Hi everyone,

Todays post is on the topic that I am most passionate about, and which ever since writing The Clean Separation back in 2012, has continued to be the focus of every element of nutritional advice I provide.

Today we are covering:

Why prebiotics are the most important nutrient to boost your mood and prevent anxiety and depression

Discussing the importance of prebiotic fibres in the Australian media last year

Gut Health and Mood:

The case for the importance of maintaining a healthy gut has continued to strengthen year in year out, and so too has the research findings showing a connection between our gut health, mental health, and the foods that we select to consume.

Anxiety and depression are no longer seen as solely hormonal imbalances, but rather diseases resulting from internal inflammation.

There is a clear bi-directional relationship between stress and inflammation – with increased external stressors leading to heightened inflammation, whilst heightened inflammation can lead to enhanced feelings of depression and anxiety.

  • Our life events
  • Toxins in the skin care and cleaning products that make contact with our bodies
  • Medications we ingest, and
  • Foods we select to consume

Are all factors that can play a role as “stressors” in our bodies.

green banana flour muffin

 

What to Eat and What to Avoid to Boost Mood:

Our dietary choices play a huge part in promoting or preventing inflammation within our bodies;

The science around the importance of consuming an anti-inflammatory diet to prevent inflammation and the resulting negative mood impacts continues to strengthen in case.

Diets rich in:

Fruits, vegetables, pulses and EVOO,

As well as specific nutrients and non-nutrient benefits such as:

Compared to negative nutrients, such as:

Prebiotic fibre, antioxidant and omega 3 rich meal

There is also growing science on potentially gut aggravating ingredients, that although are not yet confirmed to cause harm, may want to be avoided from a preventative and cautious perspective, such as many food additives and artificial ingredients, for example; carrageenan and some artificial sweeteners.

 

Prebiotics and Probiotics to Boost Mood:

Now that we know that poor gut health can lead to inflammatory pathways being set off, and we know that internal inflammation is associated with  heightened negative moods, the goal to strengthen our gut and reduce inflammatory pathways through proper nutrition, is a clear place to take ownership of our wellbeing in our own hands, and positively influence our body and mind.

Prebiotics, which can be found as prebiotic fibres and resistant starches, are the fuel for the probiotics found in our gut, and are able to help maintain the correct balance of good to bad bacteria which ensures inflammatory pathways, via this mechanisms, are kept down.

probiotic icing sugar free travelling dietitian

Prebiotic rich muffin made using green banana flour and lupin flour.

Prebiotic fibers help us maintain the all important diversity of bacteria that are pre-existing in our bodies;

This is extremely valuable, as many of the probiotic foods (natural or enhanced) and supplements, rely on us continually consuming the products in order to potentially reap the benefits, as well as many of the products only offer a single strain, a transient form of probiotic that is unable to latch on to our gut wall and flourish, or even worse, are unable to make their way alive to our gut where they are required to be able to impart their benefits to us.

There are some exceptions to this rule, such as the encapsulated probiotics found inside the Perkii probiotic water brand of products.

perkii probiotic water

perkii probiotic water

 

For this reason, the consumption of the non-digestible carbohydrates that are able to supply fuel the the existing probiotics in our bodies, is the essential missing link to ensure both the probiotics that are consumed are truly able to grow and perform strongly, as well as ensure that the strains that are naturally still in our bodies (and that haven’t been harmed by any external stressors you have come into contact with to date) are able to survive and flourish.

Some of the richest prebiotic rich foods include:

  • Green banana flour
  • Chicory root fibre
  • Jerusalem artichoke
  • Acacia Fibre (found as a supplement)
  • Isomolto-oligosacharides (found inside food products)
  • Raw onion and garlic
  • Asparagus
  • Glucomannan found inside konjac noodles

They are also found in smaller amounts inside the skin of some fruits such as pectin inside apple peels, as well as in the form of beta glucan inside oats.

vegan bircher muesli recipe

Overnight oats rich in prebiotic fibre

I will create a follow on post that dives deeper into the different types of prebiotic and resistant starch rich foods, as well as expand on which are able to actually provide the strongest benefits to our bodies.

I hope this post has proven valuable and insightful, and that the importance of gut healthy nutrients, and in particular prebiotics, is starting to become clearer in regards to its role in mood enhancement.

If you have any further questions on this, or requests for follow on articles, please reach out to me via my Facebook Page,

Until  next time,

TD x

About The Author

Kara Landau aka "Travelling Dietitian" is an Australian Accredited Practicing Dietitian based in NYC. She is a world explorer, healthy foodie, social butterfly, barre and HIIT class lover. When she isn't trying new cuisines, researching new product innovations in the health food space, or speaking to the media on behalf of her food industry clients, she can be found quietly conjuring up her next idea on how to make this world a healthier and better place.

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