brain. Consequently, your mood and overall health will have a chance to soar.
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¹ “From Food to Mood-The bugs in your gut have hidden ways of helping you master your emotions” by Hara Estroff Marano, Psychology Today, Oct, 2017 pgs. 31-32.
² Wendy Bost – Health Coach Institute – LinkedIn comment, Aug 16, 2017
³ “From Food to Mood-The bugs in your gut have hidden ways of helping you master your emotions” by Hara Estroff Marano, Psychology Today, Oct, 2017 pgs. 31-32.
⁴ “From Food to Mood-The bugs in your gut have hidden ways of helping you master your emotions” by Hara Estroff Marano, Psychology Today, Oct, 2017 pgs. 31-32.