Do you suffer with depression or know of someone who does? Research is showing that depression, anxiety, Bi-polar disorder and many other diseases are related to our diets. There is definitely a relationship between diet and brain functioning. So if you are plagued by depression, you definitely need to check your gut health. No one can argue with the fact that over the past several years with the increase of processed, sugary, and fast foods, genetically modified ingredients, and a push to eat more grains because they are “good for you”, we have witnessed a rise in brain-based afflictions such as ADHA and Autism. Since the gut is the powerhouse of the immune system, it is imperative that we digest meals of high quality protein, healthy fats and vegetables. This is much easier said than done considering the depleted state of our farmland soil and the fact that eating all organic foods might be beyond most budgets. Experts in the health field suggest that adding high quality supplements to our diets can help provide the nutrients needed to keep gut flora in balance.
What happens if your gut is unhealthy?
I recently read a great analogy to get a picture of one’s out-of-whack gut. Think of your small intestine as a hose. Then think of processed foods, gluten, and sugar as weed whackers. The hose delivers nutrients (water) to your plants. But what happens to the hose when the weed whackers enter? It is filled with holes–lots and lots of them. The hose (your small intestine) now looks more like a lawn sprinkler….the kind with many holes in the head allowing water to spray everywhere (becoming leaky).
Now imagine what happens to your body when your small intestine is “leaky”. Your immune system tries to fight the “invaders” (bacteria) that are escaping through the holes in the hose. Now these battles create inflammation in your body. Your genetic makeup determines where this inflammation surfaces. For some it is in the brain, for others the heart, skin (think acne), in the joints, reproductive organs, and the list goes on. The good news is once the small intestine begins to heal by giving it foods it can digest and having it absorb the nutrients from this food, the inflammation decreases. When this happens, the face of whatever “disorder” you are battling changes.
The big question is………
Am I saying that diet alone is the “magic cure” for all diseases and mental health issues? Absolutely not! But there is enough research and evidence out there to make a very strong argument for the importance of a healthy gut. While the nutritional profile of someone battling Autism is going to be different than the profile of someone with cancer, it is safe to say establishing a healthy gut is a good place to begin to tackle both illnesses. If additional assistance if needed from high quality supplements to enable better digestion and processing of foods ingested, so be it. If there was a chance unpleasant or even debilitating symptoms for health woes we live with daily could be decreased or even vaporized, wouldn’t you be eager to investigate further? I was and am so very thankful every day for the information someone shared with me that prompted me to begin my journey to good gut health.
As always, I am very interested in your comments and questions on this topic. Please, don’t be shy! Your gut will thank you!