Treating Anxiety with Nutrition - interview with Hannah Jones

Treating Anxiety with Nutrition - interview with Hannah Jones

Image: from Instagram by @nutrition_with_Hannah

This month we talk to Hannah Jones a Nutritionist based in beautiful Coffs Harbour in NSW.

From an early age Hannah was interested in healthy ways to eat, but when she had to deal with her own anxiety she found herself researching ways to fix herself and noticed a huge connection between what we eat and how we feel. This sparked her journey to do a degree in nutrition with continuous on-going research on this, as well as kickstarting her own wellness lifestyle.

Can you tell us a bit more about this journey to wellness and where it's led you to today?

Hannah: It’s actually quite personal for me to share that I experienced anxiety for a long time over a 10 yr period, but I hope by sharing my story I can help other people who also suffer from anxiety find a solution. 

I was able to control my anxiety through herbal supplementation and support from a Naturopath, but every now and then it would rear its ugly head. In one of these low moments I began researching what could make me feel better because I just really wanted to fix myself. This is when I discovered the gut and brain connection. I became a bit obsessed about it and spent all my waking time researching this. Through my research I saw a strong correlation between IBS and mental health issues. As I also suffered from gut issues I started to see the strong correlation between gut issues and how people feel mentally.

Most people think that serotonin, the happy hormone, is made in the brain, but actually more than 70% of serotonin is made in the gut, and is sent to the brain through our nervous system. The game changer for me was when I researched that candida, a gut bacteria that everyone has, can turn into an overgrowth form and wreck severe havoc, including preventing serotonin from reaching the brain. I knew that candida issues ran in my family and could be the root cause of my anxiety. 

So I started a very strict anti-candida diet to get rid of the overgrowth, while also using probiotics and other natural supplements. After a few months the overgrowth died down and I was able to re-introduce normal foods back into my diet. 

Even though I was already feeling better mentally, I still continued to research this topic and it reignited my passion for nutrition. So I decided to do a university degree to study it, and to be able to help other people with the same problems who don’t know about the connection between nutrition and our mental health.

I’ve always preferred a holistic approach to health and rather treat the cause through better diet, exercise and lifestyle than just treat symptoms with prescribed medication.

Fern: Wow, what a journey and thank you for sharing this with us. I love how you've turned something that was a problem into a journey of discovery and learning while also now being able to help others with everything you've learnt!

Next week we talk to Hannah about holistic nutrition and how we should think about what and when we feed ourselves.

Hannah is a professional Nutritionist who specialises in holistic gut health, nutritional therapy, dietary education and diet plans. She is committed to forming relationships with patients looking to lose or manage their weight, create individualised diet plans, and much more. Hannah is here to improve her clients' quality of life - you can reach her at nutritionwithhannah.com or follow her on Instagram @nutrition_with_hannah.