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More and more I’m coming across evidence that gut health impacts our overall quality of life, particularly our emotional health.
Anecdotally, from childhood 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 how always 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 post-lunch crash (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 powerful 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 that rely on antidepressants 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, I wonder if those chemicals could be balanced with lifestyle and nutritional adjustments rather than meds?
Certainly I lack the qualifications to answer that question, but the more research I find 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.
Gut health has a HUGE impact on the quality of your life. I encourage you to learn more about it and I can think of no better place to start than The Healthy Gut Summit Feb 9 through the 16th. It’s an online event and it’s free baby! Donna Gates and a boat load of other health experts will be walking viewers through the process of building a better gut and helping us understand where we’re going wrong. I’ll be watching for sure.
Caren is a certified yoga teacher, fitness instructor and author of The Fit Habit. Here she shares simple, healthy recipes, home workout ideas and practical ways to foster mind + body wellness.