When you are stressed you get that feeling of pangs in your belly, or a fluttery stomach, or a knotted up gut. When you have to make a decision you are often asked “What is your gut feeling about it?” Your gut has the ability to not only read your own internal states, it also has the ability to sense the states of those around you through intuition.
Your gut contains 100 million neurons (even more than the spinal cord) and is called the second brain because it regulates your mood. Your gut and your mind are connected so they affect each other. 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 95% 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 100 trillion bacteria – is out of balance, you are likely to end up feeling anxious and/or depressed, suffering from fatigue, poor memory and brain fog.
Anxiety makes the gut more acidic and this negatively impacts the gut microbiome by killing off good bacteria. 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. Lack of sufficient sleep, snacking all day or really restricting your food intake, over sanitation, sugar and not spending time outdoors can all damage the composition of your gut flora. The proliferation of good bacteria in our microbiome (probiotics and pre-biotics) 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, and improved clarity and balance, focus on rebuilding your gut health by making lifestyle changes and incorporating probiotic-rich fermented veggies (kimchi) and microbial-rich cultured milk (kefir) into your daily diet.
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.