Over 2000 years ago the father of modern medicine, Hippocrates claimed that “all disease begins in the gut”, he truly was a pioneer of his time because it is only in the last couple of decades that researchers have begun to fully realise the critical role of this ‘forgotten organ’. Outside of the guts obvious function in digestive health, there is a growing amount of research that shows the gut has influence over even the most complex of processes such as mood and mental health.
If you have ever had the feeling of butterflies in the stomach - you have experienced the gut brain connection first hand. Our gut is made up of a network of neurons so extensive that it is nicknamed our ‘second brain’. It has a direct link with the brain and the Central Nervous System, meaning it can send and receive signals to and from the brain which can trigger changes in our mood, appetite and sleep patterns. So much so that sufferers of low mood, depression or anxiety often experience higher rates of digestive problems and vice versa.
So what does this mean for us? Number one is to listen to your body, because when it swings out of balance it can trigger a cascade of chronic health problems. Here are a few of our favourite tips for keeping a healthy gut and ultimately a healthy mind.
Probiotics & Prebiotics
Our gut is made up of a complex collection of bacteria, supplementing your diet with a probiotic and prebiotic can help to introduce good bacteria and friendly flora that help to restore healthy digestion.
Try: Kimchi, miso, kefir, kombucha for probiotics and raw garlic, banana or asparagus for prebiotics or a quality probiotic supplement like Saccharomyces boulardil
Eat Anti-inflammatory Foods
The acidity of coffee can be an intestinal irritant. Swap your morning coffee for a matcha green tea, it is loaded with antioxidants and gentler on your digestive track. Bright green leafy foods are also rich in chlorophyll which is a natural detoxifier and nourishes the digestive system.
Try: Matcha Green tea, green juice or smoothie (adding a scoop of matcha will give you the energy boost you usually get from coffee)
Cut Down on Sugar
Glucose has been found to disrupt a healthy microbial balance, the intestines walls are weakened which means particles of food enter the bloodstream and puts the body in defence mode which can cause inflammation. High levels of sugar also encourage the growth of fungus like candida.
Try: Add a sprinkle of cinnamon to your tea to cut the sugar cravings