The Link Between Your Gut and a Good Mood:
Did you know that the health of your digestive system may directly affect your mood?
There is an often-overlooked network of neurons lining our guts that is so extensive some scientists have nicknamed it our “second brain”.
Technically known as the enteric nervous system, the second brain consists of sheaths of neurons embedded in the walls of the long tube of our gut, or alimentary canal, which measures about nine meters end to end from the esophagus to the anus. The second brain contains some 100 million neurons, more than in either the spinal cord or the peripheral nervous system. This enables the complex process of digestion to be fully completed without getting the brain too deeply involved.
The nerves in your gut may largely influence your emotions too, and not just when you get butterflies in your stomach.
The enteric nervous system uses more than 30 neurotransmitters, just like the brain, and in fact 95 percent of the body’s serotonin is found in the bowels. Serotonin is your happy hormone, known for boosting positivity and a good mood, and reducing feelings of stress and anxiety.
It’s important to look after your gut health, to encourage good digestion as well as a good mood. You can do this by eating plenty of high-fibre plant foods, taking probiotics regularly to populate your gut with plenty of ‘friendly’ bacteria, eating fermented foods for their probiotic qualities, avoiding foods that can irritate or inflame your gut, and consuming good mood foods with every meal and snack.
Good Mood Food
Certain foods encourage your body and brain to produce the neurotransmitters and hormones that help you to feel happy, calm, positive and encourage restful sleep. Normal and healthy levels of serotonin even help to prevent cravings for sugary, fatty and stodgy foods, so ensuring that you’re eating plenty of good mood foods each day can really help to keep your health and fitness on track.
These include protein, omega-3 fats and colourful fruit and veggies 🙂