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Quick tips for supporting brain health and boosting mood
May 15th, 2019 + The Naturopathic Co.

It’s no secret that improving your gut health is essential to improving your mood because of the gut-brain connection. We all know the relationship between our nervous system and our gut when we feel nervous in our stomach, our digestion is slowed, and we experience digestive symptoms. The gut is known as the second brain. The gut-brain axis is a pathway from our gut to our brain via the vagus nerve, and the two are constantly communicating.

The gut is full of bacteria, some healthy and some less healthy. An unhealthy balance or dysbiosis in the gut may be caused by frequent consumption of antibiotics, a parasite or infection, or simply poor food choices.

Some bacteria in the gut are also involved in the production of neurotransmitters, which impact the way we feel. For example, most of the body’s serotonin production (our happy hormone) occurs in the gut, and so an imbalance of beneficial bacteria may lead to a shortfall in serotonin and contribute to mood imbalances.

So what we eat plays a huge role in how we feel, as what we eat alters our beneficial bacteria.

Our happy hormone, serotonin, can be boosted nutritionally with the intake of specific amino acids, such as tryptophan, which are precursors to serotonin production.

Here are some foods which could be included in your diet in order to balance mood:

Walnuts

Walnuts contain high levels of omega 3 fatty acids which are a wonderful anti-inflammatory for brain health, as well as containing high levels of tryptophan in order to boost serotonin levels

Salmon

Wild-caught salmon is a really great addition to the diet. Salmon is rich in DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which is a highly beneficial nutrient for brain health and really great for supporting mood.

Not only is it high in anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids, but is also rich in protein and tryptophan.

Green tea

Green tea is rich in l-theanine which increases serotonin, dopamine, and gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain for optimal mood.

Green tea also contains polyphenols such as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which are powerful and protective antioxidants essential in protecting the brain from oxidative stress.

Fermented foods

Most of the body’s serotonin is produced in the gut, and so it is crucial that we improve our diversity of beneficial bacteria for balancing mood.

A great place to start is by increasing our fermented food intake.  Consuming cultured foods is the most convenient way to obtain a daily dose of beneficial bacteria to the gut.

Some good choices are kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, miso, pickles, kimchi, and apple cider vinegar.

Bone Broth

Bone broth is a healing food which has so many benefits for the body, and the good thing is that it’s so easy to add to winter meals such as hearty soups and slow cooked casseroles.  Nutrient-dense bone broth has numerous health benefits and one of the main ones is to restore gut health.

A combination of animal bones and vegetables simmered for at least 6 hours, but up to 48 hours is most beneficial.

It’s best if grass-fed organic bones are used so that they are free of antibiotics and hormones for the most healing benefit.

Add a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to your broth when cooking so that it helps draw out and release the healing nutrients from the bones such as collagen, glycine, glutamine, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and silicon.

Use a few tablespoons of the cooled broth into all your cooking preparation; rice, pasta, pasta sauce, soups, slow cooking, casseroles, stews.

Yvette is a qualified Melbourne-based Naturopath and Nutritionist, MINDD Practitioner, member of the Naturopaths and Herbalists Association of Australia, and Complementary Medicine Association. Yvette specialises in the treatment of conditions commonly affecting women and children, with a key interest in children’s digestive and neurological conditions, as well as women’s hormonal concerns, digestive issues, fatigue, anxiety, and skin concerns. Yvette consults in South Yarra, Melbourne, as well as Australia-wide via skype/zoom/phone. 

Naturopath Melbourne 2020


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