7. Microbiotics

Research shows a connection between the bacteria in our guts and brain health, which may affect mental health. When the composition of the gut microbiota is less than optimal, it can result in inflammatory responses that may negatively affect the nervous system and brain function.

A balanced microfloral environment is supported by a diet rich in the foods that nourish beneficial bacteria and reduce harmful microbial species, such as Helicobacter pylori. Beneficial microflora can be supported by eating fermented foods such as tempeh, sauerkraut, kefir and yoghurt, and also by pectin-rich foods such as fruit skin.


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What now?

Diets high in sugary, fatty and processed foods are associated with depression and poor brain health. While nutrient supplementation can have a role in maintaining proper brain function and treating certain psychiatric disorders, nutrients should, in the first instance, be consumed as part of a balanced wholefood diet.

There is now enough research evidence to show the importance of nutrients for mental as well as physical well-being. A discussion about diet and nutrition should be the starting point in conversations about mental health, just as it is for physical health.

If you’re interested in participating in a clinical trial prescribing nutrients for treating depression (SE Queensland and Victoria only), visit nutrientsdepressionstudy.

Acknowledgement: Dr Drew Ramsey contributed to this article.

The Conversation

Jerome Sarris, Senior Research Fellow, University of Melbourne

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.