The Link Between Chronic Stress, Inflammation, Gut Health, and Mood

When stress in your everyday life becomes unregulated, chronic inflammation is created. Unregulated inflammation for some people may look something like staying in bed, isolated, or eating your favorite comfort food. From a biological perspective, these behaviors make total sense. The immune defense is breached leaving your body to believe you are sick. Your body tells you you must rest to conserve energy so you can fight off a suspected infection. You then want to stay away from other people to prevent the spread of the suspected infection. Even if your lows don’t quite get to that extent, decreased ability to concentrate, decreased memory, and decreased overall mood are side effects of inflammation. Chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and obesity are also influenced by the wrath of inflammation. The food we choose can either help or hinder the solution to mental and physical diseases.

There’s been a lot of buzz on gut-brain connection recently and for a good reason. The gut-brain connection links the cognitive and emotional centers of the brain with the functions of the intestines. The intestines are also home to your gut microbiome and they are the stars of the gut-brain connection.

Your microbiome is a diverse population of essential bacteria, viruses, yeast, and other friends that call our gut home. Wait, aren’t bacteria and viruses bad? In a well-colonized gut, checks and balances are well established for the most beneficial microbes to flourish and the harmful intruders to be managed. These microbes have the ability to send messages and neuroactive substances (like serotonin and dopamine) through brain-gut access. Your microbiome also has a significant role in regulating the immune system, the manager of inflammation. The evidence is becoming increasingly supportive that chronic stress response negatively influences the presence of depression and anxiety due to the influence stress has on the gut microbiota.

It’s about the small changes that build onto each other
slowly and sustainably!!!

Creating a Healthy and Well Balanced Gut Microbiome

Prebiotic and Probiotic foods are the best way to nurture your microbiome. Prebiotics feed the bacteria that have a hand in releasing neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. Prebiotics are foods high in insoluble fiber like fruit, vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts, and sweet potatoes. Probiotics are fermented foods like kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir and yogurt.

The next key players in Mood Food Nutrition Therapy are the micronutrients outlined in the Antidepressant Food Scale. Nutrient quality is newly associated with mental and brain health. According to a systematic review published in the World Journal of Psychiatry, 12 nutrients were identified with clinical evidence to support their role in improving depressive dis­orders. These nutrients are Folate, iron, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), magnesium, potassium, selenium, thiamine, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, and zinc. According to LaChance L. et al, the foods with the most punch are “bivalves such as oysters and mussels, various seafood, and organ meats for animal foods. The highest scoring plant foods were leafy greens, lettuces, peppers, and cruciferous vegetables.” These foods may sound familiar to foods that have already been established as heart-healthy foods. That is because the same eating pattern noted as being heart healthy like healthy fats, colorful produce, and whole grains are found to be not only good for our physical health but our mental health.

I get it! Knowing what the key nutrients are will not be enough to build confidence to implement them into your diet. The idea of implementing new foods may even be overwhelming or confusing. It doesn’t have to be! Mood Food Nutrition Therapy will support you in obtaining your goals!


Follow This Easy Step by Step Process!

  • Start where you are!  
  • Observe what you are already doing right. 
  • Now, where can you enhance the nutrient density of your current eating pattern? Maybe you add spinach to your smoothie or decide to order the fish tacos over your usual chicken.

It’s about the small changes that build onto each other slowly and sustainably!!!

How Mood Food Nutrition Therapy Can Benefit You!

Mood Food Nutrition Therapy combines evidence-based nutrition interventions to improve your microbiome and ensure adequate stores of key nutrients with behavior and mindset strategies. My goal is to build confidence to shift ingrained habits and beliefs regarding what and how you eat, especially when you aren’t feeling your best. Learn to love your relationship with food and bring enjoyment back to the food choices you make.

Antidepressant Foods: An evidence-based nutrient profiling system for depression.

Eat to Beat Depression and Anxiety: Nourish Your Way to Better Mental Health in Six Weeks Ramsey, MD, D., 2021. Eat to Beat Depression and Anxiety. 1st ed. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

The psychobiotic Revolution: mood, food, and the new science of the gut-brain connection
Anderson, S., Cryan, Ph.D., J., Dinan,MD, T., 2017. The Psychobiotic Revolution. Washington DC: National Geographic Partners.

Locations Served

Our office is located in St. Petersburg, Florida, and offer our services in the State of Florida. For your convenience, we offer in-person and virtual appointments.

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