Better than Prozac: How Beans Make Serotonin and Lift Your Mood
Beans are often considered a boring and plain food that people eat only because they are trying to be healthy.
However, you might be surprised to learn that beans can actually make you happy!
This is because of their impact on our microbiome and the production of short chain fatty acids and serotonin.
Firstly, let's talk about our microbiome.
Our gut is home to trillions of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms, collectively known as the microbiome. The health of our microbiome is crucial for our overall health and wellbeing.
Studies have shown that consuming a variety of plant-based foods, including beans, can help to promote a diverse and healthy microbiome.
When we eat beans, they pass through our digestive system relatively intact. This means that they make it to the colon, where they become food for our gut bacteria.
The bacteria in our gut ferment the fiber in beans, producing a variety of beneficial compounds, including short chain fatty acids (SCFAs).
SCFAs are important for our health because they help to reduce inflammation, support the immune system, and regulate metabolism. But that's not all - studies have also shown that SCFAs can have a positive impact on mental health. For example, one study found that when SCFAs were administered to mice, they exhibited reduced anxiety and depression-like behaviors.
But how do SCFAs impact our mood? It turns out that they play a role in the production of serotonin - a neurotransmitter that is often referred to as the "happy hormone."
Serotonin is involved in regulating mood, appetite, and sleep, among other things. Low levels of serotonin have been linked to depression and anxiety. When we have healthy levels of SCFAs in our gut, it can lead to increased production of serotonin, which in turn can improve our mood and overall wellbeing.
So, the next time you are feeling down, consider adding some beans to your diet. Not only are they nutritious and filling, but they can also have a positive impact on your microbiome, SCFA production, and serotonin levels - all of which can contribute to a happier and healthier you!
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