FOOD FOR THOUGHT

You already know that in order to have a healthy mind, you need to eat nutrient dense meals, exercise, maintain positive relationships and get a good night’s sleep. However, are you aware that your brain health may also be influenced by an unexpected source?  The source is located in the walls of your digestive system called the gut, also known as your “second brain”. Your gut in fact, contains more neurotransmitters than your brain! Neurotransmitters control communication throughout your body and brain, everything you do - all of your movement, thoughts, and feelings - are the result of these nerve cells communicating. When this communication is altered negatively, your health will suffer.

To ensure the message between your gut and brain are positive ones, you need to increase the amount of beneficial bacteria in your gut. Your gut is occupied by trillions of bacteria, also known as gut microbiota. A well-functioning gut holds the key to your health. When your gut flora is out of balance, it creates a negative effect on mood, behavior, cognition, and overall health. The reason for these complications - your gut has a direct effect on your brain and vice versa. A troubled gut sends signals to the brain, just as a troubled brain sends signals to the gut. Your gut flora is influenced directly by your brain via the the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is a cranial nerve extending from the brainstem to the gut playing a large role in the gut-brain axis. The vagus nerve is like a walkie talkie that communicates neurotransmitters between the brain and the gut. Ultimately a person’s intestinal distress can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress, or depression.

You can control the way you feel simply by what you put in your body! The food you eat greatly affects the type of bacteria that live inside you. By now you’ve probably heard of prebiotics and probiotics….but why are they important for your health? Simply put prebiotics feed the good microbes(probiotics). Probiotics live in your intestines and are the most well-known type of good bacteria. Poor dietary choices, environmental toxins and chemicals from processed foods make it hard for these beneficial bacteria to survive. It’s your job to encourage the good microbes by feeding them the proper food they need to thrive.

Good bacteria love healthy, whole, organic, plant-based foods that are high in fiber and nutrients and contain no artificial ingredients.