That “gut-feeling” is more than just a feeling.
Did you know your gut has more neurons than your spinal cord? There are trillions (yes, trillions!) of bacteria living inside your GI tract that can affect everything from your immune system, brain function, metabolism, sleep, mood and so much more.
The Gut-Brain Connection
Gut health has become a trending topic as more published research points to the importance of your microbiome, the community of microbes living inside your gut, on your skin, and elsewhere.
Many refer to the gut as the “second brain” because of the complicated network of nerves in the digestive tract. This network of nerves, known as the enteric nervous system (ENS), regulates digestion and constantly communicates with your brain – for better or worse, depending on the bacteria thriving in your microbiome.
Here’s where things get interesting. The more diverse the bacteria in your microbiome is, the more resilient your body is to external toxins and stresses. Since your microbes are sending so many signals to your brain, if there’s a lack of diversity in your microbiome, your gut may send signals that can influence your health in negative ways.
Take one small example: do you find that you’re constantly having energy crashes or trouble losing weight? This army of invisible microorganisms is central to your entire health and is connected to everything that happens in your body.
Tips to Start Improving Your Gut Health
Doing what you can to maintain a healthy gut is a step in the right direction towards replacing anxiety with happiness and losing those extra pounds put on this holiday.
- Eat a diverse range of whole, unprocessed foods. Eating as many fibrous fruits and veggies as possible is key (microbes thrive on the prebiotic fiber).
- Rebuild your rain forest of friendly bacteria. Take a high-quality probiotic supplement to help reduce gut inflammation while replenishing healthy bacteria. This could help add backup troops when your frontline is a little weak.
- Get enough ZZZ’s. Your sleep habits could have a direct effect on your gut health, and vice versa. A healthier gut can help to improve your quality of sleep.
- Replenish your digestive enzymes. When you don’t have enough digestive enzymes in your gut, you can’t properly convert the foods you eat into the raw materials necessary to run your body and brain. Supplementing your diet with digestive enzymes could help your body absorb all the nutrients you’re eating.
- Take time to de-stress. Research shows that prolonged periods of stress can impair your gut bacteria and make you susceptible to infection.
The gut can start to repair itself in just 3-6 days. With the right food combinations, your mind and skin will clear, your body will start to release toxins and start converting stored fat to energy!