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Why You need to Understand the Link between Your Brain and Your Gut

What is the first thing that happens when you get stressed? Your gut reacts and it is not positive. Heartburn, indigestion, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and associated lower abdominal pain are common gut reactions to stress. Most of us know this movement from north to south. What most of us don't know is that signals are bidirectional - in other words, your gut also sends signals to your brain. This means that if there is a problem in your gut, that can cause anxiety, stress, and depression.

Now you need to know something about serotonin. It is a mega-important hormone because it does the following things (amongst other things):

  • Blood clotting - it helps the body heal quicker

  • Sleep - stimulates parts of the brain responsible for sleep-awake behaviour

  • Mood regulation - reduces feelings of stress and anxiety

Guess where 90% of your body’s serotonin is produced? In your gut. This means if you want to be happy, you need to pay attention to the health of your gut. This is how to improve your gut health.

  1. Lower stress levels - get out and exercise, meditate, socialise, get high-quality sleep

  2. Eat slowly - enjoy your food and try not to wolf it down

  3. Drink plenty of water

  4. Find out what foods don't work well for your gut

  5. Introduce these foods into your diet:

  6. High-fiber foods (legumes like black beans and chickpeas; whole grains like oats and quinoa; vegetables like broccoli and asparagus; nuts like almonds and pistachios; fruits like apples and peaches)

  7. Garlic

  8. Fermented foods like sauerkraut and yogurt

We are living in times of high anxiety and depression. We have just come out of a global pandemic and into a war in Ukraine. Inflation is creeping up. Economies are not growing like they used to and people are anxious about their futures. So look after your gut and give yourself a fighting chance of a life of limited stress and anxiety. After all, your gut is your second brain.


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