Here, we are exploring the relationship between your gut and your brain:
I am calling it a romance because it is a two-way system. Your brain can affect your gut health and your gut health can affect your brain health.
These two organs are connected both physically and bio-chemically. One way it is connected is by your nervous system through your vagus nerve. When you feel stressed, signals are sent through your vagus nerve.
studies have found that if you experience regular periods of stress, you are more likely to have gastro issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This also helps explain why stress can lead to weight gain, or troubles losing weight.
Your brain and gut are also connected via neurotransmitters:
There are two neurotransmitters in mind here. Serotonin, which is produced by your gut cells, contributes to feelings of happiness, and helps control your body clock.
The second is, GABA. This helps control feelings of fear and anxiety.
So, if we are not looking after our gut health through our diet, our ability to make these neurotransmitters will be inhibited.
This, in turn, will have an affect on our mental health.
Therefore, it is important to look after our gut health, especially through this uncertain period, where anxiety levels may be higher than normal.
This lovely romance is also connected through your immune system and so can have an impact on inflammation in your body.
So, how does this affect our brain? Studies have shown that if your immune system is switched on for too long it can cause brain disorders such as depression and in more severe cases Alzheimer’s.
Therefore, how can we nurture this especially important relationship?:
There are certain probiotics and prebiotics we can take to change our gut bacteria.
Probiotics can be found in foods such as yogurt, kefir and sauerkraut, and prebiotics can be found in foods such as garlic, onions, bananas, leeks, and asparagus.
It is important to note that there is a difference between probiotics and prebiotics:
Probiotics are living strains of bacteria that add to the population of good bacteria in your gut. Prebiotics are a type of plant fibre that feeds the good bacteria.
by looking after our gut health through diet we can help prevent symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. By reducing these symptoms, our bodies will feel happy and healthy, and thus help you with your fitness and health goals.