healthy eating

Love your Guts

How many times have you heard these expressions?

“I hate your guts!” …“She has Guts” …“It took guts” …”You are gutless!”… “I just feel it in my guts!”…“I am sick to my guts”…” It was a gut reaction”…”I just knew it in my Guts!”…and the song line “Yummy, yummy, yummy I’ve got Love in my tummy!”

Each of these expressions have something in common; a strong emotional state.

So how are the guts related to emotion and why is it helpful to understand our guts as well as our brains?

The brain and intestinal tract are intimately linked. In fact you can put this to the test right now: just think of a situation which made you nervous or excited in the past.

And now notice. Where are you feeling those fluttery feelings?

Or, when you are feeling hungry, think of a plate of yummy food and notice how your mouth begins to salivate just at the mere thought, before the food is even purchased! 

We have underestimated the brain/gut link for too long and now, and people within our communities are paying the price with their health. 

Stress and strong emotions such as anger, fear, sadness and happiness can all trigger chemical responses in the gut.

But it works the other way too. A diet rich in processed food, carbs and sugar irritate the sensitive gut lining, upset the helpful gut bacteria by increasing the growth of candida yeast and can actually be the trigger for bouts of depression, anxiety, aches and pains and hormonal related mood swings.

There is a whole universe of wonderful bacteria, intestinal flora and chemical juices at work to keep our delicate internal systems in check.

The Microbiome

Its called the microbiome, and when it goes  out of balance our chronic illnesses may become more entrenched.

Jane Foster, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University writes:

“Diet is one of the most important modifying factors of the microbiota-gut-brain axis. The routes of communication between the microbiota and brain are slowly being unravelled, and include the vagus nerve, gut hormone signaling, the immune system, tryptophan metabolism, and microbial metabolites such as short chain fatty acids. The importance of the early life gut microbiota in shaping later health outcomes also is emerging.”

Medication is often prescribed for many dis-eases which could be have been prevented or eased through a combination of healthy nutrition, combined with mental relaxation techniques and rehydration through fresh water rather than fizzy drinks and tea.

There are plenty of good resources for information but I particularly recommend the very humorous Dr Giula Enders, author of the book Gut.

Now, I know it sounds easier said than done to change our habitual eating patterns and a liking for carbs (and I have a weakness for crusty French bread with my soup!) But its worth loving ourselves by feeding ourselves and families with good nutritious food isn’t it?

Especially now that we need to be extra careful with building up a strong immune system to tackle the effects of Covid-19 if it returns in the Winter.

 

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