The link between Gastrointestinal inflammation and depression

We have all heard the proverb “the way to a man's heart is through his stomach”. This is a tongue in cheek expression suggesting that if a woman is well versed in the kitchen then this will translate to a man falling in love with her. Perhaps what this is really suggesting is that a healthy home cooked diet is the one of the keys to contentment.

Nowadays diet, especially in the West has deteriorated from that of the past. No longer do people have the same connection with food. Most people don’t know how to cultivate crops, children don’t know the names of common vegetables and meat eaters only ever see meat in a packaged container in the supermarket. This food culture translates into people making very poor dietary choices thereby instigating a variety of health issues, which also go hand in hand with depression, one such example is Gastro-intestinal inflammation.

Gastro-intestinal inflammation is a result of the immune system attacking a harmless virus, bacteria, or food in the gut, causing inflammation that leads to bowel injury. Given that food nowadays is filled with chemical additives its unsurprising that the guts natural reaction is to attack the food being consumed. Abdominal cramps, diarrhoea, excess gas, loss of appetite, blood in stools and iron deficiency are some common symptoms.

Looking at the symptoms it is obviously to see how this could negatively affect a person’s lifestyle. Social situations would suddenly become stressful due to uncertainly of bowel control. Iron deficiency creates lethargy but overall just the general absence of being unable to enjoy your food and constantly being aware of your malfunctioning digestive system would make anyone feel down. As this condition is often a result of poor diet, these patients are most probably lacking the required amount of vitamins and minerals, which also effects brain function and mood.  ‘A Canadian research team following a group of more than 350 adults with IBD found that those with this illness were at least twice as likely to have experienced a depressive disorder at some point in their lifetime compared to those of similar age and background who did not have IBD, with rates of 27% compared to 12%.’ (Source: https://www.badgut.org/information-centre/a-z-digestive-topics/depression-and-ibd/)

Although I fortunately have no experience with IBD, I was inspired to try one method which has helped many thousands of people regain health. The documentary film “Fat, sick and nearly dead” follows an overweight man with a variety of health issues who, having reached near breaking point after consulting many health professionals and still feeling terrible decided to take matters into his own hands. He decided to do a 60 day juice fast, whereby for 60 days he drank only freshly made fruit and vegetable juice. The results were fascinating. After the 60 days his auto-immune disease had gone into remission, he had lost half his body weight, all his blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure levels normalised, however more significant was his change in mood and outlook on life. Suddenly he was re-energised, thinking clearer and much more optimistic about life.

I have done this juice fast on several occasions for 10 days, and overall I can say it was a very positive experience. Although I had no health issues to tackle I finished the fast feeling much lighter and clearer in mind. This is proof that by cleaning and healing our digestive system we create not only a healthier body, but a healthier mind. It is time that we start educating and conditioning children to make them understand that the idiom “You are what you eat” really is true and should be taken seriously and that many physical and mental health issues could be avoided by simply following a healthy diet.

Here is a link to the inspiring film that I recommend everyone watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-WUP5psyuM

http://atmavikasayoga.in #yogainmysore #atmavikasa #yogatherapyindia

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