We all go through it. Mood swings that come out of nowhere. Waking up feeling blue for no reason at all. Feeling grumpy when you know you have nothing to complain about. Moods affect how you perceive the world and how the world perceives you. A bad mood shows on your face, and the people around you pick up on it really quickly. It’s not like you want to feel bad. It just…happens, right? What if you could boost your mood naturally? You can! Here are 13 ways digestive health boosts your mood.
The Gut-Brain Connection is Real
The lining of your digestive system is comprised of the enteric nervous system, which houses 500 million neurons. These neurons are basically a communication link to your brain, sending it signals based on what it senses inside your gut. In fact, the connection is so strong, the digestive tract is often referred to as the “second brain.”
You Wouldn’t Be You Without Microorganisms
In one study, mice were bred to be germ-free. Those with no microbes in their gut were unable to recognize the mice around them. Clearly, microorganisms are an integral part of our human identity. More worrying is a second observation from the same study; mice without those microbes were engaging in “high-risk behavior.” Researchers subsequently discovered accompanying neurochemical changes in the rodents’ brains.
Microorganisms Nix Digestive Pain
As you know, stomach aches and digestive upset can be a real mood-buster. Who can expect you to walk around being cheerful when your stomach is bloated and painful to the touch? It turns out that symptoms like these, plus irritable bowel syndrome, are less bothersome when your digestive tract is teeming with the right microorganisms. On the flip side, laboratory mice without microbes had a lower threshold for pain in general.
Minor Gut Changes Can Bring on Heavy Depression
If bad bacteria takes hold—which it can in the absence of probiotics—
depression can set in quickly. Even minor changes in gut bacteria can lead to deep depressive symptoms, according to researchers. Previously, scientists knew that intestinal bacteria influences mood, but it was a surprise to learn just how delicate the balance is. The inverse is also true. Taking probiotics can boost your mood in a relatively short period of time. In fact, the use of probiotics to treat depression in a clinical setting is gaining in use and popularity among the medical community.
Probiotics Enhance Brain Function
Have you ever wished someone would invent a smart pill? Something to get rid of that brain fog your head always feels like it’s in? It looks like some headway has been made in that direction. In a study, healthy women were given probiotics for several weeks. MRIs were done to analyze pre-study and post-study results. The brain function of the women was markedly improved; particularly the regions of the brain that control processing of emotion and sensation.
Complex Carbs Make You Happy
Even though you think that candy bar makes you happy, it’s only temporary. True happiness is inside complex carbohydrates like beans, brown rice, leafy greens and broccoli. Fiber-rich foods like these slow down the absorption of sugar and boost serotonin levels. Serotonin is of course, the “feel good” brain chemical. So when you ingest these foods that are good for your digestive health, it’s kind of like flipping on your happy mood switch.
Good Thoughts are Just a Probiotic Away
One of the telltale signs of a bad mood is recurring negative thoughts. That internal voice telling you you’re not good enough, or some such nonsense. In a blind study, participants were split up into two groups. Everyone thought they were taking probiotics, but only one group was. The other got a placebo. After four weeks, half the participants reported much less reaction to sad thoughts. In other words, the participants taking the probiotics were able to attach less meaning to sad thoughts, and quickly get back to feeling good again. It sounds like magic, but it’s not. It’s just probiotics at work, keeping the digestive system healthy and boosting mood.
Digestive Health Gives You More Energy
When you eat healthy, wholesome foods, your body is able to turn that into long-lasting energy you can use for physical movement. Junk foods that are processed and loaded with sugar give you a quick sugar high and then dump you in the doldrums, where all you can do is slouch on the couch. Since exercise is a proven mood enhancer, it stands to reason that better foods that support digestive health and sustained energy are more likely to boost your mood than any junk food in the world.
Mental Health Begins With a Healthy Digestive System
Did you know that general mental health is related to a healthy gut? In fact, mental health issues are one common warning sign that something is awry in the digestive tract. Things like post-traumatic stress syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome and more can all be at least somewhat relieved by adjusting the microbial environment within the gut. While suffering from these conditions may not completely be erased, it may be possible to recover faster with a probiotic and healthy diet change.
Your Immune System Relies on a Healthy Digestive System
It’s impossible to be in a good mood when you are constantly coming down with every cold and flu that’s going around. If you find that you’re always the first one to get sick, it’s possible your immune system is to blame. Probiotics, which help to build a healthy digestive system, have been shown to improve the body’s immune system; making it stronger so it can withstand the threats from colds, flu and more.
If all these claims sound exciting, that’s because they are. Imagine being able to feel better inside and out, just by focusing on digestive health. Your brain will function better and your mood will be lifted when you adjust your gut’s balance of microorganisms.