We all get those days when we feel under the weather and depressed. Although your kneejerk reaction might be to get some sugar into your body, this can actually cause your mood to improve and then crash, leaving you the same as before (if not worse). Rather, reach for plant-based foods. Here’s why.
- Follow Your Gut
When your gut is overflowing with bad bacteria and not enough good bacteria, this can kill your good mood. Good bacteria secrete chemicals that are used by the body’s neurons to monitor and regulate mood: dopamine and serotonin are two of the big ones. When the gut flora isn’t balanced, this can lead to problems such as depression and anxiety. Let's not forget that having a healthy body will impact your mood, too - you know how good you feel when your body is healthy and energetic. Again, plant-based foods make good bacteria flourish, which decreases inflammation in the body and can indirectly make you feel better emotionally. For instance, research has found that there’s a positive link between vegan diets and a lower risk of autoimmune diseases such as hypothyroidism.
- Vegan Sources of Good Gut Bacteria
So, what vegan foods should you eat to encourage healthy bacteria in your gut? Reach for fresh produce such as blueberries. Filled with antioxidants, these gorgeous berries actually change your gut bacteria to boost immune function as well as memory. Another good vegan source is beans. These release short-chain fatty acids into the body that actually improve the cells of the intestine, making them stronger and helping nutrients get better absorbed by the body. This is important because your body and brain need to gain nutrients from what you eat so that they can function properly. General improvements to your diet, such as eating more fruits and vegetables as well as probiotic foods such as sauerkraut and kefir are also a must. These have been shown to reduce levels of anxiety. When you're calm, you're happier!
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