Head's up, there might be affiliate links ahead!
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.