Does depression lead to poor eating habits or do poor eating habits lead to depression?
Why do scientists say that stress is a key risk factor for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?
Is it really ridiculous to suggest that a healthy diet can relieve the symptoms of poor mental health?
In 1910 Dr George Porter Phillips was the first modern doctor to discover the link between healthy gut bacteria and mood.
He found that many of his patients suffering from depression also suffered from severe constipation, along with brittle nails, dull hair and a pale complexion.
It was widely assumed that the depression was the cause of all these physical health problems. But Dr Phillips wondered if the opposite might be true.
Was it possible to improve his patients' mood by changing their diet? He decided to test his theory on 18 of his patients simply by modifying their diet.
Phillips introduced foods into the diets of his patients which contained the "gut-friendly" lactobacillus bacteria. The results were incredible.
11 of his patients were completely cured and another two improved significantly. Phillips published his results in 1910 in the British Journal of Psychiatry in a paper titled The Treatment of Melancholia [a type of severe depression] by the Lactic Acid Bacillus.
He described how the lactobacillus bacteria benefited his patients: "(a) By diminishing the amount of toxins absorbed from the intestinal tract; (b) by promoting a rapid and easy assimilation of food material."
Phillips's patients gradually lost their depression, gained energy and their joints became more supple.
Four years later in 1914, New York pathologist Dr Bond Stow also wrote about this constant battle between "good" and "bad" bacteria in the intestine.
Rotting "bad" bacteria in the gut led to "foul breath, cold, clammy, moist hands and feet, headaches, flatulence, diarrhoea and more.
Flooding the digestive system with a constant daily supply of good "friendly" gut bacteria was the only way to combat the destructive effect that unhealthy gut bacteria were having on the body.
There are a number of foods that you can introduce into your diet to increase the amount of good gut bacteria in your body. One of these is raw unpasteurised honey.
In 2015 Professor Patricia Conway of the University of New South Wales, Australia, conducted a scientific study which concluded that raw honey led to a significant increase in good gut bacteria and a decrease in harmful gut bacteria in the digestive system.
"Levels of good bacteria decreased once the participants stopped taking the honey for a period of time,” she added.
Unlike commercially processed supermarket honey, raw honey is a living substance, alive with living nutrients, bacteria and microorganisms that continue to benefit the body long after it is eaten.
The two honeys from our range that we recommend for increasing the amount of healthy gut bacteria in your body are the 10+ Active Raw Organic Orange Blossom Honey from Mexico and the Raw Organic Rivera Gum Honey from Uruguay.
A teaspoon of honey mixed in a glass of cold or warm (not hot) water and drunk on an empty stomach first thing in the morning 30 minutes before breakfast is the most effective way to take raw honey for healing purposes.
The Rivera Gum is one of the world's purest eucalyptus honeys. A 2007 study at the University of Reading, UK, found that eucalyptus honey contained a significant number of prebiotics, which increase good gut bacteria.