Before lockdown I delivered a training session discussing mental health intervention and a delegate on training working as a nutritionist providing feedback suggesting that we should focus more time in the session on our mental health and how our diet directly impacts it.She told me that our digestive system produces over 90% of all serotonin (the ‘Happy’ hormone) and is often dubbed as the ‘second brain’. With this in mind, I researched the benefits of having a healthy digestive system for our mental health. I learned that out gut can affect immunity and resilience to stress and in general helps us to absorb vitamins, minerals and nutrients which is vital for our brains to thrive.
On reflection, when I have felt stressed or anxious, I often feel it in my gut, this is because when we are anxious our digestive systems speed up or slow down, depending on how we are feeling. To make sure we are keeping our brains and our bellies happy we need to make sure we are eating gut-friendly foods including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, pulses, and basically plenty of fibre and lots of fluid along with regular exercise.
To learn more about our digestive system and our gut check out this TED talk from nutritionist Ruairi Robertson as he discusses the link between our gut and our brain