Happy Gut = Happy Brain
We regularly refer to our gut as an intuitive inner guide – and with good reason. Our gut actually acts as a “second brain.” It speaks to our “skull brain,” chatting back and forth via a network of neurons, chemicals and hormones.
Because our skull brain and gut/second brain are so chummy, you need to take good care of your “gut health” in order to take good care of your brain’s health.
If your gut health is lousy your brain will suffer too.
A recent study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital discovered many interconnections between gut bacteria and brain inflammation. If you’ve ever noticed that after a huge meal your brain feels foggy, that’s because of the interconnections between your gut and brain. In fact, gut health is now being linked to mental issues including dementia, thought clarity, and mood.
Research has shown that serotonin (aka The Happy Hormone) has its highest concentrations in the gut. Meaning? A powerful way to elevate your mood, is to make sure you get your gut happy!
TOOLS TO GET A HAPPY GUT / HAPPY BRAIN:
- Recognize that probiotics and prebiotics are your guts best buddies. Probiotics provide live strains of friendly bacteria which are essential for digestive, immune and neurological health. Prebiotics provide a nurturing environment for friendly flora to thrive. Many doctors recommend taking probiotics and prebiotics in pill form – which is very effective. You can also get probiotics and prebiotics from certain foods.
GOOD FOOD SOURCES: Live cultured yogurt and miso soup are big on the list. So are our fermented friends Kombucha, sauerkraut and kefir. Also garlic, onions, sprouted-grain breads, avocado and peas are each considered good prebiotic rich foods.
2. Make sure you have a healthy acid-alkaline balance. Cut back on red meat, processed foods and cheese – and increase your veggie intake.
GOOD FOOD SOURCES: Leafy greens, root vegetables (especially radishes), broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and even some peppers, such as cayenne! Also, although fresh lemons and raw organic apple cider vinegar might seem acidic, they help you become beautifully alkaline. Mix these into a glass of water and drink in the morning.
3. Watch your blood sugar levels. When they get high, they increase inflammatory chemicals in your gut which then leads to brain decline. (Click here for more about the dangers of sugar and how to stop sugar addiction.)