Thursday, November 30, 2017

Heal your Gut, Heal Your Brain: The Microbiome

With evidence on how supporting your gut microbiome can provide reduced psychological distress, it’s important to understand how to do just that.

Here are a few things you can do to improve your gut-brain connection.
Eat Probiotics

Eating probiotic-rich foods like coconut water kefir, sauerkraut, and kombucha, is a great way to get in your daily probiotics. They not only help improve mood, but are responsible for nutrient absorption, and strengthening your immune system.

Take a daily probiotic if you can. 

Avoid Gluten and Processed Foods

Ultra-processed foods like wheat bread, chips, and other treats dramatically alter the flora in our gut, which can directly translate to poor moods. Also, a lot of processed foods contain high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which increase the growth of bad bacteria like fungi and yeast.

Add Prebiotic Fiber To Your Diet

Probiotics feed the growth of good bacteria, and since they aren’t as easily digested as probiotics, they actually make it all the way through the lower intestine. Foods that contain high levels of probiotics are chicory root, jerusalem artichokes, dandelion greens, garlic, asparagus, and leek.

Exercise Regularly

It might not seem obvious, but exercising regularly is important for maintaining gut health. Since exercising reduces overall stress load, it also reduces the negative effects that stress normally has on the digestive system. Take up walking, jogging, dancing, swimming, or even yoga -- they’ll all help.

Avoid GMOs and Foods High in Pesticides

GMOs and high-pesticide foods are very damaging to our gut microbiome. Glyphosate (aka "Roundup") damages the delicate encasing of the bacteria in our gut, which we depend on to feel good, and properly absorb nutrients from the food we eat.

Avoid Antibiotics

While the use of antibiotics in extreme cases is permissible, a lot of the time, doctors prescribe antibiotics when they aren’t really needed. Using antibiotics completely changes your gut microbiome, promoting unfriendly groups of bacteria like "firmicutes," which increase your risk of obesity. If you must take antibiotics, make sure you’re also taking probiotics at the same time, and after your round of antibiotics, double up on a high-quality probiotic for at least a year or more.

Meditate and Relax

Too much stress doesn’t only affect your brain -- but it affects your gut bacteria, too. Take time each day to meditate and relax. Just 15 minutes in the morning or evening is enough to calm the brain.

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