A healthy diet is incredibly important for both our physical and mental wellbeing, as the old saying goes ‘we are what we eat’ or the new term being thrown around the nutrition world ‘we are what we eat, eats’, meaning are the plants we eat grown plentiful in healthy, nutrient-rich soil without GMO’s and our meats raised eating what their necessary diets should be not overfed with grains and antibiotics.
Eating healthy or unhealthy foods have a direct correlation in the body. Have you ever eating a heavy carbohydrate-rich meal like your mum’s famous lasagne and found yourself slumped on the couch afterwards ready for bed? Or maybe you eat a delicious bowl of greens and superfoods and feel energised and clear-headed. This is because we have two nervous systems in the body, the central nervous system which we know controls most of our bodies motor functions and the second system the enteric nervous system. The enteric nervous system runs the entire way of our gastrointestinal tract connecting the brain to the gut. The gut, now commonly known as our second brain is incredibly powerful in the way it has impact on our mental state. The gut produces around 70% of our neurotransmitter serotonin, a very powerful hormone that controls our mood, mental wellbeing and happiness. When we eat ‘badly’ our guts become inflamed and we cease to produce the same amounts of serotonin as we normally do thus dropping our mood, increasing chances of anxiety, we are more irritable and mostly unhappy.
Diversity in our diets is what keeps our bodies healthy, our microbiome is a subject that has gain mass attraction in the past few years with the awesome research being study around it. Our gut biome is home to incredible bacteria, fungi and other microbes that help break down our foods and ease digestion. They also play a very large roll in keeping our immune system at optimal health. Our gut flora and immune cells live symbiotically together constantly speaking and supporting each other to maintain a healthy body. When we consume foods that are high in sugars or glucose, high in trans fats, large amounts of refined carbohydrates or even alcohol it causes inflammation in our guts. When our gut is in a chronic state of inflammation it can cause our immune system to falter and has been linked to the causes of some autoimmune disease, neurodegenerative disease, cardiovascular disease, depression and much more life-debilitating illness’.
Our bodies are a temple, as cliche as that saying is. We are home to trillions of bacteria living within us to keep us healthy and functional throughout our days. A diet should never feel forced, we want it to fit in with our lifestyle and the way we go about our days. A simple rule to follow is the 80/20 rule, consuming healthy nutrient-rich foods 80% of the time giving our bodies what it needs to perform optimally but also giving us the simple pleasure of food with the last 20%, enjoy that slice of birthday cake, have a beer on the weekend or get pizza every now and then but just know not to overdo it and if you do overdo it and fall off the healthy train be sure to just right back on the train the next day. Diet is simple don’t over complicate things, you already know what makes you feel good both inside and out. Follow that GUT feeling.