I am sure you have heard of people talking of having a gut feeling, using it to make a decision for example; using your "gut feeling" about applying for a new job perhaps or moving house. We use that feeling deep in our gut subconsciously ; sometimes I will hear people say "I just got a bad gut feeling" about something. So this gut, our gut believe it or not is more than just where our food goes and gets digested. Scientists now know that the gut has a lining called the enteric system made up of the same grey matter as our brains! Just shows how the brain and our guts affect one another.
I often use the example of how when under duress, perhaps a discussion, we lose our appetite. Imagine the most lovely spread of good food and then having an argument with your host. The whole scenario would affect your gut and of course you wouldn't feel much like eating !
So how does stress affect our gut? Well believe it or not, stress has a detrimental effect on your microbe. Stress often leads to poor sleep and poor eating habits and in the same breath this will lead to a poor microbe in your gut. All this can lead to mild IBS symptoms and even abdominal pain.
When we eat bad foods: over processed foods or sugar, we are ultimately affecting our inner microbe, which in turn affect our mood. Food affects our mood. When we are stressed we crave sweet things. A coping mechanism of eating comfort foods is not an unknown for many of us. When one is suffering from depression or mood swings, having a look at ones diet is pretty revelatory. What we feed our gut ultimately feeds our brain, our organs, our hormones. A rubbish diet will make us feel exactly that: rubbish.
The food we eat is our fuel. You wouldn't fill your car which runs on unleaded petrol with diesel, so why fill yourself with the wrong fuel, which in turn affects your health and mind. We need protein for our muscles, carbs for energy ...excess leads to putting on too much weight and belly fat.
So how can we keep our second brain happy, thats right our gut?
Well for one it needs plenty of water. Getting enough water is as important as eating enough fiber. If you are dehydrated your bowels will be slow, leading to constipation.
Getting enough exercise is also important for your gut health, since it speeds up digestion. Try to eat a high fiber diet with fruit and vegetables and wholemeal products.
Avoid fatty foods.
Also try to include probiotics into your diet. They will also regulate the guts ensuring a healthy microbe which in turn will give a healthier and calmer you. So look after yourself inside and out.