HOW DIET AFFECTS MENTAL HEALTH
The foods we choose to eat each & every day can either be the most potent form of medicine, or the slowest form of poison. Our choices in the quality, quantity & frequency of meals drastically alters the ‘good bacteria’ in our GI system. We’re learning that these commensal microbes that make us up have co-evolved to play fundamental roles in normal brain development & function (bare in mind that we are made up of about 10 to 100 times MORE microbial cells than human eukaryotic cells)! Our GI system communicates with the brain via the vagus nerve. Bacteria in the GI tract can activate this vagal connection to the brain! This phenomenon directly alters how we behave, how our endocrine system functions (the gut-endocrine system produces neuropeptides & neurotransmitters, which can improve or depreciate the brains communicative behavior - this includes autism & attention deficit hyperactivity like behaviors), how we react to stress, how patients respond to treatment for depression & anxiety, as well as our likelihood of developing allergies & contracting autoimmune diseases (80% of the body's immune cells reside in the gut & higher levels of 'good bacteria' show resistance to multiple sclerosis in mice by blocking the activity of antibodies against regulatory T cells). This family of “good bacteria” are a part of our normal GI flora & are sometimes referred to as the ‘second genome’ or the ‘second’ brain.’ Unlike with inherited genes, it is possible to positively reshape & even reconstruct this ‘second genome’ when we choose to eat cleaner foods! This is part of the reason why individuals who eat SUPER healthy & work out on a consistent basis not only look healthier, but also FEEL healthier & happier on the inside!