Your gut, more importantly what’s inside your gut, has been proven to be your bodies “second brain”. For years, researchers have been trying to figure out what causes your moods to change and what causes common issues like stress, anxiety, and even depression. These problems, are linked to serotonin, but did you know that 95% of serotonin isn’t even produced in the brain? Serotonin is actually produced in the gut!!!
Micro-organisms in your gut secrete a profound number of chemicals, the same substances used by your neurons to communicate and regulate mood, like dopamine and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).
Certain organisms also affect how you metabolize these chemicals, regulating the amount that circulates in your blood and brain. Your microbiome produces other neuroactive chemicals that reduce anxiety and depression.
Research had shown that some gut bacteria can activate the vagus nerve, the main line of communication between the gut and the brain!!! In addition, your microbiome is connected to your immune system which also influences mood and behavior.
Research has proven that what you eat directly affects your emotional health. For example, in a 4 week study done at UCLA, half of the subjects ate a cup of commercially available yogurt twice a day, while the rest didn’t. Yogurt is a probiotic, meaning it contains live, GOOD, bacteria. Before and after the study, subjects were given brain scans to gauge their response to a series of images of facial expressions like happiness, sadness, anger, etc.
The researchers were quite surprised at the significant differences between the two groups. The scans of the yogurt eaters showed that they reacted more calmly to the images after the 4 weeks of eating yogurt. The yogurt group was also less reactive than the control group.
Researchers concluded that the bacteria in the yogurt changed the makeup of the subjects’ gut microbes, and that this led to the production of compounds that modified the subjects brain chemistry.
Your gut consists of GOOD bacteria and you need that bacteria. Not just for your digestive health, but also to improve your emotional health.
Your gut and your brain work together, so if one is out of balance the other will be also. Have you ever had an upset stomach because your mind was stressed? Well, think about it, if it works one way it works both ways. There have been many scientific studies that have linked mood problems to gut problems and vice versa.
Is your gut balanced with 85% good bacteria and 15% bad bacteria? That is the recipe for a healthy gut and a healthy mood. The best way to make sure your body has healthy bacteria for your gut is to feed your gut healthy bacteria. Some symptoms of an unhealthy gut include gas, bloating, nausea, sugar cravings, acid reflex, certain diseases, and much more.
Here are some tips to improve your microbiome so you can have a healthy gut, with more good bacteria, which will in turn will regulate and balance your moods.
1. Cut out processed foods and sugar in it’s many forms.
2. Eat a plant based diet with more dietary fiber. Try to eat organic as much as possible.
3. Limit your own use of antibiotics. Also choose animal products that are raised antibiotic free.
4. Eat fermented foods like kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, and kombucha.
5. Take a probiotic supplement with active cultures.
6. Take steps to lower your daily stress.
7. Get plenty of sleep.
8. Exercise regularly.
9. Avoid eating meat, especially red meat.
10. Stop overusing disinfectant cleaners and soaps. Turn to more natural products.
11. Get dirty. Walking on the beach or in your yard barefooted, gardening or weeding can all serve to boost your microbiome and your immune system.
Your microbiome provides protection from infection, regulates metabolism, and comprises more than 75% of your immune system, and of course, promotes normal gastrointestinal functions. An unhealthy gut has been linked to diseases like depression, anxiety, inflammatory bowel disease, and diabetes.
So keeping a balanced micro biome is essential to your health. You will not only digest your food better and absorb more vital nutrients, but it will also help you to maintain a healthy state of mind and improve your mood.
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