As you’ve probably noticed, I’m emphasizing the importance of gut health on WFN more often. And, the reason is this…with the rise of more and more people struggling with their health through disease, food intolerances, unbearable stress, fatigue, autism, anxiety, depression, etc. I find it pertinent to share the most recent science to give you the advantage in owning your health. I’m not a scientist, but I’m a researcher and love diving deep into what’s being discovered now, so that you don’t have to wait 15 years for it to become common knowledge.

 Paradigm Shift in How We Think About Health

Right now, we are sitting at a pivotal time in history and are at the cusp of a paradigm shift in how we think about mental and physical health. Health care will be changing a lot over the next 50 years with new technologies and embracing more ancient traditions. I love that. I love ancient traditional medicine/practices and modern medicine. And using a more intertwined approach just resonates with me!

The way our mental health will be treated is one of the big ways that our health care will be changing…

The way things are right now, if we have a problem that we perceive to be in the brain, then we would target the brain. And that’s what we’ve been taught and have been doing for the last 200+ years. But, what scientists and health experts are discovering now, is that maybe the brain isn’t the primary target. And what we see in the brain is actually the secondary effect of something else that’s happening in the body.

New Scientific Discoveries

What we’ve learned in the last 5-10 years is that the brain is the secondary effect. The primary effect and primary target is in the gut! It’s like a second brain. (I started researching gut health about 8 years ago…….this makes so much sense!)

Our gut has over 100 trillion bacteria in our intestines. The gut microbiome creates more serotonin (the feel good chemical) and dopamine than the brain does! (Wow!) And in order for these feel good chemicals to have an affect on the brain, they have to be able to communicate with each other.

They do this with the chemicals that the bacteria in the gut make, that travel throughout the entire body signaling to the immune system and nervous system. This idea of the communication pathway between the gut and brain is called the gut-brain-axis (vagus nerve). And the forefront of science and medicine is targeting the brain, but also targeting the second brain (the gut), and targeting the communication networks between them (the axis). This is how we get ahead of all of these mental wellness and health issues to benefit people’s lives.

Ways to Improve Gut Health

There are diverse ways to improve gut health. Below is a list of my favorite ways that I believe also have the greatest benefit:

1.) Eat lots of vegetables. Not only do these provide lots of nutrients our body needs to run well, they are also full of fiber. Fiber feeds the good bacteria in our gut and also helps the body’s systems to run well.

2.) Eat high fiber foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and legumes. Fiber, by nature, improves gut health. Plant based-diets are so good for gut-health for this reason.

3.) Eat lots of prebiotic foods. Prebiotics help keep your gut healthy by feeding your good gut bacteria what they need to thrive. Examples of these are garlic, asparagus, leafy greens, bananas, onions, leeks, and prebiotic supplements.

4.) Eat lots of probiotic foods. Examples of probiotic rich foods are minimally processed yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, tempeh, and a high quality probiotic supplement. *Different types of probiotics can have different impacts on gut health. For example, some target eczema, some are better for mental health. Make sure you’re getting the right strands of probiotics for you and the area you’re hoping to improve. I am in love with what we are using! Shoot me an email and I can share with you my favorite one for mental health and overall health! (lauraclark at wholefoodnanny dot com)

5.) Alcohol negatively impacts your gut health. Drink less alcohol and sugary drinks and drink more water.

6.) Reduce reduce junk food and increase real food intake. The gut doesn’t like processed, fatty, sugary foods. Eat more real, whole foods. Foods that grow from our earth.

I’d love to know how you feel about this science and if these new discoveries resonates with you too! Comment below…

-Laura

*Want to learn about my favorite natural solution to boost your mood? Send me a message! I’d love to connect…