Emerging research indicates that your gut bacteria may be one of the keys to a healthy, happy existence. Each one of us has billions of tiny bacteria within our gastrointestinal tracts. Some bacteria are good and some are bad, and what we feed our body ultimately determines the balance.
Ideally these bacteria all live in harmony with each other, but our modern day lifestyles are prone to tipping the balance in the wrong direction. Excessive intake of refined carbohydrates, sugar, alcohol and processed foods feed the bad bacteria, which may result in short term digestive issues such as bloating, reflux, flatulence and diarrhoea.
Longer term, this imbalance in your gut may decrease the amount of Serotonin your body produces causing your mood to suffer.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is mainly produced in the gut (nearly 90% in fact!)
You may have heard of Serotonin referred to as a ‘happy hormone’. Whilst not technically a ‘hormone’ as such, Serotonin has a widespread effect in the body; helping making us feel happier, more agreeable and sociable. A lack of it may result in the opposite effect. So how do we make more of this very important neurotransmitter? We need to feed our good bacteria, which are thought to be responsible for producing most of our Serotonin, both independently as well as in interaction with other ‘host’ cells in our digestive system.
To optimise your digestive and mental health, ensure you eat plenty of fibre rich foods such as vegetables and complex carbohydrates, and increase your intake of fermented prebiotic foods such as; Sauerkraut, Miso, Kombucha, Kefir, Tempeh, Kimchi, Natto, Yoghurt
If you feel you may need to supplement your diet with additional fibre then you might like to consider slippery elm or psyllium husks.