ANXIETY and DIET: The 3 key ways food affects your brain [What the Research says]

May 31, 2019 | Michael Burrows

 ANXIETY and DIET: The 3 key ways food affects your brain [What the Research says]

I cover the 3 key ways food affects your brain. As it turns out there is a lot of research on this very topic!

I talk about what foods to eat less or more of to reduce your anxiety and improve your mood.

Research-wise, it’s actually pretty well established that our diet can play a role in the prevention and treatment of brain-based disorders, like anxiety and depression. Diets that are high in carbohydrates and sugar - Junk Food Diets, are associated with increased risk of mental health disorders.

What we currently know can be boiled-down-to:

1) Inflammation

2) Nutrients

3) Microbiome

Inflammation
Your immune system becomes activated when it detects something foreign, like a microbe, plant pollen, toxin (OR something we've EATEN). It then activates a process called inflammation.

This can be really helpful in some of the above circumstances. However, sometimes inflammation persists. Which is when it becomes a huge problem.

Your brain can become inflamed as well, causing anxiety through the release of distress signals. This inflammation also dysregulates neurotransmitters that affect mood, damages neurons, and alters neural activity in mood-relevant areas such as the amygdala and prefrontal cortex.

So you can see how foods that cause inflammation can affect anxiety and mood.

You will want to stay away from foods which CAUSE inflammation.

You will also want to eat more foods which REDUCE inflammation.

Nutrients
Turns out the brain needs nutrients to work. A lot of nutrients!
And most of the typical western diet foods are filler foods, with little nutritional value. So you'll want to chuck these and fill up on the most nutrient-dense foods you can!

FUN FACT: Did you know, that eating more vegetables has been found to more effective than medication for depressed mood?

Microbiome
Turns out some bacteria are good... in fact, necessary!
They help break down food, produce necessary vitamins, neutralise toxins and protect us from disease.

And that's not all! They reduce anxiety and depressive symptoms through reducing gut permeability (and thus inflammation), as well as interact with the central nervous system and calm adrenal activity!

So you'll want more of these helpful (probiotic) bacteria in your gut.

You do this by reducing foods that feed bad bacteria and kill off the good bacteria in your gut. As well as eating fermented foods (which contain probiotics) and feeding them with prebiotics. You can also get these as supplements.

Research indicates that changing our microbiotia may help shift our anxiety. Helping us feel calmer, or even more courageous.

So comment below what you're going to try first:
a) Grab a supplement with a few billion of the little guys?
b) Go on a tastebud adventure and try a new fermented food?

 

See this in video-form below: