From Microbes to Mental Health: Connecting Your Gut to Your Head

Did you ever wonder why so much of how we feel registers in our stomach? Terms like butterflies in our stomach, or a gut feeling, or gut wrenching experiences are all tell tale signs of how our gut has feelings too. So what?

The trillions of bacterial cells in our gut support our immune function as well as our mental states by communicating directly with our brain and nervous system. Recent scientific breakthroughs demonstrate that these cells, called our gut microbiome, can affect how well we deal with stress and anxiety. Knowing the connection between our gut and our feelings provides us strategies to manage and care for this intricate network.

The Gut Brain Axis

Scientific research shows us that a bi-directional communication takes place between the gut microbiome and the brain via what is termed the gut-brain axis. Studies indicate that both anxiety and depression can have the root of their issues in the gut.
But what is the Gut-Brain Axis exactly? The gut–brain axis refers to the biochemical signaling taking place between the gastrointestinal tract and the nervous system, often involving intestinal microbiota, which have been shown to play an important role in healthy brain function.

So how to get started? Here is a list of 5 diet and nutritional tips to reset your digestive health.

1. Remove the allergens and the foods that cause inflammation.

The main culprits to look at with respect to your diet are soy, wheat, dairy, nightshades, some dairy, eggs, soy, sugars, refined foods, alcohol, preservatives and additives. Prepare a food diary and record what foods you eat and how you feel.

2. Avoid gluten from grains and casein from dairy if you have digestive complaints.

Scientific research has found that in some people with the ingestion of gluten from eating grains and casein from dairy foods, produce neurochemicals that cause a morphine like reaction to occur.

3. Nourish your gut with fermented foods and probiotics.

Fermented foods (called probiotics) feed our gut bacteria and help them to develop better resistance and resilience to outside attacks. Probiotic containing lactobacillus and bifidobacteria have been shown to provide protection against increased permeability by enhancing our immune defenses. Many people prefer probiotic supplements over fermented foods. Keep in mind that probiotic supplements are very susceptible to contamination or loss of potency. For this reason, it’s extra important to find a good company that maintains very high standards.

4. Nourish your brain with healthy fats.

Your brain is made mostly of fat. Ingest the “good’ healthy fats in your diet and you will support brain function. Good fats include fats that come from natural foods like butter, whole milk, coconut oil, olive oil and fish oils.

5. Meditate.

Meditation is an antidote to stress. Research reveals that including meditation into your lifestyle can have profound changes on your brain with just 5 minutes.  Our Master Class gives the foundation tools to get started and to maintain a solid practice.

General Guidelines and Principles to Follow to Have a Happy Gut:

  1. Do a seasonal digestive reset.
  2. Have at least one nourishing meal/day.
  3. Practice the overnight diet.
  4. Maintain positive relationships.
  5. Accept what is and not wait for perfection.
  6. Let go of any need to control the people or situations around you.
  7. Practice forgiveness toward yourself and others.

If you want to get started and need a clear, precise roadmap find someone who can guide you.  Make sure you interview the person to make sure it feels right to you. As always follow your gut instinct, but only if it is healthy and happy.

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