[vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css_animation=””][vc_column][vc_column_text]When someone claims to feel nauseated by the thought of something or someone, many of us take it as his or her expression of disgust in a situation. Well, this coulee is part of it, but the bigger part is that the gut and brain are connected in ways that cause one to react on behalf of the other. This connection between the brain and the gut goes either way and this can be why feelings of anxiety or fear will cause an upset stomach, or why poor digestion can cause depressive symptoms and stress in many people.
How the gut affects the brain?
A subject that many people want to interpret in their own words, there are quite a lot of different beliefs around the interconnection between the brain and the gut. Does the food you eat have an effect on your state of mind? For many years people have associated the way they feel after a meal to the effects of the foods they have eaten. Have you ever felt hyperactive after eating pepper? While the connection between being overly excited after having a spicy meal could be true, there is a lack of rigorous research to support this connection. While we do know that brain takes about 20% of the body’s total energy, so in that sense we are truly feeding our brain.
Basic research shows that what the body needs to support all its functions, the brain included, is a healthy diet. While this is true in most cases, there is an important element that is missing: the ability of the body to listen to itself. It is extremely important for an individual to listen to their gut if any real connection between food and human behavior is to be established. Just as the Central Nervous System (CNS) is responsible for sending signals of what is happening within our bodies to the brain, the Enteric Nervous System (ENS) keeps the brain informed on what is happening in the gut.
Considering how closely the brain and the digestive system work together, it makes more sense that someone would feel pain in the stomach when experiencing stress. It was previously believed that people who seemed to get stomach upsets just before a major task were imagining the pain or just acting up, but research has since established that psychology combines with physical factors to cause bowel unrest and other problems.
The reason as to why some people seem to have these pronounced episodes of real pain is underlying Gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. The next time you are nervous to the extent of severe pain in the gut, visit your Doctor or Naturopath. Did you know that you can improve GI conditions just by reducing stress, anxiety or depression? A review of 13 studies indicates a significant improvement in digestive conditions when patients were subjected to psychologically based approaches as opposed to conventional medical treatment only.
Healthy Digestion= Happier You
Many people think that the brain controls all the functions of the human body. Well, this is what biological and energy healing techniques teach but the reality is that the gut sends more information to the brain than vice versa. We have already established the connection between the brain and the gut and what is not possible to ignore is that this connection is two-way.
We only refer to neurons when speaking about how messages are sent to the brain but since the gut also transmits information it is accurate to speak of neurotransmitters in this context. Serotonin is a major neurotransmitter in the human body, the imbalance of which contributes to a depressive state, changes in mood and aggression. There is exciting new research on the subject of how proper dietary changes can raise serotonin levels and be very effective for those experiencing depressive symptoms.
Research conducted in recent years has made it clear that populations of microorganisms in the gut have an important role to play in the overall health of an individual. Scientists have established the relationship between long life and a healthy gut and that is why probiotics have frequently been the focus of study in modern science.
Tips to improve the gut-brain connection
You may be able to identify that there is a problem with your gut to brain connection by observing how your body behaves under pressure or how the overall physical health interferes with your mood and ability to be happy. Science has already proven that many of the conditions and illnesses that attack the body can be better controlled if only the digestive system was working as it should. Some steps to take that can enhance digestion to ensure that the connection between the brain and gut is healthy are:[/vc_column_text][unordered_list style=”circle” animate=”no”]
Drinking water away from meals
Avoid eating while driving
Drinking 8-10 glasses of filtered water per day
Increasing fiber intake (equal ratio of both soluble and insoluble)
Avoiding processed and refined foods
Eating local/ seasonal/ organic when possible
Practicing stress reduction strategies
Moving or exercising your body once a day.
[/unordered_list][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css_animation=””][vc_column][vc_column_text]Online resources