So many take mood-enhancing drugs today. Gosh, I remember my heart just breaking the first time I heard someone say that their child was taking a medication that altered their mood. Their child? The rate at which “we” acquiesce to taking medications like Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil is startling. Perhaps what is more startling is the rate at which they are prescribed.
My research continues to point to the ways the health of our gut has everything to do with the state of our mind, the balance of our mood, the cognitive ability we possess, or not. According to Dr. Alejandro Junger, our “gut” is more than our body’s digestive tube. Our “gut,” includes the healthy intestinal flora inside the lining of our digestive tract, the immune system and the nervous system. What is most important is research now clearly shows that our gut is akin to a “second brain” in our body, which makes perfect sense because of the close bio-physical communication and relationship these two major organs share.
For years, the medical world has been trying to figure out what causes our moods to change and what causes common problems like stress, anxiety, and even depression. We now know that the common problems that many of us experience like these are directly linked to serotonin production, the neurotransmitter that triggers feelings of happiness and wellbeing. What you may not know is that 90% of this “feel-good” serotonin isn’t even produced in the brain. Serotonin is largely produced in our gut. Because the gut primarily produces this bio-chemical process of the neurotransmitter serotonin to interact with our brain, problems we experience with our gut, undoubtedly show up with problems in our emotional health.
What we put inside our belly directly correlates to our emotional health. Hands down. Because of the proximity of our nervous system around the gut wall of our digestive system, if our gut is out of balance, our brain will be out of balance. Our nervous system surrounds our digestive tract and stages direct communication to our brain. Have you ever had an upset stomach because your mind was so stressed?
Important to note too, our body contains 10x more bacteria than cells. Yes. Our body houses 37 trillion cells, but a hundred trillion bacteria (think the size of a quadricep)… and this bacteria (known as the friendly flora in the mucosal lining of our gut) not only acts like a “satellite liver” to neutralize about 40% of the toxins we take in through our food, it too communicates closely with our brain. Maintaining a balance of healthy gut flora is critical far beyond just the health of our gut. It impacts our overall wellbeing, including emotional balance and mood. Many scientific studies now point to gut problems behind the mood problems many experience today, and vice versa.
The best way to make sure your body has healthy bacteria is to eat live foods rich in healthy bacteria, oxygen and enzymes. Begin your healing, healthy nourishment program with lots of fresh, organic vegetables and fruits and add probiotic-rich foods, like raw fermented sauerkraut, raw fermented vegetables, coconut kefir. and probiotic-rich drinks like fermented tea, Kombucha. You can also include probiotic supplements to your daily protocols. Indeed, many health practitioners with me recommend this supplement as a solid healthy, daily practice. Keeping gut-health in check will help you to digest food properly, absorb vital nutrients, eliminate health-fully and maintain a healthy state of mind. Follow this protocol, with an alkaline-forming, high plant-based diet, and your body will begin to thrive in no time!