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Did you know? People with IBS are three times more likely to have anxiety or depression!
You’re dealing with unpredictable digestive discomfort, embarrassing toilet habits, and often feel like your doctor isn’t taking your condition seriously.
Your quality of life has been reduced, you avoid social situations for fear of your symptoms acting up, and your list of ‘safe’ foods is getting smaller by the day.
It’s really not surprising then, that you may also be struggling with poor mental health alongside your IBS.
How IBS is linked to stress and anxiety
While there’s still a lot to learn, the connection between the central nervous system (your brain) and the enteric nervous system (your gut) – AKA the gut-brain axis – plays an important role in the functioning of the digestive system and maintaining good mental health.
This flow of information between the gut and the brain is bi-directional – it moves both ways and can become a vicious circle. Stress can exacerbate IBS symptoms, and distressing symptoms can increase feelings of anxiety and lead to depression, indicating that mental health issues are both a cause and consequence of IBS.
Don’t suffer in silence, please seek help from your doctor if you’re feeling overwhelmed by anxiety and depression. There are a number of evidence-based therapies including CBT, gut-directed hypnotherapy, and mindfulness practice that have been shown to be effective in the treatment of IBS.
Meanwhile, load your plate up with these five vegan, low FODMAP foods to support your mental health:
Why? Because *folate* helps to regulate your mood, your ability to think clearly, and your ability to experience pleasure.
Other #veganlowfodmap food sources of folate are edamame, canned lentils and broccoli.
Avocados (1/4 of a fruit)
Why? Because low levels of *vitamin E* have been linked to depression.
Other vegan, low FODMAP food sources of vitamin E are almonds (up to 10 nuts for #lowfodmap), sunflower seeds and almond milk.
Why? Because *iron* is needed for the production of serotonin and dopamine – two key neurotransmitters that help regulate your mood.
Other vegan, low FODMAP food sources of iron are firm tofu, tempeh, spinach, and dark chocolate – woohoo!
Fermented Foods (like kimchi – 1/4 cup is low FODMAP)
Why? Because a diverse *gut microbiota* supports optimal brain health.
Other vegan, low FODMAP fermented foods are miso and non-dairy kefir.
Dark Chocolate (70%+ cocoa content)
Why? Because *flavanols* increase mental focus.
There’s no substitute for cocoa flavanols 😉
Remember: food first! Supplements aren’t nearly as tasty or effective.