Boost Your Emotional Health With A Plant-Based Diet

Plantie Picks

Montonale Orestilla 2017

This excellent wine from Italy is difficult to define, but in simpler terms, suffice it to say it has some of the...

Casanova di Neri Tenuta Nuova Brunello di Montalcino

An award-winning Brunello that just keeps getting better! On the nose, ripe red fruits, violets, licorice, herbs and tobacco, with hints of...

The Prisoner

According to The Prisoner Wine Company, this delicious red blend was inspired by the Italian immigrants who originally settled in Napa Valley....

You are what you eat, and so is your brain, which means so is your mood. How can a plant-based diet affect your emotional health? Let’s first define the term. 

Emotional health is your emotional intelligence plus your emotional resilience. Emotional intelligence includes your sense of self and self-awareness along with your ability to understand and communicate with others. And emotional resilience is your ability to process emotional states, let them pass, and move forward with your life.

What does any of this have to do with a plant based diet?

When talking about how to build unshakeable emotional health, I discuss five pillars: your psychology, your relationships, your nutrition, your sleep, and your exercise. A whole food, plant-based diet can go a long way to build the nutritional excellence necessary for strong emotional health.

couple-enjoying-plant-based-diet
Photo by drobotdean

Your “gut microbiome” is trillions of bacteria and other organisms that live in our gastrointestinal tract. They outnumber our own cells by a massive margin. We often think of ourselves as a single entity, but research shows that microbes in our gut are actually responsible for many of our necessary body functions. We’re more like super-organisms. We give the microbes a place to live, and they provide us optimal body function.

Related Article: A Gut Feeling: Why Tummy Health Is Crucial

One of those functions includes the gut-brain axis.

The link between our gut and our brain is significant. Did you know that 90% of our neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers that drive our nervous system, are actually generated in our gut?. Serotonin, for instance, is important for mood regulation, sleep, memory, appetite regulation, and more. About 90% of that serotonin in our body comes from our gut. Taking care of our gut health and brain health go hand-in-hand.

women-eating-plant-based-diet
Photo by Pablo Merchán Montes 

When we look at which foods foster the right types of bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract, research indicates fiber is the single most important nutrient. Also, fiber isn’t just helpful for allowing us to poop. Fiber that was previously thought to be insoluble (because humans can’t create the enzymes to break them down) is actually being digested by our gut microbes. And in return, it provides us with short-chain fatty acids that serve a variety of functions in the body: regulate metabolism, reduce inflammation, correct dysbiosis, optimize the immune system, improve blood sugar regulation, and improved cognition.

Related Article: Our Top 5 Plant-Based Comfort Foods

To create a more vibrant gut microbiome, also, it is important to consume a wide variety of whole plant foods to diversify your sources of fiber. The greater the variety of whole plants, the greater the diversity of healthy gut bacteria.

A diverse, vibrant gut microbiome will, among other things, provide us a high level of neurotransmitter function and cognition. And if our nervous system is functioning optimally, we’re more in charge of our thoughts and feelings, leading to stronger more resilient emotional health.

Best Microbiome GIFs | Gfycat

How many varieties of whole plants have you eaten today? Try to challenge yourself to include more, and enjoy the benefits of unshakeable emotional health.

Featured

Managing Circadian Rhythms: Are You Working With or Against Your Natural Sleep Cycle?

Anyone who’s ever Googled “Why am I so tired?” or taken a biology class has heard about circadian rhythms. They’re our bodies’...

The Lowdown on Intuitive Eating: What It Is and How to Do It

Move over diet culture! You've had your time in the sun, and we're done with you. We're on to bigger and (much)...

Trouble Sleeping? Try Adding These 6 Foods to Your Diet

It may feel as if caffeine can solve your every problem, but nothing beats the natural buzz of a good night’s sleep—but...

Why Self-Care Isn’t Selfish (But It Can Be Boring)

Do you roll your eyes at the phrase “self-care?” You’re not alone. We don’t all have time for bath bombs and face...

Tips and Tricks for Succeeding in Veganuary (And How to Thrive Plant-Based Year-Round)

If you're reading this, there's a good chance you've heard of Veganuary — and if not, don't worry. That's why we're here. 

More For You