Hippocrates, known as the Father of Medicine, made the call somewhere in the 400 B.C’.s. “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Even though we often think of medicine as potions and pills that come in expensive little bottles, the latest research is reminding us that nutrition is one of the pillars of wellness. The food that we eat is a potent factor in both physical and mental health.
The chemistry of emotional wellness begins not in the first brain, but in the second brain: the gut. The precious neurotransmitters that regulate mood in the brain’s pathways depend on digestion in a well functioning gut for their production. Some call the gut a “garden” that produces our body’s microbiome. In this garden, healthy bacteria keep things in balance and regulate whether toxins or nutrients are allowed into our bloodstream.
Integrating the latest research into designing and maintaining our own healthy lifestyles, requires some study, and can be an important adjunct to the advice and guidance of our health care professionals. I have found The Good Mood Kitchen, by Leslie Horn, PhD, to be a source both readable and rich in resources. orn, PhD. Dr. Korn , a Harvard Medical School clinical fellow, writes from her perspective as a clinical traumatologist and behavioral therapist, and is also an NIH funded researcher in Mind/Body Medicine.
Yesterday I was eating a bratwurst at the ballpark. I piled on a lot of probiotic kraut—good food for the gut. I was not thinking of Hippocrates, but it was all good medicine for the body and especially for the mind!