It’s strange but true—what you eat affects not just how you feel physically, but also how you feel emotionally and mentally. Indeed, food is a very important pillar of good mental health.
There’s a strong connection between your brain and your gut. According to a Harvard study, 90% of your serotonin receptors are located in your digestive tract. So doesn’t it make sense that the food you eat will affect your mood and your mental health?
When Destiny was younger, she had some pretty intense mental health struggles. She didn’t know it then, but she was also afflicted with lots of food sensitivities.
It turns out that the foods causing her physical problems were also hurting her mental health.
But now? She feels MUCH better! What did she do to experience such a remarkable turnaround? And what does she recommend you do?
She talks about it on today’s episode of the Destiny Malibu Podcast. Check it out here!
Listen to the podcast here
Better Food. Better Mood!
What’s going on, everybody? Welcome back to the show. It’s just going to be me because Dezzee is traveling in Florida, so everybody say, “I love you Dezzee and I miss you,” in the comment section. I know I’m missing her now but in this episode, we are going to be talking about another one of the seven pillars of mental health. We’ve talked about self-love, social life, purpose and exercise and now we are going to be talking about a very important pillar, which is food. Before we dive into this topic, I want to read you, folks, a quote from Harvard Health.
It says, “When we consider the connection between the brain and the gut, it’s important to know that 90% of serotonin receptors are located in the gut. In a relatively new field of nutritional psychiatry, we help patients understand how gut health and diet can positively or negatively affect their mood. When someone has been prescribed an antidepressant such as an SSRI, the most common side effects are gut related. Many people temporarily experience nausea or gastrointestinal problems. There’s anatomical and physiologic two-way communication between the gut and the brain via the vagus nerve. The gut-brain access offers us a greater understanding of the connection between diet and disease, including depression and anxiety.”
I have always been extremely fascinated by gut-brain access. Right there in the quote, you heard that 90% of our serotonin is produced in our gut. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “You are what you eat,” and that is such a true statement because when it comes to our mood, our mental health and in general, how we’re feeling, our energy levels and everything, what we’re eating affects how we’re going to feel physically but also emotionally.
That’s what we’ve been discovering more with new studies. They said the new field of nutritional psychiatry is starting to make some amazing discoveries. What happens is, in our guts, we have good and we have bad bacteria. There’s an ecosystem and a balance where the good bacteria should be overpopulating the bad.
What happens a lot of times is maybe we’re not sleeping as much, not being as careful with the health of our food choices and if that bad bacteria start to overpopulate the good and the ratio starts to get imbalanced. This is when we can start to see problems with our health. Not only physically but because it’s going to affect our mood because of the gut-brain access. The gut-brain axis is fascinating. I know I’ve experienced this before, if you’re nervous, maybe you get butterflies in your stomach or your stomach feels weird.
Conversely, if our emotions can affect our stomach and causes us to feel butterflies and nervousness and all of these types of things in the stomach, then also the opposite is true. If our gut is not balanced and the bad bacteria is overpopulating the good, that can also send signals to our brain and cause sad emotions. The gut-brain axis is fascinating to me. It’s important for us to make choices with our food that are going to help us thrive and be the best versions of ourselves physically and mentally.It's important for us to make choices with our food that are going to help us thrive and be the best versions of ourselves physically and mentally. Click To Tweet
I think the importance of food and what we’re eating a lot of times can get overlooked in the mental health sphere. Personally, when I was younger and I was struggling with my mental health, I didn’t know it at the time but I was struggling with a lot of food sensitivities and inflammation in the gut. Inflammation in general is one of the root causes of disease.
I didn’t realize that all of this inflammation going on with my gut because I was sensitive to the foods I was eating was also affecting my mental health. I know that everyone has a different version of eating and what feels good to them. It’s important to emphasize that I don’t believe there’s one size fits all for a way of eating.
Everybody’s different. It’s important to speak with your doctors, with your physicians and figure out what way of eating is healthiest for you and for your body and your body type. I tried a lot of different styles of eating to figure out what made me feel my best physically and emotionally, my mental clarity, my energy, my skin and all of those things.
I wanted to see what way of eating made me feel my best. After trying a lot of different styles of eating vegan and vegetarian, pescatarian and paleo and all of these different types of ways of eating, I found Dr. Gundry and Dr. Paul Saladino. Both of them have so much information and are incredibly intelligent men. I’ve learned a lot from them.
I’d say that the way I eat now is a combination of Dr. Gundry and Dr. Paul Saladino’s suggestions. For the most part, I focus on a whole foods-based diet. That’s what works for me and what that looks like for me is a lot of fruits, vegetables like spaghetti squash, zucchini, butternut squash, mushrooms, spinach, mixed greens, lots of fruits and lots of healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil and pasture-raised butter.
I do well with eating meat. I know not everybody eats meat and that’s totally personal. Tortillas out of cassava flour with water and olive, mix it together with cassava flour and cook them on the grill and put butter on them. That’s basically what I eat every single day and I feel good like that. My mental clarity is good. My skin improves so much. My energy improves so much.
I discovered that a few years ago I was living in a very high state of inflammation. As we talked about from Harvard Health, 90% of serotonin is made in your gut. If your whole body is inflamed, if your stomach is inflamed and that serotonin isn’t being produced properly, it can affect not only your physical health but your mental health too.
I found what works for me and I’m happy with it. I feel better than I’ve ever felt in my whole life, honestly, following this low inflammation way of eating. Though we all have different ideas of what the right menu looks like for us as individuals, we all can agree that and trying to grab more natural foods, more things like fruit and more things that come from the earth instinctively make more sense.
Let’s all try to get those fruits in, try to get those veggies in and make choices with our food with the mentality of how can I nourish my body? How can I give my body the best fuel, the most premium grade fuel to function at its highest level so I can live a long life, healthy life and energetic life? That’s what we want to do. I want to encourage you guys to make those healthy food choices and not forget that the food we eat has a direct impact on our mental health. I love you folks so much and I hope that you are able to incorporate this pillar into your life and pick foods that nourish your bodies.