• Kelly O'Donnell

Tired of being in a bad mood? This can help…

What is your Gut telling you?

We all know that on some level our emotions are linked to our gut. We have a “gut feeling”, or “butterflies in our stomachs”. We lose our appetite when something emotional or traumatic happens. We eat for comfort. The more I learn about the gut, the more I am convinced that it plays a big role in our emotions.

We all know about our central nervous system – the brain and the spinal cord. But many people are unaware that there is a second nervous system – the enteric nervous system – in the gastrointestinal tract. It is our second brain. It operates independently of our brain and spinal cord.


What is the Enteric Nervous System?

The enteric nervous system is a network of approximately 500 million neurons within the gut wall (esophagus to anus.) What is really amazing is that, just like the brain in our heads, the brain in our gut produces hormones and neurotransmitters. In fact, the enteric nervous system produces 50% of dopamine, and 95% of serotonin – those are the feel good neurotransmitters! These neurochemicals regulate appetite and feelings of fullness and digestion. This has huge implications for treatment of depression and many other diseases.


I see it all the time. People clean up their diet and their mood and outlook on life significantly improves. I believe this is directly linked to the enteric nervous system. A healthy gut leads to a healthy mind.

So, what can we do to make sure the gut is in good shape?


1. Eat clean, healthy, organic foods.


2. Pay attention to how different foods effect your moods. AND stop eating the food that puts you in a bad mood!


3. Eat more fermented foods such as;

tempeh (fermented soybeans) miso (fermented soybean paste) sourkraut, yogurt kefir (drinkable yogurt) kombucha (a fermented effervescent tea) kimchi (spicy Korean fermented veggies).


4. Take high quality probiotics from a reputable source – not all of them are created equal.


5. Eat foods with plenty of fiber.


6. Stay away from unhealthy fats and especially sugar!