Foods such as sauerkraut have health benefits
What we eat affects the structure and function of our brain and ultimately our mood; This article discusses how food affects our mental and emotional wellbeing.

Our brain requires high quality foods that contain lots of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants which nourish the brain from oxidative stress which can damage cells.

Once processed or refined foods get to the brain it has little ability to get rid of them. Multiple studies have found a correlation between a diet high in refined sugars and impaired brain function and a worsening of mood disorders such as depression.


How the foods we eat affect how we feel

We have 100 trillion bacteria–about three pounds worth–that line our intestinal tract. This is an extremely complex living system that aggressively protects our body from outside offenders. The inner workings of our digestive system don’t just help us to digest food but also guides our emotions because our gut serves as our second brain. Recently, bacteria have been discovered in the gut that depends solely on one of the chemicals in our brains for survival. These bacteria consume a molecule known as GABA; this molecule is crucial for calming the brain. This shows directly how gut bacteria can affect our mood.

95% of our serotonin is produced in our gastrointestinal tract. It helps regulat sleep, appetite, mediate moods and inhibit pain. The production of serotonin is influenced by the billions of “good” bacteria that make up our microbiome. These bacteria play an essential role in our health because they protect the lining of our intestines and protect us against toxins and “bad” bacteria which limit inflammation and how well we absorb nutrients from our food.

Studies have shown that when people take probiotics their anxiety levels and mental outlook improve. Studies have also compared “traditional” diets such as the Mediterranean diet and Japanese diet to a typical “western” diet have shown that the risk of depression is 25% – 35% lower in those that eat a traditional diet.
Traditional diets are high in vegetables, fruits, unprocessed grains, fish and sea food. They include a modest amount of lean meats and diary and no processed and refined foods and sugars.

Fermented  foods such as cultured foods (yogurt and sauerkraut) are full of good bacteria (probiotics).
We need a good balance between good and bad bacteria in the gut as it forms the foundation of physical mental and emotional well-being. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. We usually think of bacteria as something that causes diseases.

Digestive symptoms associated with too much bad gut bacteria include:-

• Constipation
• Excess intestinal gas
• Too little or no intestinal gas
• Chronic diarrhoea
• Chronic bad breath

Other symptoms of gut flora imbalance may include:-

• Hormonal problems
• Menstrual complaints
• Prostate trouble
• Breast enlargement in men
• Need for sexual hormone medication
• Candida infection (candidiasis)
• Chronic anaemia
• Chronic respiratory problems
• Dairy product allergies and intolerances
• Vitamin B deficiencies
• High cholesterol levels
• Neurological problems
• Severe bruising problems
• Chronic vaginal infections
• Chronic bladder infections
• Osteoporosis
• Sarcopenia

History shows that:-

  • During the Roman era, people consumed sauerkraut because of its taste and health benefits.
  • In ancient India, it was common to enjoy lassi, a pre-dinner yogurt drink. This traditional practice is anchored on the principle of using sour milk as a probiotic delivery system to the body.
  • Bulgarians are known for their high consumption of fermented milk and kefir, and for their high level of health.
  • Ukrainians consumed probiotics from a fermented food list that included raw yogurt, sauerkraut, and buttermilk.
  • Various Asian cultures ate pickled fermentations of cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash, and carrots, and consume these fermented treats until today.

If you introduce too many of these foods at once you may experience a “healing crisis” or detox symptoms. Begin with very small servings, then work your way up to the quarter- to half-cup serving size. This gives your intestinal microbiota the chance of adjusting.

It is ideal to include a variety of fermented foods and beverages in your diet, because each food with inoculate your gut with a mix of different microorganisms. There are many fermented foods you can easily make at home, including:-

• Cultured vegetables, including pureed baby foods
• Chutneys
• Condiments, such as salsa and mayonnaise
• Cultured dairy, such as yogurt, kefir, and sour cream
• Fish, such as mackerel and Swedish gravlax

Visit this page to learn what other steps you can take to alleviate depression

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