More and more I’m starting to come across evidence that gut health impacts our overall quality of life, particularly our emotional health.
Anecdotally, from the time I moved back to Canada at the age of 14 to about the age of 40 when I really started to look at my diet differently, I’ve had digestive issues. Gas, bloating and severe constipation was my normal. I didn’t realize there was anything wrong with this because it was always how I felt. It wasn’t until I cut way back on sugars, gluten and most starchy processed carbs that my gut started to settle down.
During this time of gut drama, I also experienced things like exhaustion, the 2pm afternoon slump (that would last until 6), fogginess, lack of concentration/focus and irritability. While I wouldn’t say I suffered with chronic depression or anxiety, I certainly had my interludes with it, and they weren’t my finest moments.
Ironically, at the point where my nutrition became a priority and my gut health improved, so did my headspace, my mental clarity and my outlook on life. I’m not talking about complete personality shifts, but something more subtle. I’m a much calmer, less reactive, less bloated and gassy version of myself.
Growing up, I never looked at health and wellness as a measure of my happiness, but now I see how incredible that connection really is, both in my own life and in scientific literature.
This study talks about the connection between prebiotic supplementation and a reduction in depression and anxiety. It astounds me that mental anguish experienced in ourselves and the people we love, could be improved with better gut health rather than a prescription for lexapro.
I know at least 5 people in my life who rely on anti depressants or anti anxiety meds to get through the day. Several of them accept that they have a chemical imbalance that will require lifelong medical support. While I don’t argue that they are dealing with a chemical imbalance, could it be that those chemicals could be balanced with lifestyle and nutritional adjustments rather than meds?
Certainly I lack the qualifications to answer that with any degree of confidence, but the more I see research that points to nutritional deficiencies as the culprit for mental disorders, the more I’m inclined to question our typical response of medication to respond to it.
About Caren Magill
Caren is a certified fitness trainer, nutrition expert and creator of ProCakes, Comfort Food for the Fit Inspired. She believes that fitness and nutrition is within anyone’s reach especially for women over 35 who are noticing unwanted changes in their health and physiques.
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