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The Connection Between Gut Health and Mental Health: Exploring the Link Through Diet

Researchers have found out after a lot of research that there is a strong link between gut health and mental health that is related by the bridge of food and diet. The process of digestion is dependent upon a number of microorganisms that reside inside our stomach for example the conversion of pepsinogen into pepsin or conversion of renin etc. Our flora is extremely rich and abundant serving as a home of tremendous amounts of microbes. Many recent studies have found that the health and wealth of our stomach microbiome can affect our behavior, mood, mental health and cognitive functions. Biologically our brain and stomach are connected via the gut-brain axis that is an extremely complex network of communication that is present between gut and brain. This connection is a combination of the immune system, endocrine system and nervous system. The main nerve that plays a vital role in this connection is the vagus nerve, this nerve connects our gut and our brain and can cause communication between gut and stomach influencing our stress, mood and other functions related to cognition. Food is the most important component that can influence our microbiome of the gut as a balanced diet can solve many issues related to health.

Gut Brain

Disruption of the Balance of Gut Bacteria

A diet that is not appropriate and causes the destruction and imbalance in the amount of gut bacteria are highly processed foods, fats that are extremely unhealthy commonly called trans fat and large amounts of sugar. These all are very unhealthy and can imbalance the microbiome of our guts. These products can lead to a decline of good bacteria in the gut and overgrowth of bad bacteria which automatically kill the good areas of the microbiome. This whole thing ultimately affects the health of an individual to a level where all of the organs of the body suffer stress conditions. The foods that are processed for example fast foods, snacks that are packaged, drinks that are loaded with sugar content are full of fats that are extremely unhealthy for body and brain and they are low in fibre content, therefore, causing serious health problems. Whenever a person consumes a diet based on processed foods and sugary drinks, his good bacterial count of the gut declines and bad ones incline. The reason is that these kinds of foods lack basic beneficial nutrients and carbohydrates that keep a good balance of gut bacteria and keep the microbiome in good balance, thus maintaining good gut health. So it is better to eat food rich in fibre, nutrients and healthy carbohydrates so that the overall condition of health can be improved and maintained. A diet that is high in trans fats and sugary content can cause severe inflammation in the stomach and can affect the mental and emotional health of a person because gut and brain are linked, further can cause anxiety and depression like conditions that are extremely damaging for overall health. A hormone that regulates and controls our mood is serotonin and when inflammation occurs, changes in the activity of this neurotransmitter of hormone occurs that affects the mood of a person. A case study was conducted on gut bacteria and its impact on health.

Disruption of the Balance of Gut Bacteria

Fibre – a Key Element that Nourishes Good Bacteria

Fibre enriches the good bacteria in our gut as it acts as a nutrition for them, that aids them to survive and for the maintenance of a healthy and good balance of microbes in the digestive system of the body and targets good gut health. When a person consumes foods and diet that is packed in fibre like vegetables, fruits and grains etc. Our body is unable to digest them at once or all of them so it crosses the tract and finally makes its way to the large intestine and acts as food for good and beneficial bacteria residing there. Those good bacteria take this fibre and consume it as a source of energy to produce short chain fatty acids that usually provide energy to cells of the intestine and cause a lot of benefits to our health. In order to maintain a good bacterial balance and health one should take a good and reasonable amount of fibre in diet so that everything remains in balance throughout the body and maintains good gut health and mental health.

Regular Exercise, Stress Reduction, and Adequate Sleep Promote Both Gut Health and Mental Well-being:

Regular exercise causes the blood flow to increase in our digestive system that causes a good digestion and absorption of the nutrients. On the other hand exercising regularly can increase the blood supply to the whole body including the gut and can stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria that ultimately improve the gut health. Regularly doing exercise can reduce the stress and anxiety of a person and can provide a stress free body and brain. This overall can affect the mental health of a person. Stress is another most common cause of an upset stomach and of course stressed mind. Stress reduction exercises like meditation and deep breathing can help reduce the stress hormones in the body and this can improve gut condition and eventually a mental health condition. When stress is alleviated then reduction in stress and anxiety conditions occur and help a person to think positively and freely.

How Does Meditation Improve Gut Health

Meditation is an excellent practice that can improve a whole lot of conditions of the human body. Stress basically produces free radicals in our bodies that lead to many disease conditions like cancer, inflammation and digestive problems like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBD), these both are very common gut conditions. Meditation helps a lot with stress and anxiety therefore protects the gut from such conditions and also affects mental wellbeing. On the other hand, meditation can help in balancing the gut microbiome that is essentially important for good gut health and mental health. Furthermore, meditation could boost the immune system by reduction in inflammation and more functioning of immune cells. Because of the fact that meditation helps in the reduction of stress, It automatically improves digestion and appetite. A stress free mind is capable of choosing right choices of food for their physical and mental wellbeing.

Improve Gut Health

Why Maintenance of Gut Health Is So Crucial

Gut health is directly related to the overall health of the human body. The stomach is responsible for the digestion and absorption of nutrients that are obtained by food components. Furthermore, the gut converts the complex food substances into simpler ones by metabolizing food particles into simpler ones. A healthy gut causes the immune system to work at the best of its ability. Another important parameter of a healthy gut is that it regulates the hormonal balance of the body via various routes that directly or indirectly regulates the metabolism, stress and mental wellbeing of a human being.

In order to maintain a stable mental condition it is crucial to take care of gut health because of the above mentioned reasons, a person can improve his health condition just by paying attention to his body and its needs.

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