Often described as our second brain, the gut is becoming more and more of a focus for many people conscious of their health and well-being. But what does it really mean? How can our gut be a second brain?
The brain is often considered the most mysterious and important organ in the human body. It dictates our emotions, our ideas, our choices, and even our response to pain - but what if another part of our body equally contributed to this?
According to Harvard Health, the gut-brain link can be as simple as thinking about your favourite food and your stomach releasing juices to prepare for expected food, but it can also be as complicated as poor gut health causing depression and anxiety.
While not all cases may be that severe, there is evidence that shows that our intestinal tract and stomach health can have a direct correlation with our mental health, as well as our response to pain across our whole body.
So what can you do about it?
Now that the gut-brain link has been identified, it’s more important than ever to make gut-health a priority. This doesn’t mean giving up your favourite chocolate or your morning coffee, but it does mean being more conscious about which foods are helping your body, and which aren’t. Many people undertake Nutrition Response Testing or allergy tests to determine which foods are negatively impacting your body and which are positively impacting it.
However, even without running expensive, or sometimes inaccurate tests, you can always count on one thing: the more good bacteria you have in your gut to help fight the bad the better your health will be.
Even with bacteria, there are good guys and there are bad guys. Probiotics are your good guys, helping to fight the crime in your gut undertaken by the bad guys. To make sure you have enough probiotics there to fight the good fight, you need to ensure you eat probiotic rich food, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and kombucha. Fermented foods are cropping up everywhere, so make sure what you’re buying is the real deal, fermented and stored in the proper ways to keep the good bacteria alive for when you consume it.
If your kraut or kombucha isn’t stored in a refrigerator, then you can bet your bottom dollar it won’t be packed full of probiotics you need to keep that gut-brain link healthy.
So next time you have butterflies in your stomach, just remember that it’s part of that never-ending battle between good bacteria and bad bacteria, and each time you eat sauerkraut, you’re helping the good guys win!