Something is going on between our stomach and our brains. And its not just those chocolate cravings you’ve been having!
In our digestive tract there is a giant mass of bacterial cells otherwise known as intestinal flora.( It sounds fascinating I know – but read on.) The experts who study these things estimate there are a hundred trillion of them weighing-in around 1.5 kilos. That is equivalent in size and mass to your liver! They have identified 400 different types (so far) – of which there are good and bad bacteria.
Where it gets really interesting is that some of those intestinal flora help regulate the amount of serotonin you absorb, helping protect you from depression and anxiety. In fact, up to 95% of your bodies mood regulating transmitter is found in the gut.
That might explain why when we throw the bacterial balance out with processed foods, alcohol, antibiotics and stress our mood regulating procedure is also affected. That means a grumpy state of mind and symptoms like diarrhea (linked to too much serotonin in the gut) and constipation (too little). These in turn link back to mental disorders – anxiety and depression.
The evidence is in – you really do feel things in your gut and your gut really is linked to your emotions . In fact the two are so closely linked scientists call it the brain-gut axis.
The good news is that improving one area – mind, digestion or bacteria – has benefits in the other areas. Better bacteria equals better digestion. A healthy mental state helps maintain healthy intestinal flora.
This is such a big deal we’ll be delving into this in detail in coming posts.
Meanwhile, what to do? Well for starters go for fermented foods, quality yoghurt and a natural diet that will help to promote healthy bacteria – and take time out (away from the TV) to reduce your stress levels.
Some kefir and sauerkraut, a daily walk with loved ones and a regular massage are all beneficial. Your digestion, sleep and mood may improve – and you’ll be smiling from the inside-out!