Today I am sticking with a digestive health topic, and talking about the gut-brain connection, which is truly fascinating to me!
Anxiety and depression are two mental disorders that seem to be very common these days, but did you know that having a healthy gut can make a big difference on your mental health? In our gut there are 100 trillion organisms, altogether known as the microbiome. The gut and brain are able to communicate through the nervous system, hormones, and the immune system. Neurotransmitters are released by microbiome and can send messages to the brain.
When our bodies are under constant stress, anxiety or depression this also means physical problems can happen to such as chronic gut problems, high blood pressure, and headaches. The gut’s nervous system is sometimes called “the second brain” because it can operate the digestive system independently and decide when to release hormones, when to expel waste and when to move food. To make these decisions, this second brain uses the neurotransmitter serotonin. In the brain serotonin helps to create feelings of happiness and well-being. The serotonin in the gastrointestinal tract helps fight against bad bacteria. Serotonin in the gut can help with inflammation in our bodies and help fight against harmful invaders. This is why it is critical for our bodies to have a healthy gut.
The primary connection between our gut and brain is the vagus nerve, which starts at the base of the brain and travels down the neck and then goes throughout the gut. Most messages travel from the gut to the brain. In people with digestive issues messages of distress are sent to the brain. These messages can eventually turn into anxiety and depression.
Some ways to help get your gut back on track is to exercise regularly, chew your food thoroughly and slowly, de-stress and try to practice yoga or meditate, and take a probiotic to help with any digestive distress.
Eating whole, and unprocessed foods is key to promoting a healthy digestive tract, and My Happy Belly Smoothie book is almost here, which is a great starting place to learn how smoothies can improve digestion! This book will teach you more on why digestive health is so important, why smoothies help digestion, and 20 delicious digestive boosting smoothie recipes.
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