The gut contains millions of neurons which are sometimes referred to as the second brain. Sara refers to gut health as “gut brain cells which are not only there to signal the more obvious functions of digestion like satiation or sickness, they also help you think and remember”. This explains how one often refers to a negative feeling as a gut feeling and the strong connection between the gut and brain.
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Sara explains: “Much of our health and wellbeing relies on the ability of the gut to digest what we eat and absorb.
“Eating a poor diet and taking too many antibiotics can destroy the good bacteria, allowing fungal infection to overwhelm your gut and multiply.
“The gut isn’t just where you process food but is now considered a metabolic organ every bit as important as your heart or your liver.
“Research indicates that the immune system is heavily affected by the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut.
“Bad bacteria cannon multiply and cause harm in they are kept in control by good bacteria.”
When it comes to gut bacteria, a staggering 100 trillion microorganisms live in the human gut and they are estimated to weigh up to a whopping 2.25 lb’s which is the weight of a bag of potatoes.
There are 10 times more bacteria in the gut than there are cells in the body and the balance of good and bad bacteria has a huge impact on how one feels and how their body functions.
By analysing the microbes in the gut, it’s possible to identify, rebalance and cure mental health and brain diseases by introducing specifically targeted new species.
On average, each of us has a combination of around 160 different types of bacteria making up a person’s microbiome.
Gut bacteria has a profound impact on the immune system with immune tissues in the digestive tract being the largest and most complex part of the immune system.
Around 90 percent serotonin and 50 percent of dopamine is made by gut bacteria so if the flora is imbalanced it majorly effects mood, mental focus and memory.
Other research indicates how changing behaviour alters the microbiome and improves gut health.
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Sara adds in her book the mounting evidence proving that the microbiome influences everything from depression to the risk of dementia.
She writes: “The gut also contains millions of neurons, sometimes referred to as the second brain.
“Our brain health is determined early in our childhood with a dose of help from our genetics.
“Scientists are finding that the microbes in the gut could be affecting our mental health too.
“They can direct the way you think and behave as well as indicate the likelihood of your developing certain mental illness such as anxiety, depression, ADHD and memory problems.”
Sara’s top tips for keeping the gut healthy and happy and in turn keeping everything in the body working well include:
- Eat more fermented foods: Kimchi, sauerkraut and some pickles are great for your gut bacteria. These foods contain probiotic bacteria lactobacillus plantarum a probiotic bacteria that has a stress-lowering response.
- Switch white pasta and white bread: Rather opt for wholegrains which also have a beneficial impact on the bacteria flora in the gut.
- Choose a good probiotic supplement: Make sure that it is one that will help with specific symptoms.
- Cut sugar out of your diet: Sugar triggers the release of inflammatory cytokines that impair cognitive clarity.
- Exercise more: This will boost your mitochondria and help reduce stress.
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