A new study examined how changing your diet and taking prebiotic supplements may help improve your mental health.
The researchers wanted to see if a high-prebiotic diet and probiotic supplements would help people with moderate psychological distress and low prebiotic food intake feel better.
A high-prebiotic diet is a way of eating that includes foods that are rich in prebiotics.
Prebiotics are a type of fiber that cannot be digested by the human body but can be fermented by the beneficial bacteria in the gut, helping them to grow and flourish.
Some examples of foods that are high in prebiotics include chicory root, Jerusalem artichokes, garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, bananas, oats, and apples.
By consuming a high-prebiotic diet, you can promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut, which may have positive effects on your overall health, including improved digestion, immune function, and possibly even mental health.
The study had four groups of people:
The first group took probiotic supplements and continued with their usual diet, the second group followed a high-prebiotic diet but took a placebo supplement,
The third group followed both the high-prebiotic diet and took probiotic supplements, and the fourth group took a placebo supplement and continued with their usual diet.
The researchers measured the participants’ mood, anxiety, depression, stress, sleep, and overall well-being at the beginning of the study and again after 8 weeks.
They found that people who followed the high-prebiotic diet had lower levels of total mood disturbance than those who took the placebo supplement.
However, the probiotic and synbiotic treatments did not show much improvement in mental health outcomes.
People who followed the high-prebiotic diet also reported improvements in their anxiety, stress, and sleep, while those who took the probiotic supplement reported a slight improvement in well-being.
All the treatments were safe and had few side effects.
In conclusion, a high-prebiotic diet may help improve your mood, anxiety, stress, and sleep if you have moderate psychological distress and low prebiotic food intake.
However, more research is needed to determine the effects of synbiotic treatment, and the results of this study may be limited because there were not many participants.
What to eat to protect your mental health
Eating a healthy and balanced diet that includes a variety of foods can help protect your mental health. Here are some general tips on what to eat to support your mental health:
Eat a variety of nutrient-rich foods: A balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can help provide the nutrients that support brain health.
Include omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, as well as in walnuts and flaxseeds, have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects that may benefit brain health.
Choose complex carbohydrates: Complex carbohydrates found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are important sources of energy for the brain and can help stabilize blood sugar levels.
Eat probiotics and prebiotics: Probiotics, found in fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, and kimchi, and prebiotics, found in foods such as onions, garlic, and bananas, can help support gut health, which has been linked to better mental health.
Limit processed and sugary foods: Processed and sugary foods can cause inflammation in the body, which has been linked to mental health issues.
Remember, a healthy diet is just one aspect of taking care of your mental health. Regular exercise, good sleep, and stress management are also important for overall well-being.
The research is published in Frontiers in Neuroscience and was conducted by Tanya M Freijy et al.
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