What Does Food Have To Do With My Mood?
If you’re asking yourself, what does food have to do with my mood, you’re not alone. Just a couple years ago I would have asked that exact same question. For so many years, we’ve been told that our mood disorders are caused by a chemical imbalance in our brains, we may be lacking certain types of neurotransmitters. On the surface, this makes a lot of sense, but is it true? It turns out, there is a great deal of evidence that is showing that what may actually be causing our mood issues is poor gut health and inflammation. Have you ever heard the term gut-brain connection? It turns out, it really is a thing. Our brain is connected to our gut by the vagus nerve. What is happening in our gut has a direct link with what is going on in our brain. Fascinating, right? Did you know that 90% of our serotonin is created in our gut? As you probably know, serotonin is known as the feel-good hormone. Now that we know that the gut is directly connected to the brain via the vagus nerve, and that serotonin is made in the gut, it sure makes a lot of sense that the health of our gut is tied to our mental health. There’s a lot more to it than that, but that gives you a bit of an idea of how gut health affects your mood.
Did you know 90% of our serotonin is created in our gut?
Earlier I brought up that your mood is also affected by inflammation in the body, this theory that is being researched is called the “cytokine theory”. We often think of inflammation as the burn and swelling we get after falling and scraping our knee, and that is a type of inflammation, but there is also inflammation within our body that is not seen on the outside. This is the inflammation that will affect your mood. It can be caused by a variety of things, but a common one is food sensitivities. Sensitivities are different than allergies, they’re sneakier. Where you may have a peanut allergy and immediately swell up, sensitivities are sneakier and can hide. They can take days to show up, which makes it harder to correlate them with our food, and may not appear as what we would commonly think of as a gut issues. Some signs of food sensitivities can be runny nose, gallbladder pain, arthritic pain, hives, asthma, headaches and yes, depression.
Now that you have an understanding of why your mood might be affected by your food, what do you do with that? As bio-individuals it’s going to be different for each and every person. What you have going on inside your body, is different from what anyone else has going on. With that said, a great place to start is to begin eating REAL FOOD. That means eating food without a label, food that has a short shelf life, food that this good earth of ours has given to us to nourish our bodies. That alone will get you started down the road to better gut health and less inflammation.
If you’d like to dig deeper and get personal about what specifically is causing your mood symptoms, I would love to help you discover possible imbalances and sensitivities, and help you start down the road to feeling your best.