by Claribel Aguilar Whyte
With all these fad diets and weight loss messages constantly being displayed on our screens, it kinda made me wonder if there was some research-based link between food and our brains but in particular our mental health.
See, every time I turn on the TV there’s a commercial for some type of food. Arby’s has the meats, Wendy’s is the freshest and We are Lovin’ Mcdonalds. I just started thinking about how these commercials not only made me hungry but they also kind of excited me and made want to try some of what I was seeing on the TV. If a commercial can trigger emotions being stirred up just by seeing food on TV. I wondered if there was a direct link to the things we eat and how they affect our brain…. so I do what I do naturally and I Googled it!
See, Google is a great tool for research when you know how to use it and what you’re looking for and a little knowledge on how to distinguish and decide if a source is a credible and not fake news but that’s a whole other post.
I found a few articles that talked about new research that has connected nutrition to mental health but many articles stated that further research was needed. I want to break these article down a little further in this and the next blog post (the original can be found here and here)
Remember when I mentioned that your body was like a car and you should put premium fuel in it? (If you don’t remember go here)
Well, the reason you should put high-quality foods in your body is because food affects the structure and function of your brain which is responsible for stabilizing your mood amongst other things.
Eating foods that are high in nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants protect your brain and help your brain get rid of free radicals or “waste” which help regulate your mood.
So yup, that cheeseburger with all the fixings will make you feel great at the moment but the long terms effects can actually not just be those that are physical but can affect your mental health as well.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that lives in your GI tract in your stomach. The funny thing is serotonin is responsible for helping you regulate your sleep, appetite, moods and inhibiting pain. Our GI tract is lined with millions of nerve cells that receive the transmissions from the serotonin which is influenced by all the good bacteria in our stomach. These bacteria regulate everything from limiting inflammation to how well you absorb the nutrients from what you eat. They basically act a stop light that directs traffic between your brain and stomach.
It makes sense, that not only would our stomach be used for digestion of our food but also lends a hand in guiding our emotions.
So what can do you right now to kickstart your gut? Read my next blog post to find out.