An important part of my approach in working with my clients to help them to reduce their stress levels is teaching them about their mind-body connection. When you think about something stressful you get that feeling of butterflies in your stomach, or when you have to make a decision you are often asked “What is your gut feeling about it?”
Your gut and your mind are connected so they affect each other. Did you know that your gut is known as the second brain? This is because your gastro-intestinal tract makes over 90% of your body’s serotonin (a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, sleep, anxiety, depression and more). We are 99% bacteria, so maintaining the ideal balance of good and bad bacteria forms the foundation for good health—physical, mental and emotional. If your microbiome – made up of a hundred trillion bacteria – is out of balance, you are likely to end up anxious and/or depressed, suffering from fatigue, poor memory and brain fog.
Your beneficial gut bacteria are easily disturbed and affected by stress. Medications (especially antibiotics and antacids), contraceptive pills, toxins and chemicals taken in through our food, drink, and other environmental influences all damage the composition of our gut flora. The proliferation of good bacteria in our microbiome helps us to restore good gut health and heal symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety, depression, headaches, acne, eczema, colds, infections, joint and muscle pain. If you want better immunity, efficient digestion, improved clarity and balance, focus on rebuilding your gut health by incorporating probiotic-rich fermented veggies (kimchi) and microbial-rich cultured milk (kefir) into your daily diet.
Kefir in Turkish means to “feel good.” It is cultured milk that is a microbial-rich food that helps to restore your body’s inner ecology. It is an excellent source of vitamin B-12 and tryptophan (an essential amino acid) which combined with the calcium and magnesium calms your nervous system. The body converts tryptophan into serotonin (the brain chemical linked to mood) and balanced serotonin levels can induce sleep, prevent waking during the night, cure constipation and depression. Kefir is also rich in vitamin B-1 (thiamine) which is known as the “morale vitamin” because of its beneficial effects on the nervous system and on mental attitude.
Taking the time to commit to creating good health for yourself by rebuilding your gut health is a vital part of your self-care. The more you take care of yourself, the more you come back into balance.