In a previous post, I had mentioned recent studies linking our gut microbiome to our emotional and mental health. Our intestinal health has been so linked to our mental health it is becoming known as the second brain. Did you know, we make more neurotransmitters in our gut than in our brain? I did not until a training I attended with Dr. Leslie Korn in nutrition and integrative medicine for mental health.
As always, the information given here is not attempting to substitute for medical advice. Please consult your physician before stopping or starting any new wellness activities including but not limited to: prescription and over the counter medication, herbs, supplements, diet and exercise. Generally, try to avoid using the internet as a diagnostic tool. As a therapist specializing in anxiety, take my word for it when I say it causes more panic than it's worth.
Here are some ways you can improve your mental health by giving your guts some TLC:
Probiotics can be taken as a supplement, or incorporated into your diet with foods like: yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi, miso, kombucha, pickles and even some cheeses.
Herbs like Ginger, Chamomile, Peppermint, Turmeric, and Fennel can help ease inflammation, soothe digestive irritability, reduce cramping and assist our bodies in moving out of fight-flight-freeze mode. Many people who experience anxiety first notice physical ailments before realizing the mental, emotional and physical tension present. Digestive troubles, headaches, neck/back pain, sexual dysfunction, can all be signs your body has been living in survival mode for too long. This is because stress has an oxidative effect on our bodies. We’re worrying ourselves rusty like the tin man. If this sounds like you, first, click here to schedule an appointment.
Next, work on reducing inflammation with healing herbs and tons of prebiotics like garlic, onion, leafy greens, bananas, oats, cocoa powder, flax, jicama, seaweed, and asparagus. Some of those also pack a one two punch with their fiber content. Fiber is crucial for anyone trying to improve their health. As Dr. Korn puts it, “mental health is impossible without adequate digestion.” This is because fiber is the scrub brush that cleans out the walls of our digestive tract, preparing to soak up all of our avocado toasts.