Most people wouldn’t think that bacteria and mental health would be linked, but they are. According to the World Health Organization, depression is the “single largest contributor to disability worldwide”. An unexpected weapon that we have against this problem is the bacteria located in our guts.
Every one of us has an entire ecosystem inside our guts called the “gut microbiome”, and the bacteria need diversity in order for you to stay healthy. When the bacteria become unbalanced, this triggers the immune system and causes inflammation. This releases cortisol (the stress hormone) which impacts the bacteria, which in turn takes a toll on your mental health. It creates a vicious cycle.
Breaking this cycle includes eating nutritious foods such as “prebiotic” and “probiotic” foods in order to maintain a healthy, balanced ecosystem. Essentially, the food that we eat directly feeds the bacteria, and those bacteria need the fiber that comes from fresh fruits and vegetables.
Eating nutritious foods isn’t just important for your physical health, but your mental health as well. Take care of your brain and have some veggies.