We can also clean up our diet by being mindful about our dietary choices and eating foods that make us feel good, both physically and mentally. In case you haven’t heard, our brain and gut are connected. In fact, some researchers call the gut our “second brain.”
This winter, we challenge you to learn more about the brain-gut connection and refresh your diet to foster great gut health by being mindful with what you put in your body.
Many people believe that food is the best medicine. If you’ve been feeling unwell physically or mentally, take a look at what you’ve been eating and drinking. Go back to the basics and make sure you’re getting foods from all five food groups: Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Protein Foods, and Dairy, according to the USDA. It’s way easier said than done! You can also take a look at the amount of processed foods and junk foods that you eat and see if you can reduce your intake.
Your gut health is probably not something you think about everyday, but our gut health is super important. Our gastrointestinal tract is home to “good” bacteria and lots of other microorganisms (we’re talking trillions of them) that make up your gut’s microbiome.
The microbiome keeps your GI tract healthy, but it’s not just that. As we mentioned before, the gut is linked to the brain. Additionally, the gut’s microbiome can affect your immune system as well as how you metabolize nutrients. Maintain good gut health by taking probiotic supplements and/or eating foods rich in probiotics, such as yogurt or fermented food like kimchi.
Of course, it takes a lot more work than a healthy diet to have good mental health, but diet can help play a role! For example, if you’re battling depression, eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like fish, nuts, and dark leafy greens, may help give you a boost. If you’re struggling with anxiety, try loading up on antioxidants which you can find in berries, nuts, and veggies.
Too often we devour our food without really enjoying it. Let’s change that. Be present while you eat. Try to notice the different smells, tastes, and textures of your food. Slow down and enjoy food—it’s delicious! Plus, slowing down can help you avoid overeating to the point of uncomfortable bloating. You might just find yourself having a newfound appreciation for food.
Don’t underestimate the power of a healthy diet! Be kind and mindful to your body, and it’ll be kind back.
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