Happy Gut, Happy Body…
How often do you think about the effect your gut is having on your brain?
The link between our gut and our brain was an unknown in the mainstream for years but recent studies show conclusive evidence between the health of our colon and the state of our mental health as well as our skin.
Did you know the very thought of eating releases digestive juices into your gut?
The “ butterflies” we feel in our stomach when we are nervous or the sick feeling we have when we are anxious should all send alarm bells that our thoughts and our bowel are intrinsically connected.
Jeroen Raes of the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology drew on medical tests and GP records to look for links between depression, quality of life and microbes lurking in the faeces of more than 1,000 people. He found that two kinds of bugs, namely Faecalibacterium and Coprococcus, were both more common in people who claimed to enjoy a high mental quality of life. Meanwhile, those with depression had lower than average levels of Coprococcus and Dialister.
Probiotics are a type of bacteria found in your gut that play an integral role in almost every aspect of our health.
So how can we support these good bacteria?
I have a few suggestions for you below that are simple to incorporate into everyday life and support your friendly bacteria.
Kefir is made by adding a culture of milk grains to milk and letting it for ferment in a warm place.
My preferred choice for a ready made version of this is a goat based kefir called Chuckling goat which you can find online.
This is a fermented carbonated drink made from water kefir grains. Unlike the milk kefir it is made by combining water, grains and sugar together for 48 hours until fermentation occurs. You can buy the grains easily online.
Kvasse is a traditional fermented beverage originating from the Ukraine commonly made from stale bread or beetroots. It is a great support for the liver.
Try making it with beetroots!
Kombucha is a fermented tea that has been around for thousands of years, first brewed in China. The ingredients are yeast (usually from a scoby), sugar and black tea left to ferment for a week.
Saurkraut is fermented cabbage thought to have originated in China as a way of preserving food so as to not spoil but now more popular with germans.
Sauerkraut fermentation is the process of microorganisms on the cabbage digesting its natural sugars and converting them into carbon dioxide and organic acids.
Kimchi is a fermented vegetable dish most familiarly made with cabbage and spices. Kimchi is often mixed with other vegetables like radish, onion and garlic.
Because the vegetables in Saurkraut and Kimchi are fermented they have excellent probiotic qualities.
Probiotics in fermented drinks and food reduce inflammation in the gut, aid digestion, support the liver and immune system. If you can do one thing for your health by advice is to love your gut!
The positive effect of improving your gut health on your mental health was shown in a study documented by the BMJ.
“Overall, 11 of the 21 studies showed a positive effect on anxiety symptoms by regulating intestinal microbiota, meaning that more than half (52%) of the studies showed this approach to be effective, although some studies that had used this approach did not find it worked.”