What if your gut health played a part in your mood, levels of anxiety and even happiness?
Researchers are now realizing our gut is giving us more information than just our psyche is telling us, and may be the key to health, metabolism, and mental well being.
Considering our gut is the second largest organ in the body after the skin, and is essentially the size of half a football field, it’s no surprise it’s called the second “brain.”
Scientists call it the gut microbiome, another name for your gut bacteria. The gut microbiome regulates whether you get sick or not, whether you lose or gain weight, and even if you develop a chronic disease or autoimmune illness.
There are approximately 100 trillion bacteria in your gut, or 1000 times the number of people on the planet so a lot can go wrong when not managed.
In short, gut hormones:
- Regulate digestion of food
- Protect against pathogens
- Provide essential nutrients like vitamins
- Train your immune system
When researchers transferred the gut bacteria from obese mice to lean mice the lean mice became obese and vice versa. It’s not a wonder that those who chronically diet may not lose weight if their gut bacteria are unhealthy. Maybe all those weight loss programs should consider gut health before ever putting anyone on a program.
And since disturbance of hormones is linked to disease, how can you essentially change and re-educate your gut hormones to make 2016 a healthy year?
- Consume a health balanced diet, with minimal processed foods – yes, you’ve heard this before
- Eat a variety of plants at almost every meal – yes, broccoli IS important
- Consume fermented foods on a daily basis– yogurt, kefir and cultured foods and veggies such as sauerkraut and this does not include the hot dog
- Limit grains, and refined sugar, especially sources of fructose like high fructose corn syrup, and sweeteners. Check labels since most foods in the grocery store contain fructose or a sweetener in some form
- Use “live” probiotics a few times a week that contains 50 billion bacteria. Most probiotics you buy at the store are freeze-dried and may only contain 3-10 billion bacteria, which may not be effective for many guts needing extra help. Bio-K original is one you can find at some pharmacies and grocery stores. Although the flavored ones taste better, they contain 11 grams of sugar so the probiotic may not be effective. The flavor of the original is not optimal but provides the health your gut hormones need
- Limit use of antibiotics and use only if absolutely necessary
Instinctively maybe it is about that gut intuition after all. Soon we may all realize our guts are the hard drive to our bodies but unlike computers we can choose our own antivirus software.