Clarissa Lenherr is a Harley Street registered nutritionist and leading workplace wellbeing consultant. As a private nutritionist, Clarissa has helped hundreds of clients back to optimal health and she specialises in digestive health, auto-immune conditions, and hormone health. Her mission is to take the science of nutrition and convert it into easy to implement strategies so that her clients can achieve ultimate wellbeing.
4:30 - What is the enteric nervous system: the connection of nerve fibers in the gut is called the enteric nervous system (ENS) and it is sometimes called the second brain.
8:10 - The brain-gut connection: There is a bidirectional link between the central nervous system and the enteric nervous system in the gut.
12:50: The microbiome is a collection of bacteria that live in our gut. Some of them produce neurotransmitters including serotonin, GABA, and dopamine. 95% of serotonin, one of the most important hormones for mental health, is made in the gut. 70% of the immune system is in the gut which is why an unhealthy gut is often associated with poor immune health, autoimmune disease, and inflammation.
15:10 - Can stress, anxiety, and mental health disorders originate from the gut?
18:30 - How can we use nutrition to improve gut health and mood? Disclaimer: if you have a preexisting medical concern you should see a doctor or nutritionist
Tips to improve gut health and mood
- 30 grams of fiber per day (The average consumes only eats 18 grams) - It benefits digestive health, heart, and liver health. It feeds the good bacteria and can improve constipation dominant IBS.
- Prebiotic fibers are insoluble and they are hard to break down in the gut. It moves whole to the large intestine where the gut-bacteria eat them and produce by-products including short-chained fatty-acids (SCFA).
- Some prebiotic foods are: Artichokes, Asparagus, bananas, barley, berries, chicory, garlic, green vegetables
- Probiotics: food or supplements containing live-bacteria to support our microbiome. They can be found in fermented food like kefir and live yogurt, kombucha, sauerkraut and kimchi, tempeh, and soy. Can be used 3 times/week. Or take probiotics in supplement form.
- Start low and go slow: Too many fibers and probiotics can cause bloating and diarrhea so start slowly when increasing fiber intake.
- Red wine can be good for the microbiome in small quantities
Stay away from:
- Processed meats and processed food
- Contains lots of nitrate and unhealthy fats
- Sweeteners have been shown to reduce the diversity in the microbiome
- Stay away from chewing gum which contains a lot of sweeteners
- Be cautious with caffeine which can cause bloating and diarrhea
- Alcohol affects our absorption of nutritions and our mood and sleep.
- Refined sugar - less than 30 grams per day
30:20: Can food reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress? Simple diet changes to a whole-food, high in fruits and vegetables. Nutrients to support mental health:
- Omega-3: From fatty-fish like salmon and mackerel, chia seeds and walnuts
- Vitamin-3: diary milk-foods, eggs, mushrooms, and from the sunshine. As a supplement - recommended dose: 25-50 microgram/day.
35:10 Is intermittent-fasting good for gut-health and mood? Fasting can help the digestive system to fully clear out and reset.
Tips: Have 12-16 hours fasting period overnight (start low and go slow)
- 4-hour gaps between meals
- Reduce snacking (not for people with diabetes, pregnancy, or high-stress levels)
- You can have water, tea or black coffee
- Eat a balanced diet in the 8 hours - eat the colors of the rainbow, hydrate, and drink lots of water