A gut feeling?

Yes, it’s Mental Health Awareness week, but this isn’t all about what’s happening in your head!

We’re now beginning to understand how interconnected the brain and body are – with 90% the body’s serotonin (the feel-good hormone, critical to our resilience) made in the gut.  

As a result, the gut is often referred to as the second brain, affecting our moods, memory and concentration and possibly impacting upon cancers, dementia, heart disease, metabolism, skin, how well we sleep and our general sense of contentment.

So… healthy gut, healthy body, healthy mind! 

Sadly, for many of us, our second brain isn’t functioning nearly as well as it might. Too much processed food and alcohol can all have a bad impact. Our gut is a precious eco-system of micro-organisms, which includes fungi, viruses, yeasts and bacteria, called the microbiome.

The microbiome is made up of trillions of bacteria digesting our food, converting it into nutrients and syphoning off the waste as well as increasing our resistance to common ailments and the diversity of this non-human population is critical factor at play.

Two things can help …

Ensure the food you eat is full of colour by including a diverse range of vegetables from all four colour groups where possible (i.e., red, green, yellow, purples/blues), preferably organic, free from pesticides and hormones. Avoid that ‘beige’ processed food!

Take more exercise. This helps reduce stress. Exercise also helps you sleep better and getting more sleep reduces the inflammation in your gut and this helps your microbiome to work better.This is turn helps every cell in your body work more efficiently to release energy. The result? You feel better!

Authors – Chris Welford and Dr Lizzy Bernthal

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