6 AUGUST, 2018
Gut health is about way more than just digestion. The effect it has on our overall happiness and wellbeing is underrated. The gut is where the body makes most of its serotonin, the ‘happy’ hormone; it’s also home to the most nerve endings outside of the central nervous system, and to 80% of the immune system. Cultivating a thriving microbiome (the living ecosystem of bacteria living in and on your body) is one of the most important facets of maintaining a balanced, productive and happy life. Your body’s friendly flora can support you in all of your endeavours by:
- Supporting a strong immune system. Gut bacteria teach your immune system’s cells the difference between a foreign substance and the body’s own tissues, a critical process that determines how and what your immune system responds to, and that helps to prevent autoimmune disorders. And fewer sick days means more time to be productive.
- Providing a natural energy boost. Working towards your professional goals requires plenty of energy. A lot of people rely on caffeine to keep up with hectic schedules and deadlines, but nourishing the good bacteria in your gut could be a better option. Friendly bacteria help to break down and digest our food so that nutrients can be assimilated, as well as working to help keep our blood sugar balanced. Some probiotics even produce their own energy-boosting B vitamins. What’s more, they produce and regulate important amino acids that help with quality sleep — so you can be recharged and feeling your best.
- Banishing brain fog. The gut communicates with your brain via the vagus nerve, sending mind-boosting chemicals to your brain that improve memory and sharpen focus. When the gut isn’t fortified with billions of probiotics, however, yeast and bad bacteria can take over, producing chemicals that lead to brain fog and memory problems.
- Promoting a radiant smile. As well as the microbiome in our gut, we also have friendly bacteria in our mouths, which help protect our teeth from plaque formation, decay and inflamed gums. Healthy teeth = confident smiles, and research has shown that smiling can improve mood, make you more creative, and seem more approachable and trustworthy — all good things for business!
- Boosting your mood. Stress, anxiety and depression can derail your personal and professional life. Gut bacteria produce most of the body’s serotonin and can lower cortisol, the ‘stress’ hormone, which means that maintaining your gut health is key to living your happiest life, staying positive and realising your goals.
So what can we do to support a flourishing microbiome?
- These are indigestible plant fibres that nourish and promote good bacteria growth. Raw garlic, raw or cooked onions, legumes, leeks and leafy greens are just some examples.
- They assist in rebalancing your microbiome. You can find them in fermented veggies like kimchee, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, and yoghurt, or take them as a supplement.
- Reduce refined sugar. It feeds candida, the strains of yeast that can destroy the lining of the gut.
And perhaps most importantly,
- Practice diaphragmatic breathing exercises and meditation. Chronic stress can have a profound effect on the gut, disrupting and even disabling our microbiome. As Emeran Mayer, author of ‘The Mind-Gut Connection’, says, ‘we have this fascination with healthy diets, but people forget that unless you’re in the right state of mind, the benefit of eating well is greatly reduced. Chronic stress can actually remodel our gut cells.’ Techniques like breathing and meditation are one of the simplest things you can do for your mental and physical health.
Originally published at agoraworld.one.