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The gut brain connection

What we eat affects our mind in many ways

One of the things we know about the gut-brain connection is that around 80% of the serotonin in our body (the neurotransmitter in our brain that leads us to feel happy, calm and content) is made in the gut.

Which means, if gut health is compromised, serotonin production may also be altered.

Serotonin, our happy, calm, and content hormone. When we don’t have sufficient serotonin – or the sensitive environment of our gut is frequently disrupted by the food we eat – this can lead to a list of unpleasant side effects.

The good news is, the power to change our gut health is entirely in our hands. Our gut microbiome (the ecosystem of bacteria in our gut) changes according to the things we eat and what we put into our bodies (alcohol, sugar, antibiotics etc).

Amazingly the bacteria in our gut can start to change within three or four days, so even a few of days of eating poor quality foods can completely change our gut flora picture and therefore our gut health. The same goes for nourishing foods. What we eat is that powerful!!

It is also important to remember that the foods that are nourishing for one person may not be nourishing for another.  Many people continue to eat foods they have been told are “healthy”, despite their body sending them clear messages (often in the form of gut symptoms!) that these foods aren’t right for them. (For me personally one of these is Kombucha).

When we begin to pay more attention to how we feel after we eat, we can learn how to identify our body’s messages and improve our intuition around what’s right for us and what’s not. This includes what we eat and how to take better care of ourselves, but also extends beyond that to having the clarity of mind to make important decisions and the ability to get through our daily tasks without feeling overwhelmed.

So, begin to pay more attention to how you’re left feeling after each meal. It can help to write down what you’re eating and any symptoms you experience for a couple of weeks to help you identify any common denominators that might better serve to be avoided for a trial period of time. I often ask clients to keep a food diary for 2 weeks so we can pin point any triggers or other things of interest.

Another thing to be mindful of, is the power of probiotics and their ability to influence our gut! When our diets contain too much sugar, alcohol, stress and refined carbohydrates – these things all disrupt the delicate balance of our gut microbiome (the beneficial bacteria in our gut that stop us from experiencing issues like frequent infections, yeast infections, digestive issues and allergies – to name a few). This imbalance in our micro flora can lead to many of the issues that we shrug off as being normal or have come to accept as a part of our daily life, such as brain fog, mood swings, anxiety and depression, digestive issues and irritable bowel.

Probiotics are such a powerful influencer on our health due to their effect on our gut microbiome – and have the power to transform our health entirely when the right ones are used! Therapeutic strains that is – not eating a few tablespoons of yoghurt daily. Unfortuantely, that widely misunderstood concept is just a clever marketing campaign, and when it comes to gut health and truly targeting the re-population of good gut bacteria – especially after the use of antibiotics– a therapautic grade dose via capsule form is what is needed to truly have any real benefit.

Also, different probiotic strains target different areas of the body. For example some are for digestive issues, some for irritable bowel, some are for allergies/sensitivities, some are for vaginal health (candida or yeast infections) etc etc, so it is very important that the correct probiotic is used for your particular health concern.

There are 16+ different strains of probiotics so getting the correct one incorporated into your diet at the correct dosage is absolutely essential to getting your health on track.

During a health consultation with me this area is covered and – if needed – implemented into your treatment plan as part of my holistic approach.

I hope this has been a helpful read 🙂

To book a consultation with me go to https://wellandnourished.co.nz/nutrition-consultation/

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