What’s the gut have to do with all of this?

Your gut, aka “the inside of your belly”, is your body’s literal “second brain”. For years, the medical world has been trying to figure out what causes our moods to change. And they also wanted to understand why our reactions to life’s ‘challenges’ are sometimes experienced as stress, anxiety or depression and at other times simply as a ‘blip’.    

Well, it appears that there’s a much needed chemical that’s being blamed for some of the above which has also an influence on your ‘potty’ habits.

How strange is that?

Your mood and your bathroom habits are linked to an important chemical in our body called serotonin. Most of it is produced in the gut…. but only when you have a healthy balance of gut bacteria or flora, as it’s sometimes called.

Out of balance gut flora? That equals to not much serotonin production, mood problems and bowel problems. Because what we put inside of our bellies is directly related to our emotional health and toileting issues.

Have you ever had an upset stomach and running to the bathroom because you were stressed or because you experienced a panic attack?

Well, there have been many scientific studies that linked mood problems to gut problems and vice versa.

Spokesperson from UCLA: “Researchers have known that the brain sends signals to your gut, which is why stress and other emotions can contribute to gastrointestinal symptoms. This study shows what has been suspected but until now had been proved only in animal studies: that signals travel the opposite way as well.’Time and time again, we hear from patients that they NEVER felt depressed or anxious until they started experiencing problems with their gut,’ [Dr. Kirsten] Tillisch said. ‘Our study shows that the gut–brain connection is a two-way street.'”

WOW. Such a big AHA moment.

They recently even tested IBS suffers and noted that they can be both low in serotonin [causing their constipation] or have too high levels [causing the opposite effect]

Struggling with cravings and weight issues? This chemical also plays a part in reducing your appetite; and new research is looking into its role in treating obesity. This is one busy chemical, is it not!

So…..Is your gut balanced with 85% good bacteria and 15% bad bacteria? Because that’s the recipe for improving serotonin levels for better health and mood. Some symptoms of an unhealthy flora balance include gas, bloating, nausea, sugar cravings, and more. 

The best way to set this right is by topping up with probiotics. They feed the good bacteria and thus improve serotonin production. Probiotics can be taken in pill form or you can get them through your diet.

Excellent sources of probiotics include fermented or cultured foods and beverages, such as

  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Naturally fermented sauerkraut
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Japanese Miso
  • Tempeh [fermented soya beans]
  • Organic brine cured olives and gherkins

ll these will help you to digest food properly, absorb vital nutrients, lower sugar cravings, prevent constipation and help maintain a healthy state of mind and mood. And now, besides taking my probiotic supplement, I’m off to buy some naturally fermented food…

How about you?

Until next time, yours in health 🙂

Nicki Kelly.

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