We all know about the brain and its complexities, but is this the only organ to blame for mental health concerns? I’ve been studying medicine for awhile, but only recently did I become interested in the “second brain.” This is the enteric nervous system (ENS) – the nerve cells lining the entire gastrointestinal tract. Many people are aware of the link between the gut and mental health, but it’s being studied constantly. New research suggests that irritation in the GI tract can signal the central nervous system (CNS) to trigger mood changes – YIKES!
To me, this means that soothing the gut may help to soothe the mind. I’ve always heard the phrase “eat good, feel good.” Now, I realize just how important my dietary choices may be for my mental health. I try to eat fruits, vegetables, and foods with probiotics to keep my gut calm. One specific probiotic, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, may influence the neurotransmitter GABA. GABA can help calm anxiety and depression. Most of the yogurt I buy contains this bacteria, so it’s easy to find! I don’t necessarily recognize a significant mood change when I eat probiotics, but the science behind them is pretty cool.
Remember: eating probiotics won’t cure anxiety and depression, and eating french fries won’t ruin your day. However, I highly recommend researching this topic if you’re interested. A quick Google or PubMed search can provide free articles with the latest information on this subject.
If you’re interested in this topic, be sure to stay current with the information out there. Health recommendations are constantly changing based on new research!
Do certain foods help your mood? What are your favorite foods?