Chiropractic Meridian ID Gut Health and Depression

When you think of gut health in Meridian ID you may think about heartburn, constipation, bloating, diarrhea, and nausea but is that all it does? Gut health has an enormous impact on overall well-being and is being continuously linked to mental health issues such as depression.

Quick reminder, depression is a complex neurological issue. Addressing this complex issue is about knowing how the brain is connecting and what would prevent it from connecting properly. Our gut is considered our second brain as it is an extension of the nervous system, which means if it isn’t healthy than it can hurt how our brain connects.

Digestive imbalances can cause significant physical, mental, and emotional symptoms which can lead to a depressed mood. The gut contains millions of microorganisms that are essential for proper digestion, nutrient absorption, elimination of waste, and producing by-products that are used throughout the body.


WHY THE GUT MICROBIOME MATTERS FOR MENTAL HEALTH IN MERIDIAN ID

We have all been told you are what you eat, but you will also feel how you eat. Unhealthy foods are often loaded with things to give us temporary pleasure while it satisfies our taste buds, but from that moment on it only does harm.

As noted above the foods we eat are broken down and used by various systems of the body. Our gut microbiome plays an essential role in this, but with unhealthy foods it changes the makeup of our microbiome. This prevents it from making the byproducts we need for optimal health.

Outside of not having the appropriate byproducts, supplies, for other cells in the body this causes inflammation. Inflammation in the body doesn’t always stay there and can impact the brain. One of the causes of depression is brain based inflammation. Having bacterial imbalances and a leaky gut creates more inflammation.

Research has been performed extensively over the last 5-10 years with countless papers talking about the link between gut and mental health. Needless to say, having a healthy gut microbiome is essential for health. For many though this has been negatively impacted by medications, foods, lack of sleep, environmental toxins, and much more.

Dietary Influences On Gut Microbiome

The most important factor for maintaining a healthy gut microbiome is diet.
Everything else we could review is secondary. Eating an abundance of nutrient-dense, whole foods can help promote beneficial bacteria in the gut and reduce inflammation that can lead to depression.

Incorporating fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt, and kefir are also great sources of probiotics that can help restore balance in the gut microbiome. Additionally, adding prebiotic foods such as onions, garlic, asparagus, and bananas can also help feed beneficial bacteria. The best bananas have more green compared to yellow, yellow is going to be more sugary. Avoiding processed foods and refined sugars is also important for
maintaining a healthy gut microbiome. Even zero calorie sweeteners and mouthwash are known to alter the gut microbiome.

Processed foods tend to be high in sugar, unhealthy fats, and artificial additives which can cause an imbalance in the gut microbiome. Sugar feeds bad bacteria in the gut which can lead to inflammation and an increase in depressive symptoms. Additionally, processed foods are often low in fiber, vitamins, and minerals that are essential for proper digestion. This can lead to digestive issues such as bloating, gas, constipation and diarrhea which can further contribute to depression.

  1. Eat an abundance of nutrient-dense, whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, spices, meat, and nuts to promote beneficial bacteria in the gut and reduce inflammation that can lead to depression.
  2. Incorporate fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt, and kefir into your diet for additional sources of probiotics that help restore balance in the gut microbiome.
  3. Add prebiotic foods such as onions, garlic, asparagus, and bananas to your meals to help feed beneficial bacteria in the gut.
  4. Avoid processed foods and refined sugars which can lead to digestive issues and an imbalance in the gut microbiome.

EXERCISE AND GUT HEALTH

Exercise is also important for maintaining a healthy gut microbiome. Numerous studies have shown that regular exercise can help reduce inflammation and support the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. If exercise has benefits, then a lack of exercise does the opposite and results in changes in bacteria, inflammation, and poorer brain health leading to depression.

Here are 4 different types of activities that can positively support the gut microbiome.

  1. Participate in regular aerobic activity such as running, walking, or cycling for at least 30 minutes per day to reduce inflammation and support the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. If that seems too much then even 5-10 minutes a few times a day has enormous benefits.
  2. Incorporate strength-training exercises into your routine at least 2-3 days per week to help build muscle and reduce stress levels which can contribute to a healthy gut microbiome.
  3. Engage in low-impact activities such as yoga or tai chi to increase flexibility and improve breathing which can decrease stress levels and ultimately help gut health.
  4. Take time each day to meditate or practice mindful breathing techniques to help reduce stress and promote relaxation which can also support a healthy gut microbiome. You can have a dedicated time or even take one minute an hour to close your eyes and focus on breathing.

TAKING THE NEXT STEPS

While depression continues to increase, it doesn’t have to. There are numerous things that can be done and one area that should be looked at is gut health. For some, addressing gut health will take care of depression, but for others this is a piece of the puzzle.

We help individuals evaluate brain, mind, and body health to get the answers they need to have a comprehensive approach for their health. Patients find when they are addressed as a whole person instead of individual parts that they get the answers they have been looking for.

To get started, request a consultation today.