Did you know there is a connection between your gut and your brain?
Believe it or not, fermented foods can actually help you alleviate stress and anxiety. Since your gut and brain are interconnected, keeping the health of your gut flora in check can literally help you feel better.
Anxiety can manifest itself in many ways, from an upset stomach to headaches to problems with sleep.
Many people experience butterflies in their stomach, when they get nervous, proof positive that the brain and the stomach are indeed related.
For some people, just the very thought of food can trigger the release of stomach acids showing that the gut-brain connection works both ways. In other words, a troubled intestinal tract can send signals to the brain in the same way the brain sends signals to the gut.
Looking at all of this research, we can see that there is a connection between what you eat and how you feel.
This really sheds a new light on the cause of mental health issues, because of the fact that something like an upset stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause or product of anxiety, stress, or depression.
It would behoove you as a result of this research to choose the foods you eat very carefully because certain types of foods can actually cause distress and anxiety. If you have ever had nausea before giving a big presentation or felt those little butterflies in your stomach, you have experienced this effect.
Now clearly, this doesn’t mean that all gastrointestinal issues are all in your head, but it does mean that there is a connection. Psychosocial factors can actually influence the physiology of your gut, manifesting in actual symptoms, affecting the contractions and movements of the GI tract.
In his bestselling book, “Brain Maker – The Power of Gut Microbes To heal and Protect Your Brain – For Life” by Dr. David Perlmutter, he describes the potent interplay between the microbes that exist and live in the intestine and the brain, and how nurturing the gut can actually help you alter your brain’s density to help you live a more peaceful life.
This kind of research paves the way for those who suffer from brain disorders and anxiety, giving people hope.
The fact is that your incredible gut is home to almost a trillion microorganisms.
A trillion is definitely a large number and it is quite difficult to wrap your brain around.
Your gut has almost ten times the amount of bacteria than all the human cells in the entire body, which is also quite mind boggling.
There are over 400 known diverse bacterial species in your gut and your gut plays an important role in your health and the gut flora helps promote a normal, healthy gastrointestinal function.
Having a healthy GI system can also protect you from infection and help you regulate your metabolism. A healthy gut also helps promote a healthy immune system.
In fact, unhealthy gut flora might even be been linked to diseases ranging from depression to autism to autoimmune conditions like type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease and Hashimoto’s.
Antibiotics can be harmful to the gut flora, and recent studies have shown that antibiotics can cause a rapid loss of the diversity of the gut flora as well as a shift in the composition of that gut flora.
Your gut is like a hollow tube that extends from the mouth to the anus and anything that isn’t digested goes right through you, out the other end. The gut helps prevent foreign substances from entering your body, so it performs a critical function.
If you want to attack anxiety and stress head on – your gut is a great place to start. If you can restore and maintain a healthy gut, you will have taken a critical step to restoring the health of your mind, body and spirit.
As you change the health of your GI tract and your gut, you will, in essence, change your brain.
- 100 trillion microbial “beings” live in your gut – and they have an effect on your health.
- The 2nd brain in your gut produces 80-90% of your serotonin.
- 70-80% of your immune system is in your gut!
There are many benefits to eating yogurt and fermented foods. Your gut acts as a second brain with a complex network of neurons that line your gut. This network is so extensive that some scientists have deemed it a second brain.
This second brain in your gut has important neurotransmitters, and it does much more than handle digestion. This second brain helps determine your mental state, playing a key role in the development of diseases.
Now this second brain doesn’t really have much to do with your conscious thought processes, but it does have a complex web of nerves that helps move digestion along. The process of breaking down food and absorbing nutrients is a complex process because it requires a mechanical and rhythmical range of muscle contractions that help the body expel waste and absorb nutrients.
Even though this second brain may not control your conscious thinking mind, it does play an extremely important role in the health of your body.
Fermented Foods List
A strong immune system relies on a healthy digestive tract. If your digestive health is not up to par, then your immune system may not be either. Healthy bacteria are the key, and that is where fermented foods come in. Fermented foods contain probiotics — which are friendly bacteria that colonize your digestive track, keeping your bacterial flora balanced.
Because of our culture’s reliance on foods that are pasteurized, we have almost eliminated many sources of these important probiotics. To ease away stress and anxiety, make sure your diet contains live foods such as:
- Live cultured pickles
- Vegetables and kimchi
- Cheese made from raw milk
- Unpasteurized miso, which has not been heated
- Tempeh, a food made from fermented soybeans
- Fermented drinks and tea such as kombucha
Yogurt and kefir made with live cultures are also good, but not all commercially sold products like frozen yogurt contain live cultures.
Fermented foods are a great choice to help you improve. There are many benefits to consuming fermented foods, and fermented foods are a much better option than drugs or pills.
As part of your healthy eating program, it’s a good idea to stock up on fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut and kimchi, because they taste great and provide your body with a world of nutrition in every bite. Just some food for thought (pun intended) for the next time you feel anxiety coming on.