Healthy gut – healthy mind

You might be shocked to learn that there is a direct link between your mind and gut. Maintaining a positive mindset creates a healthy gut/brain connection. However, never underestimate the fact that your gut also has a dramatic effect on your mind. What is taking place in your gut determines not only your brain’s daily functions but also governs your risk for developing future neurological conditions.

the gut controls future health problems

Within your intestines, natural organisms thrive. The microbiome participates and helps control your body functions such as your immune system, detoxification process, inflammation, vitamin production, nutrient absorption, and neurotransmitter abilities. Microbes affect whether you feel hungry or full. They also have a strong influence on how your system utilizes carbohydrates and fat. All these functions appear to be crucial in determining if you will experience chronic health problems such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, dementia, ADHD, allergies, asthma, or certain types of cancer, according to a report by NIH News in Health.

gut microbiome affects mood and libido

Your body’s microbiome affects your mood and libido. Many researchers also believe that the microbes in your gut influence your perceptions of the world. A healthy gut gives your mind clearer thoughts and your emotions are less likely to swing. The gut’s microbiome also controls anxiety, concentration, headaches, and your positive/negative outlook on life.

gut bacteria and brain communication

The balance between the gut and the brain is a two-way street. Within the intestinal tract is the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve extends from the abdomen to the brain stem. The nerve is responsible for directing many body functions that require no thought such as your heartbeat and digestion. The bacteria within the gut directly affect the nerves.  Both the microbes and the gut’s nerve cells release neurotransmitters to speak clearly to the brain.

serotonin and the gut

The neurons are so innumerable within the gut that many scientists are calling it the body’s, ‘second brain.’ The neurons also secrete 80 to 90 percent of the body’s serotonin (a so-called ‘feel good’ transmitter). The gut makes far more serotonin then the brain which is leading many physicians and scientists to turn to dietary modification to change mood instead of prescription antidepressants.

improving your brain’s function through diet

If your intestine is troubled, it sends a message to your brain. Most people know that certain physical conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are made worse by anxiety, but what they do not realise is that depression, stress, and anxiety can also be made worse by a distressed stomach or intestine. Nourishing your gut microbiome with healthy foods boost the intestinal environment. The positive and fully functioning gut then sends messages through nerve pathways to the brain that all is running smoothly. The good news and balance help improve your brain’s function and give you a more positive outlook.

You might be wondering how you can improve your gut’s microbiome. Eating a healthy diet is critical. One thing to remember is that to create balance in your body you must nourish the gut bacteria. Avoid overusing antibiotics which can kill off beneficial microbes. When needed, the shortest antibiotic treatment option is usually the best.

Here are a few foods that you might want to consider adding to your diet on a regular basis:

  • Fatty Fish
  • Lean Protein
  • Whole Grains
  • Yogurt or Kefir (with live cultures)
  • Leafy Greens
  • Fruits
  • Fermented Foods

gut bacteria and your mental/physical health

Around the world, physicians, researchers, and scientist have started to take notice and study gut bacteria and its effect on your overall health and mental state. Here are just a few findings: 

1.     Cancer: A study by PLOS ONE was published in 2016 and provided evidence that a strain of bacteria called Lactobacillus johnsonii appears to protect against certain cancers. Mice who suffered from lymphomas, leukaemia, and other cancers were given the bacteria and the mice developed lymphoma only half as quickly as the other mice in the study who were not given the bacteria.

2.     Immune System: Science published the findings of a study carried out by the University of Chicago that involved the use of a bacteria found in the digestive tract to attack tumor cells. The bacteria functioned as well as certain anti-cancer drugs called checkpoint inhibitors, according to a report by the Harvard Medical School.

3.     Heart Disease: The gut bacterial strain Akkermansia muciniphila has been shown to prevent inflammation that contributes to arterial plaque buildup and coronary artery disease. The bacteria block toxins within the gut from entering the bloodstream. The bacteria also reduce inflammation throughout the body.

4.     Rheumatoid Arthritis: The Mayo Clinic undertook two studies that show that gut bacteria predict a person’s susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Certain types of bacteria are higher in RA sufferers but low in non-RA individuals. In one study, mice treated with bacterium Prevotella histicola exhibited less severe and frequent inflammatory conditions which are known to be a contributing factor in RA, according to a study, published online by the Mayo Clinic.

Your gut and brain communicate with each other. Keeping those lines of communication open and maintaining a healthy gut and a healthy brain helps improve your overall physical health and cognitive abilities.