There are so many things that affect your mental health, and scientists recently discovered that our gut microbiome is one of the main culprits in a person’s mental and physical health.
Did you know that every time you eat, you feed the trillions of bacteria that live in your stomach? This collection of bacteria and viruses is called your microbiome, and they can either promote disease or promote health in your body. Scientists have discovered that how we feed our microbiome is directly related to our overall health, including mental health.
Here are some foods to help improve your gut microbiome and overall health.
What foods help overall health
Simply put, when you eat a variety of foods, you’re more likely to have a variety of microbes in your gut, and those diverse microbes make your gut happy, which makes your body healthy. Research published National Medical Library reported that greater diversity in the human microbiome is associated with good health and less diversity with poor health.
A varied diet of healthy foods with moderate amounts of your favorite treats is the key to overall health.
The Washington Post According to Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, fiber-rich plants and nutrient-dense foods are the most beneficial. According to Spector, increasing the variety of plant-based foods you eat each week will help your overall health in the long run. To fully feed your microbiome, start by eating a variety of herbs, spices, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, beans, grains, fruits, and a variety of vegetables.
While it’s important to eat a variety of foods, including fiber-based foods in your diet is really helpful.
How gut bacteria affect mental and physical health
In a study published in Natural medicine last year, Spector, along with other scientists from different schools, studied and discovered clusters of “good” gut microbes that protected people from cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes. They also identified “bad” microbes that are linked to low metabolism, heart disease and inflammation.
The Washington Post reports that the buildup of plaque in your arteries may be caused by the wrong microbes mixing together.
Along with these physical health issues, gut bacteria also affect mood-altering neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. These mood-altering neurotransmitters also determine how well you sleep and perform daily tasks. The National Medical Library published research that found your gut microbiome plays a role in how well you sleep.
Maria Marko, a professor of food sciences, said that research on this front is still ongoing, but there are findings that increasing the diversity of the gut microbiome will boost human immunity.
“We are increasingly developing a very deep understanding of why microbes are so good for us,” Marko said.