Get Smart: Nourish Your Gut-Brain Axis
Mood, Immunity, Digestive and other health issues may stem from cellular starvation
Learn Tam's two easy things to do to nourish vitality in all areas of you and your family's life.
The Gut-Brain Axis is the epitome of the brilliant interconnectedness of the human body. Critical interplay and biochemical signaling between the Gastrointestinal (GI) Tract and the central nervous system’s brain is referred to as the Gut-Brain Axis. Optimal function of both is vital for virtually all bodily functions involving internal and external communication and action.
Gut flora play an integral role in the interplay between your GI Tract and brain. Healthy gut flora is your microbiome, or good bacteria. Expert opinions vary from 1:1 to 10:1 ratios of ideal microbiome to human cells in the human body. Sugar, antibiotics, overly refined foods full of preservatives, unhealthy fats, artificial colors, and more man made chemicals squash microbiome.
You can dramatically improve the diversity and balance of gut flora with your food and lifestyle choices. The result may be improvement in immunity, digestion, absorption of nutrients, mood, behavior, anxiety and attention. Considering as much as 85% of immunity resides in the GI Tract, it makes sense that what we put in our mouth has great influence on wellness.
Do these two things everyday to support healthy microbiome and your Gut-Brain Axis:
1. Eat something fermented (think fizzy food) daily. Dr. David Perlmutter, Board Certified Neurologist & Author of Grain Brain, Brain Maker, Raise a Smarter Child by Kindergarten and The Better Brain Book, recommends humans embrace diversity in gut bacteria to allow resilience in the body and brain. You can create diverse gut bacteria by eating a wide variety of foods plentiful in a variety of microorganisms and probiotics. Raw cultured vegetables (not pasteurized), kimchi, sauerkraut (not pasteurized), grass fed whole milk yogurt (without sugar added), kefir, kvass, kombucha, miso and tempeh (made from organic soybeans), chutneys and sour cream (from grass fed cows) are some of the most common cultured and fermented foods. Read labels on foods to avoid added sugar, preservatives or artificial anything. Sugar on kombucha labels is typical, since the fermentation feeds on the sugar. You won’t actually ingest the sugar since the good bacteria feed on the sugar to create a flourishing fermentation.
Incorporating fermented foods is best done gradually. Eating a little bit of cultured food each day and increasing to two to four ounce servings and ideally every meal, will be support for digestion, a healthy GI tract and microbiome. For children or others unfamiliar with cultured foods, offering a very small serving, strand or small spoonful, will engage the palate to adjust to the taste.
2. Get aerobic movement each day. You don’t need to do a rigorous workout or running regimen although that is great if it fits you. A 20–30 minute daily walk will do wonders for your body and mind. If you aren’t able to do a 20 minute walk, start with a five minute walk, add minutes daily or weekly until 30 minutes and more is achieved. Dance in the kitchen! You’re there anyway. Put on some great music and flow with the music. You’ll be amazed how fun doing dishes can be. A mini-trampoline is another great way to add some healthy movement. A few minutes are supportive for blood and lymphatic circulation, aerobic exercise, and even building bones. As Dr. Perlmutter points out, aerobic exercise supports the growth of BDNF, which is the growth hormone for your brain.
Easy change is the best way to shift your habits and transform you life. Begin today with one little choice aimed at your goal. Do this every day. It takes 21 days to form new habits. Habits change lives. Choose habits that invigorate you for life!
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care Physician or Naturopathic Doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.
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