Get Smart: Nourish your Gut-Brain Axis
The Gut-Brain Axis is a beautiful place to continue your personal journey of nourishment. The phenomenon of the Gut-Brain Axis and the wave of attention it is getting from top medical doctors and health practitioners are brilliant. The Gut-Brain Axis is the epitome of just how interconnected the human body is. Critical interplay and biochemical signaling between the Gastrointestinal (GI) Tract and the central nervous system’s brain is referred to as the Gut-Brain Axis. Optimal function is vital for virtually all bodily functions involving internal and external communication and action. Without nourishing the Gut-Brain Axis, we may be starving ourselves to the point of malnourishment at a cellular level. The result may be magnitudes of health issues, both physical and mental, for many people.
Attending to the nourishment of our Gut-Brain Axis impacts our wellness and vitality in fundamental ways. Gut flora play an integral role in the interplay between the GI Tract and brain. Healthy gut flora is our microbiome, or good bacteria. The microbiome balance may ideally be 10 times the human cells in our body. Sugar, antibiotics, overly refined foods full of preservatives, unhealthy fats, artificial colors, and more man made chemicals squash microbiome.
We can dramatically improve the diversity and balance of gut flora with our food and lifestyle choices. The result may be improvement in immunity, digestion, absorption of nutrients, mood, behavior, anxiety and attention. Considering as much as 85% of immunity resides in the GI Tract, it makes sense that what we put in our mouth has great influence on wellness.
Tips to support healthy microbiome and your Gut-Brain Axis:
Dr. David Perlmutter, Board Certified Neurologist & Author of Grain Brain, Brain Maker, Raise a Smarter Child by Kindergarten and The Better Brain Book, recommends humans embrace diversity in gut bacteria to allow resilience in the body and brain. We can create diverse gut bacteria by eating a wide variety of foods plentiful in a variety of microorganisms and probiotics. Raw cultured vegetables (not pasteurized), kimchi, sauerkraut (not pasteurized), grass fed whole milk yogurt (without sugar added), kefir, kvass, kombucha, miso and tempeh (made from organic soybeans), chutneys and sour cream (from grass fed cows) are some of the most common cultured and fermented foods. Read labels on foods to avoid added sugar, preservatives or artificial anything. Sugar on kombucha labels is typical, since the fermentation feeds on the sugar. We don’t actually ingest the sugar since the good bacteria feed on the sugar.
Incorporating these foods is best done gradually. Eating a little bit of cultured food each day and increasing to two to four ounce servings and ideally every meal, will be support for digestion, a healthy GI tract and microbiome. For children or others unfamiliar with cultured foods, offering a very small serving, strand or small spoonful, will engage the palate to adjust to the taste. Naming cultured foods ‘fizzy foods’ is more enticing for kids.
Getting aerobic movement each day enhances wellness in conjunction with good nutrition for the Gut-Brain Axis. We need not do a rigorous workout or running regimen although that is great if it fits you. A 20–30 minute daily walk will do wonders for our body and mind. If we aren’t able to do a 20 minute walk, start with a five minute walk, add minutes daily or weekly until 30 minutes and more is achieved. Dance in the kitchen! You’re there anyway. Put on some great music and flow with the music. You’ll be amazed how fun doing dishes can be. A mini-trampoline is another great way to add some healthy movement. A few minutes are supportive for blood and lymphatic circulation, aerobic exercise, and even building bones. As Dr. Perlmutter points out, aerobic exercise supports the growth of BDNF, which is the growth hormone for our brain.
Choose a starting point to get smart and nourish your Gut-Brain Axis and do this every day. It takes 21 days to form new habits. Habits change lives. Choose habits that invigorate you for life!
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care Physician or Naturopathic Doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.
Originally published at medium.com