The gut, the second brain

I think all of the new research on the gut microbiome is so cool.  We now know that the gut has a mind of its own.  It lives in the intestine and consists of your own unique population of microorganisms.  All the organisms, the microbiota, live together in our gut and need to be diverse and strong to outnumber the bad bugs that try to live in the gut.

With all the recent research, we understand how important the gut plays in our overall health.  It is considered the second brain with how it communicates with the brain using the same type of neurotransmitters found in the central nervous system.  The information the gut provides the brain can directly influence disease in our body and the gut hormonal balance.  When our gut is imbalanced, our mood is usually off, we aren’t thinking clearly, and our integrative systems inside are not functioning in harmony.

We actually get our initial inoculation of the gut bugs from our mother. Unfortunately, you cannot go back in the time of your birth to make sure you get a dose from your mother’s microbiome during birth or be breastfeed at least 6 months.  Other than a time machine what can you do to improve our microbiome?  Eat a diverse diet of veggies, beans, legumes, proteins, and fruits.

Decreasing animal protein also gives our digestive track a much-needed rest (and as a whole, we are eating too much and our planet cannot sustain the amount of animal products we consume).  Breaking down animal protein takes more energy to break down than purely plant based.  I’m not suggesting you go vegan. I’m talking about finding what the right balance is for you.  How does your body feel when you eat?  The body lets us know when we eat the wrong thing.  We just need to slow down and listen.

Fixing the gut can improve our mind & body.

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