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The Gut-Brain Connection

August 13, 2018
The Gut-Brain Connection is one of the strongest connections in our bodies. The health of our gut has a strong impact on the health of our brain and vice versa. We have known about this in some way for quite some time. We get gut feelings, butterflies in our stomach, and gut-wrenching experiences that are emotional responses. What we are just recently learning is how the brain and the gut affect each other and what we can do to control it.

This is not a comprehensive study, and I encourage you to do your own research! There is so many articles and tips about the Gut-Brain Connection that are very beneficial.

Use Your Gut to Heal Your Brain

Mental Health issues are rampant in our world today. One in five adults will suffer from a mental health issue this year alone. One in twenty-five adults will experience a severe mental health issue that will interfere with at least one major life event.

The commonality of mental health issues should come as no surprise. Nearly everyone has interacted with depression or anxiety lately, either in person, with a friend, or through events in the media. What may come as a surprise is the major role that digestive health plays in preventing and treating these invisible diseases.

By taking care of our gut and digestive health, we can alleviate many symptoms of mental illness. Just like any disease, depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns will not be cured overnight.

1. Pay Attention to Your Digestion

Digestive health issues often go unnoticed for a long time and have a major effect on mental and gut health. Watch for abnormalities in digestion including sensitivity to certain foods, constipation, bloating, nausea, and abdominal pain to see if you are subject to a digestive issue. If you suspect a problem, see a health care professional. IBS, Candida, or another digestive issue could easily be what is causing mental health problems.

2. Decrease Processed Foods

You know the foods I’m talking about. The white bread, refined sugars, potato chips, and other ultra-processed foods are very difficult for our bodies to process. These foods interfere with your gut bacteria and can cause major inflammation. Replacing junk food with whole foods is a great way to heal your gut.

3. Eat Some Bacteria

You have about a pound or two of bacteria in your gut at any given time. A lot of the bacteria is helpful to you. It aids in digestion, fights infection, and can even prevent allergies and sensitivities to certain foods. Not all bacteria are beneficial, and bad bacteria can cause sugar cravings, bad breath, eczema, and depression. Probiotics are incredible at restoring balance in your gut. This dietary supplement contains billions of good bacteria to fight against the bad. Probiotics are found in many foods such as yogurt and kombucha, but a daily supplement is the best way to get the bacteria in balance.

Use Your Brain to Heal Your Gut

Digestive issues? Also, super common. The first step to improving digestive health is to eat a balanced diet rich in whole foods, but what if you’re still dealing with gut problems? The problem could easily be in your mind. Just like the status of your gut affects mental health, your mental status affects gut health. If you are dealing with serious digestive health issues, see a health care practitioner.

1. Let Go of Stress

Your body is physically incapable of being stressed and healing at the same time. This means that any time you spend stressing, your body is not taking time to recover. That’s why people often deal with constipation right before a stressful event or have an upset stomach when worrying about life. Our society lives in perpetual stress and letting go is not intuitive. Find an activity that relaxes you such as yoga, reading, playing with puppies, meditation, or social activities.

2. Get Some Sleep

Proper sleep is vital to keeping your gut health at its finest. Even just a couple days of less sleep or less beneficial sleep can quickly mess with the bacteria balance in your gut leading to an upset stomach, bloating, and irregular bowel movements. Consider a regular routine that includes at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep. Decreasing caffeine consumption and screen time before bed is an easy way to improve sleep quality.

You Deserve to Heal

Take note of your mind and body and give them the love and attention they need. Aim for a lifestyle that includes nutritious foods, exercise, and activities that promote relaxation. Given the right tools your body is amazing at restoring itself, you just have to let it!
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