Our Gut is Connected to our Brain - Here's how to Nourish it!
Do not underestimate the power of nourishing your body with good food. Our physical & emotional well-being is intimately intertwined via the gut-brain connection, so if we are not eating well our overall wellbeing will suffer.
Our gut, which includes the stomach, small and large intestine, gallbladder, liver and pancreas, is quite extraordinary. Not only is it in charge of digesting our food and turning it into waste, but it’s also in constant communication with our brain. The gut communicates with our brain so often that it is now thought of us our “second brain”. If our gut microbiome is troubled, a distress signal will be sent to our brain. Likewise, a stressed brain will send a distress signal to the gut. Thus, an upset gut can be the cause or be the product of stress, anxiety or depression.
To keep your gut healthy, try to eat a balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, whole gains, dairy and lean meat. The occasional discretionary food is also ok.
If you really want to treat your gut microbiome, focus on eating prebiotic foods. Prebiotics are a type of dietary fibre, and can be found in:
Not only do we need to think about what we eat, but how we eat.
Diets are often presented to us the solution to all our problems – when we lose weight we’ll be healthier and happier. If only it were that simple.
The reality is, diets don’t work. Not because we lack willpower, but because diets and the dieting industry set us up to fail. Our human bodies are simply not designed to diet.
Yes, there are some success stories out there. But for most of us, when we diet, we get caught an almighty vicious cycle that looks something like this:
1: We deprive ourselves of what we can eat, when we can eat, or how much we can eat.
2: Our body becomes starved of energy and nutrients and goes into a state of semi-starvation. When our body is in a state of starvation the heart muscle shrinks, the heart rate decreases, and the metabolism slows down. This is all to conserve energy and is terribly stressful on the body.
3: When we don’t provide our body with the energy and nutrients that it needs, we become completely consumed with thoughts about food. We become particularly consumed by thoughts about the food we are depriving ourselves of.
4: The physical and psychological pressure to eat becomes so overwhelming that we start to eat more than we planned, or, lose complete control to the point of binge eating.
5: We feel terrible about ourselves.
6: To make up for what we did, we once again deprive ourselves of food or start a new diet to feel better.
It doesn’t matter the type or volume of food you’re eliminating from your diet, your body and mind will fight back. It’s one hell of a battle that will only leave us feeling miserable and hungry. ALL. THE. TIME. What’s more, because we spend so much energy focussed on food, we end up missing out on what really matters to us.
So, if diets aren’t the answer, then what?
Despite what you may hear about the benefits of fasting, most of us function optimally when we eat every 3-4 hours. This means eating three main meals and 2-3 snacks every day. Regular eating stabilises our blood sugar levels, meaning we’re less likely to feel irritable, tired or have difficulty concentrating. Regular eating also improves metabolic functioning, which is what actually helps us maintain a healthy weight.