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How Is the Gut Connected to the Brain?

Did you know your gut is intricately connected to your brain? The brain needs a lot of nutrients to do its job. Not just food nutrients, but minerals and raw materials needed to help metabolic processed. If you do not have these nutrients in your diet, or your gut is too inflamed to absorb them well, you will have shortages in the brain.

Another huge aspect of the gut – brain connection is how bugs (microbes) manipulate the brain. The impact of gut microflora on brain function has again been confirmed by UCLA researchers who, in a proof-of-concept study, found that probiotics (beneficial bacteria) indeed altered the brain function in the participants.

The human body contains trillions of microbes, collectively called the microbiome. In just one person’s body, they are estimated to weigh two to six pounds — up to twice the weight of the average human brain.

Most reside in the gut and intestines, where they can help us to digest food, synthesize vitamins, and fight off infection. But their influence seems to reach the brain in a powerful way.

The benefit of a healthy gut is illustrated most effectively during early development. Research has indicated just how sensitive a fetus is to any changes in a mother’s microbiotic makeup, so much so that it can alter the way a baby’s brain develops. If a baby is born via cesarean section, it misses an opportunity to ingest the mother’s bacteria as it travels down the vaginal canal. Studies show that those born via c-section have to work to regain the same diversity in their microbiome as those born vaginally. Throughout our lives, our microbiome continues to be a vulnerable entity, and as we are exposed to stress, toxins, chemicals, certain diets, and even exercise, our microbiome fluctuates for better or worse.

The most empowering aspect to the gut-brain connection is the understanding that many of our daily lifestyle choices play a role in mediating our overall wellness. This whole-body approach to healthcare and wellness continues to show its value in our longevity, well-being, and quality of life: that both physical and mental health go hand-in-hand.

5 Ways to Boost Your Brain through Your Gut – PODCAST



A healthy gut is needed for a healthy brain. Your brain’s health is dictated by what goes on in your gut. What’s taking place in your intestines affects not only your brain’s daily functions, but also determines your risk for a number of neurological conditions in the future.

Listen to my recording to hear the 5 things you can do TODAY  to boost your brain through your gut.

 

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5 Ways to Boost Your Brain Through Your Gut

A healthy gut is needed for a a healthy brain. Your brain’s health is dictated by what goes on in your gut. What’s taking place in your intestines affects not only your brain’s daily functions, but also determines your risk for a number of neurological conditions in the future.

The gut’s brain makes more serotonin — the master happiness molecule — than the brain in your head. Many neurologists and psychiatrists are now realizing that dietary changes are so important in treating  depression.

So  lets  look at 5 ways you can boost your brain through your gut.

  1. Take Probiotics Every Day

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast that support good digestive health. Long before probiotics became available in supplement form, the health benefits of fermented, probiotic-rich foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, and yogurt were well recognized. The Chinese were fermenting -cabbage 6,000 years ago. These probiotic bacteria help maintain the integrity of the gut lining; serve as natural antibiotics, antivirals, and antifungals; regulate immunity; and control inflammation. I take a Probiotic supplement every day to boost my microbiome.

2. Go Lower-Carb and Higher Quality Fats

A diet that keeps your blood sugar balanced keeps your gut bacteria balanced. A diet high in rich sources of fiber from whole vegetables feeds good gut bacteria and produces the right balance of short-chain fatty acids to keep the intestinal lining in check. A diet that’s intrinsically anti-inflammatory is good for the brain. Consider my 7 Day Sugar Cleanse to get a jumpstart.

3. Enjoy Chocolate, Coffee, Wine, and Tea

You can rejoice in the fact that, as far as your brain’s health is concerned, you can embrace chocolate, coffee, and wine in moderation, and tea to your heart’s desire. Studies have shown that consuming flavonols (one category of polyphenols) from cocoa and chocolate showed heightened cognitive function. Coffee and chocolate also stimulate a specific gene pathway called the Nrf2 pathway. When triggered, it causes the body to make higher levels of protective antioxidants, while reducing inflammation and enhancing detoxification. Other Nrf2 activators are green tea, turmeric, and resveratrol, a compound in red wine.

4. Consume Foods Rich in Prebiotics

Prebiotics are food-borne fuel for the beneficial bacteria that live in the gut, and they occur naturally in raw garlic, cooked and raw onions, leeks, chicory, Jerusalem artichokes, and jicama. Estimates suggest that for every 100 grams of prebiotic carbohydrates we consume, a full 30 grams of good gut bacteria are produced.

5. Drink Filtered Water

Consuming plenty of water is important to intestinal health, but it’s critical that the water doesn’t contain gut-busting chemicals like chlorine. Environmental toxins can disrupt the balance of flora (your microbiome)  and disturb brain physiology.

Adapted from the book, Brain Maker by David Perlmutter, MD.

 

 

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