Your diet can determine your mental state: HCFI

11:47 am Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine, Social Health Community

It is imperative to keep the gut microbiome healthy with foods that aid metabolism and digestion

New Delhi, 8th May 2019: A new study has indicated that people who suffer from depression are also likely to face gastrointestinal distress. It says that both the conditions are triggered by the same glitch in neuron chemistry-low serotonin. Up to a third of people with depression have chronic constipation. Few studies also report that people with depression, rate their accompanying bowel difficulties as one of the biggest factors reducing their quality of life.

As per a recent report by the World Health Organization, India is the world’s most depressed country with every 6th Indian suffering from mental illness. The need of the hour is to raise awareness on the importance of a healthy diet in alleviating the symptoms of depression.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “The stomach can be called as the ‘second brain’. The gut is teeming with about 300 to 600 species of different bacteria that perform a whole host of beneficial functions. These include boosting the immune system, aiding in metabolism and digestion, and helping in neurotransmission and signaling in the brain. Any significant alterations in the type or number of these bacterial colonies may lead to ‘inflammation of the body, a process that can contribute to many diseases such as depression. While whole, high fibre foods improve the health of these bacterial colonies, processed, high sugar foods alter these colonies. Thus, an ideal diet plan for managing depression should be woven around healthy fats (the omega-3s) and foods that aid a healthy microbiome or gut flora.”

The anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids have benefits that extend not only to the body but also parts of the brain linked to depression. In the same way, a healthy gut flora can help improve mood swings, increase our overall sense of well-being by directly impacting the immune system.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “Quantum physics explains that the mechanism of depression and anxiety can be an imbalance between understanding the way particle duality functions. Balancing this can further help in treating depression and other such mental disorders. The parasympathetic nervous system plays a vital role in maintaining both mental and physical health by helping the body to calm down from stress reactions that elevate blood pressure, dilate the pupils, and divert energy from other body processes to fighting or fleeing.”

HCFI tips to practice a parasympathetic lifestyle

  • Include foods that support your system Consume a diet based on whole foods. This includes green leafy vegetables, quality protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates.
  • Hydrate the body adequately staying hydrated will help the lymphatic system flush out toxins and remove the metabolic waste out of the body. This is essential to detoxify, nourish, and regenerate tissue.
  • Include some physical activity Exercise is positive physiological stress for the body. Yoga, for example, is known to accrue great benefits to both the mind and body.
  • Practice mindfulness this includes a combination of practices, habits, thoughts, and behaviours to help you get through your daily life. Mindfulness means intentionally and actively seeking to lower the body’s response to stress.

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