Spring is now in full swing, the days are longer and the sun is brighter, but are you finding that your mood does not match this sunny season?
In colder months it is natural to crave and eat calorie dense foods that are high in sugar and refined carbohydrates. We refer to them as ‘feel good foods’ and they can be comforting on a cold, dark eve. This is because some of these foods contain opioid like compounds that trigger a short-term chemical response in the body and make us feel good. These compounds bind to receptors in our brain and the feel good mechanisms make us crave more of these foods. This explains why we can experience food cravings.
The desire for these foods and an increased intake can result in an imbalance of our gut microflora and an overgrowth of unhealthy gut bacteria. That is because the food source of this bad bacteria is in fact high sugar and yeast. This imbalance leads to poor gut function and since almost 70 per cent of our immune system relies on our gut, an imbalance can be linked to disorders such as depression, chronic fatigue and anxiety.
The relationship between the gut and the brain is not a new concept, eastern medicine is grounded in these philosophies and some practices have even suggested that the gut is regarded more highly than the brain. Modern medicine now confirms this connection and we know that approximately 95 per cent of the body’s feel good chemical, serotonin is found in the gut.
Therefore, if the gut is in a state of disarray our moods may be too.
It is no wonder that while processed foods release feel good chemicals in our brain, the effect is only short lived.
So, is it as simple as eat well to feel well?
While improving our gut microflora will lead to improved overall health it is important to note that some mood disorders can not be resolved with food alone. Increasing the healthy gut bacteria may allow for improved immune function, increased energy, decreased brain fog and enhanced serotonin uptake.
What can we do to improve our gut and get that spring back in our step?
One way is to increase fibre intake as fibre is needed to assist in the colonisation of healthy gut flora. Increasing your fibre through prebiotics, fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables will assist in the recolonisation of good bacteria and lead to a happier gut microbiome. Vita-sol Purity powder is packed with prebiotics and ingredients your gut will love.
Not succumbing to your cravings and temporarily eliminating the food source of the bad bacteria will also help to take back control of your gut health. This may mean that initially you may need to fight the cravings but with time as your gut re-balances the cravings will in fact cease.
While you may find it initially challenging you don’t need to deprive yourself. There are many recipes that allow you to substitute ingredients for those that will better feed your gut. Make some Infinity bliss balls or chocolate bark and eat your way to better health and better moods!