Our mood, digestion, and immune system are interconnected. They each affect the other, which is great news, because there are specific things we can do to improve our mood and digestion, which in turn supports the health of our whole system. What we eat can directly affect our mood. Gut-brain studies in gastroenterology have proven that there is two-way communication between the digestive system and the brain. This means that the foods and nutrients we digest have a direct impact on our brain function. They can change how we think and feel. Our mood changes our immune system function. Affective immunology studies have shown that positive moods increase the function of our immune system, and negative moods have a negative effect. Therefore chronic stress, depression, and feeling isolated can all impact our immune system. There are specific things we can do to support the balance and health of our mood, digestion, and immune system.
- Eat locally and seasonally. Local foods help our system learn the microbes that are in our local environment, and seasonal foods support our bodies as they adjust to the changing conditions of each season.
- Eat mindfully. Choose to pay attention to your food as you eat. This helps tune your mood and digestion in to the nutrients you are receiving and improves digestion.
- Eat socially. Being with people you love while you eat can improve your mood and support the health of your whole system. Video cooking with others is a socially distanced option too!
- Practice relaxation. A simple meditation or mindfulness practice can support your mood and digestion.
Mood, digestion, and immune function are all connected and affect each other. Most of the immune system lives in the gut, and the gut communicates with the brain. Taking simple steps to support mood and digestion can therefore have large positive effects for health as they help bring it all into balance.