The Second Brain, AKA The Gut

Wednesday May 1, 2019 comments

For years, we’ve known the systems of the body are all interconnected. One system can cause drastic changes in another. But what has only recently come to light is the dramatic connection between a person’s brain and stomach.

For instance, we have known that serotonin, a neurotransmitter produced in the brain, is responsible for regulating your sleep and also for producing feelings of happiness. But what is just being realized is that these same neurotransmitters are produced in the gut as well.

Let’s take a look at how these two areas connect in different ways:

Gut health and how it relates to anxiety and depression

As we’ve mentioned, many studies through the years have shown a connection between depression and a lack of serotonin. As a result of this study, many doctors have prescribed (and over-prescribed) anti-depressants to boost the serotonin levels. However, these same neurotransmitters are produced in the gut. This has led researchers to believe that improving diet and the microbiomes of the stomach could help treat disorders such as anxiety and depression.

 

Physical, behavioral and emotional symptoms

Numerous studies show exactly how stress can cause different symptoms. Physically, having stress-related gut issues can cause stiff muscles, headaches, insomnia, tremors, weight fluctuations, restlessness, and a loss of sex drive.

There are also behavioral symptoms such as procrastination, difficulty focusing (especially on work tasks), teeth grinding, withdrawal, and use of unhealthy alternatives/coping mechanisms (such as tobacco and alcohol).

Emotionally, those suffering from these problems may not be able to relax and may be quick to anger, show depression and anxiety, and may cry or have trouble remembering or focusing mentally.

 

Foods that improve your mental wellness

There are five main foods that have been shown to improve your mental wellness. The first of these is fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, which can provide you with omega-3 fatty acids.

Complex carbohydrates are better than simple ones because they slowly release the glucose that your body needs instead of giving you one big surge. In order to get this, you should eat more whole grains and less processed carbohydrates.

Protein is another important component of any diet, but you should avoid fatty proteins and instead go for lean ones such as turkey, chicken, eggs, fish, and beans.

The fourth main food type is leafy greens. Foods such as spinach, arugula, and kale are good sources of folic acid.

The final food to add for better health in the brain and the gut is yogurt with active cultures, which leads us to our last point—the importance of probiotics and prebiotics.

 

Probiotics and prebiotics

Probiotics and prebiotics are two different components that help keep your gut healthy. Probiotics are bacteria that help you digest food better and break it down properly. These can be found in yogurt with active cultures.

Prebiotics are the plant-based fiber that helps your probiotic bacteria to function properly. The common sources for these include bananas, onions, and asparagus.

 

Getting yourself healthy isn’t just a single-front battle. It involves engaging multiple areas of your well being including the gut and the brain. By setting up an appointment with Shakti Whole Health Studio, you can harness the transformative powers of this new research and bring your body into alignment.



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