Have you ever felt a “pit” in your stomach? Butterflies? Do certain situations make you feel as if your stomach “turned upside down”? Ever had a “gut instinct” on something? That gut-wrenching feeling is no accident. The gut-brain connection is extremely real and prominent.
If you weren’t aware, your gut includes every organ involved in digesting food and processing this food into waste. It is often referred to as the “second brain.” This may sound strange, but the reasoning behind this concept makes complete sense. Your gut can work on its own and communicates back and forth with your brain. They are connected both physically and chemically. Physically, the vagus nerve (controls messages sent to your “second brain”) is the gut’s direct connection to the brain, among other vital organs. Chemically, your gut connects the brain through chemicals such as hormones and neurotransmitters which send messages to your “second brain”, as previously mentioned. The gut’s microbiome houses all the bacteria in your body, both the good and bad, the good bacteria being probiotics and the bad being pathogens. Research shows changes in the gut microbiome/inflammation in the gut affects the brain and could even lead to anxiety and depression. If you're wondering how the gut-brain connection is real, hormones like serotonin and cortisol which affect the brain are actually created in the gut. So basically, if your gut health isn’t up to par, your mental health could also be affected.
At this point, you might be asking yourself, well how do I know if my gut is out of whack? If you are at all curious, here are some signs you may have an unbalanced gut. *Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. If you believe you are having serious health issues, please go see a licensed professional.
Some signs you could have an unhealthy gut:
Chronic stomach issues
Irritated skin: skin conditions like eczema could be connected to poor gut health
Poor sleep: serotonin, like mentioned before, is produced in the gut. An unhealthy gut can result in insomnia or chronic fatigue
Finally, here are some foods that will support gut health:
Prebiotics, non-living fiber, feeds the good bacteria that’s in your gut:
Probiotics, living microorganisms that add to the good bacteria in your gut:
Kombucha, my personal favorite - I recommend any flavor from Health Ade