The answer is: Yes! As we learn more about our gut microbiome, otherwise known as our “gut,” it’s becoming increasingly clear that there is a strong connection between it and our brain. What you put in your stomach will ultimately affect your emotions and potentially other long-term health conditions. Continue reading to explore the role our gut plays in our mood, and some natural remedies to improve that connection
How Does our Gut Affect How We’re Feeling?
The gut microbiome contains the enteric nervous system, which lines the gastrointestinal tract to help digest food. The enteric nervous system is known as “the second brain” because its cells also help us feel and understand what’s happening inside our gut. Therefore, it does speak to the brain in many ways!
Can the Gut Affect Our Long-Term Health?
Our gut is directly connected to certain conditions and disorders. For example, stress is linked to our gut. The body reacts to stress as a type of infection it needs to fight. Constant stress causes inflammation, and because inflammation is at the root of many diseases, long periods of stress on the body can have serious health consequences. The gut is even linked to certain disorders like depression, Parkinson’s disease, and autism.
Improve Your Gut-Brain Connection Naturally
Essentially, researchers have found that with an improvement of the gut comes an improvement of mental well-being. Here are our recommendations for natural ways to improve the connection between your gut and your brain for a better physical and mental state of health.
- Avoid processed foods – these are inflammatory and can lead to chronic health conditions. Shop on the perimeter of a store where all the organic veggies and wild caught fish typically reside.
- Eat probiotic-rich foods – sauerkraut, coconut kefir, brine cured olives, apple cider vinegar, pickles, and Kombucha are a few help your gut and mood thrive
- Remove gluten from your diet – Harvard studies have shown link between gluten and brain inflammation in gluten sensitive patients. Gluten can be very hard on your gut, so eliminating it is better overall for your gut microbiome and brain health.
- Eat healthy fats – Olive oil, Avocados, MCT or Coconut oil, and Macadamia Nuts lead to increased brain development and well as being an anti-inflammatory.
- Eat mushrooms – high in vitamin B6 which helps improve mood and reduce stress
- Eat nuts – Macadamia nuts, Almonds, Walnuts and Pecans are full of serotonin, a feel-good chemical
- Eat sesame seeds – contain tyrosine, an amino acid that boosts the brain’s dopamine levels
Looking for additional advice on long-term health? Contact Hughes Center for Functional Medicine at (239) 649-7400 today!