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 Happy Gut, Healthy Mind: How The Gut and Brain are Connected 

Of all of the things Apple Cider Vinegar is most accredited to, digestion and an overall cleansing of the body is the biggest. Why? Because the organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar also contains a substance called “the mother.” The “mother” consists of strands of proteins, enzymes, and friendly bacteria that give the product a suspicious murky appearance similar to kombucha! Some people claim that the mother is responsible for all of the benefits, but there’s no concrete evidence. What we do know is that the mother plays a vital role in the cleansing of the gut.  

Gut health is a hot new topic of conversation and for good reason. But what does it mean to have a “good gut” and how does it benefit our lives? You might not even realize what kind of changes await you when your gut is balanced and healthy.

In this article we are going to explore gut health and introducing these methods can help you change your life.  

So… what is gut health? 

A healthy gut means you have a good balance of bacteria, or microbes, in your gastrointestinal tract. These microbes help the body obtain energy from the food you eat, get rid of toxins, and fight off harmful bacteria and viruses.  

Throughout our lifetime, our digestive system is solely responsible for providing our bodies and cells with: 

  •  Nutrients to function 
  • Filtering toxic exposure and pathogens  
  • Producing many important cells and chemicals 

What does this mean? If our digestive system is dysfunctional or in other words, our gut is not healthy, then the rest of our body suffers.  

Although most people only associate an unhealthy gut to constipation, digestion issues, and gas, there are other lesser known symptoms of an unhealthy gut microbiome. These symptoms include: 

  • Inflammation  
  • ADD/ADHD  
  • Skin Breakouts 
  • Seasonal allergies 
  • Food intolerances 
  • Hormonal imbalances 
  • Foggy brain 
  • Anxiety

If you’re wondering how these are connected to an imbalanced gut, think about it this way: If you’re not fully digesting or absorbing your nutrients, overtime there will be deficiencies.  

Ever wonder why your allergies, skin irritations, or anxiety have occurred later in life? These are your deficiencies occuring. 

How do I know I have an unhealthy gut? 

The first step to understanding if your gut and overall health is in jeopardy is by recognizing the symptoms you’re experiencing. Take a look at some of the diseases and current imbalances you have.  

By simply asking the question “why?” can lead you to discovering more than you know about your overall health.  

Once you’ve recognized the imbalances in your body, it’s time to make some changes to your lifestyle and overall eating habits.  

What to do about it! 

Some simple and effective changes you can take today: 

1. EAT REAL FOOD

It might sound silly but we live in a world where it’s normal to eat chicken nuggets, frozen pizza, and Goldfish and forget how important real whole foods are for our health. The first step to feeling better is eliminating foods that create irritations. Most of which are grains, dairy, sugar and processed foods.

The next step is implementing real whole foods such as meat, fish, veggies, and fresh fruits. Healthy fats, meat, and whole food starches such as potatoes, carrots, and beats too!  

2. TAKE PROBIOTICS

Taking probiotics which are “good bacteria” help fight off the bad bacteria in your gut. You can take probiotics in capsule or liquid form as well as getting your intake through fermented foods- kombucha or full fat fermented yogurt.   

3. TAKE PREBIOTICS

Taking probiotics which are “good bacteria” help fight off the bad bacteria in your gut. You can take probiotics in capsule or liquid form as well as getting your intake through fermented foods- kombucha or full fat fermented yogurt.   

4. DRINK WATER

Water nourishes our body and keeps our digestive system working efficiently. If we don’t get enough water daily, our digestive system will compromise.
Water nourishes our body and keeps our digestive system working efficiently. If we don’t get enough water daily, our digestive system will compromise.  

5. EAT SLOWLY; CHEW YOUR FOOD

By fully breaking down your food in your mouth, your body doesn't have to work as hard to break down the food in your belly!  

6. STRESS LESS

Sometimes the smallest things such as getting enough sleep, exercise, and not over committing ourselves to doing too many things, and taking time off of work to enjoy life has a positive affect on your health.  

You might be thinking, how does stress have anything to do with my gut health? That leads us into the next topic. How are our gut and brain connected? 

How a healthy gut contributes to a healthy mind 

Have you ever heard of a “gut-wrenching experience” or have you ever felt “butterflies” in your stomach? Or even, “I feel nauseous.” We use these expressions for a reason. The gastrointestinal tract is sensitive to emotion. So, when we feel sad, angry, surprised, scared, or elation of feelings- it can trigger symptoms in the gut. This is because the brain and the gastrointestinal are connected.  

In fact, the Vagus Nerve (the nerve responsible for conducting your digestion) is connected from the top of your stomach to your brain. 

Not to mention, 80 percent of your serotonin is produced in the gut, not the brain. That’s a huge amount of chemical that is responsible for your happiness, mood balance, behavior, digestion and sleep.  

This can work both ways of course. A troubled intestine can send signals to the brain, just as a troubled brain can send signals to the gut. Therefore, a person's stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress, or depression.  

Bottom Line 

The gut-brain connection is no joke. Once you’ve recognized some digging deeper is warranted, you can start making simple changes to your everyday life. By implementing a healthy, whole food diet, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and taking supplements such as prebiotics and probiotics- we can live a healthier more controlled life.  

Always remember, your gut is the gateway to your health.