I recently wrote this article as a feature on a friend’s website which you can view here. Her website is dedicated to assisting disabled people in all areas of health, and I was very lucky when she allowed me to write for her! Gut health is such a prominent issue and more research is being done every day with incredible new findings. The more I hear the more I would recommend everyone in investing in their gut health. The article below emphasises especially on the link between gut health and your mental health.
If any of you are avid health enthusiasts, you will be no stranger to the health trends and research emerging regarding the importance of our gut which seems to have been overlooked up until recently. Referred to as our second brain by many scientists, nutritionists and researchers, it is authors such as Giulia Enders who have given us something to think about. Should you be swapping an anti depressant for a probiotic?
Enders explores notions in her novel ‘GUT’ about the way in which our gut is influencing our mental state rather than the other way round. Notorious symptoms of anxiety and depression often involve nausea, bloating, stomach pain and discomfort but what if rather these are the root of our mental health issues? Could it be that it is your gut that needs the healing rather than your head? Enders discusses the way in which it is a damaged gut that can influence our state of psychology rather than the other way around.
The increasing amount of gut issues that have arisen in this generation eg intolerances, allergies and IBS have become an inevitable symptom for many due to the consumption of artificial preservatives and sugars, high stress levels, exposure to metals, overuse of antibiotics and toxins which promote oxidation processes in the body. When the gut lining is damaged from these things, and most often the regular consumption of such processed foods as well as alcohol ( a huge contributing factor), the immune system weakens, and our bodies struggle to digest and absorb good bacteria and nutrients from our food.
The gastrointestinal tract is responsible for filtering toxins, bacteria and viruses but a weakened or inflamed gut can weaken its ability to do this. Digestive imbalances can inflict inflammation and strain onto the brain and other parts of the body which can influence the operation of these organs. Inflammation is the response of the immune system to signs of infection, bacteria or unwanted matter in the body, and a huge 80% of our immune system is found in the gut. There is scientific evidence showing a link between brain inflammation and mental health issues. So if the cause of these psychological problems is due to inflammation, it is very likely that the root of this is stemming from ones gut struggling to work. Nutritonist, naturopath and author Helen Padarin, recently discussed her own gut issues as a premature baby, growing up with eczema, asthma, food allergies, ongoing bronchitis and other illnesses where she then faced a bout of depression in her late teens. She discusses that looking back now, it makes a lot of sense, as she has come to understand the impacts of the micro bugs in our gut and their relation to our brain.
Unfortunately, healing your gut isn’t an instantaneous process. It usually takes around 2 years to properly heal. The most important thing to keep in mind is being consistent in your approach. Don’t underestimate the damage that can be done to your gut. It is in your own interest for your own mental and physical health to nurture, heal and treat your gut the right way.
Ways to Heal Your Gut
- Feed your gut with both pro and prebiotics
- Eat foods rich in anti inflammatory properties such as green leafy vegetables, nuts like almonds and walnuts, omega 3 fats ( salmon, flaxseeds, avocado), olive oil
- Whole grains in place of white flour products
- Take natural gut healing remedies such as slippery elm
- Avoid caffeine, refined sugars, processed and artificial foods
- Drink apple cider vinegar to stimulate digestion and bile production
Listen to Helen speak more about gut health here http://thewellnesscouch.com/twg/twg-290-gut-health-and-vegetables-with-helen-padarin.
You can purchase ‘GUT’ by Giulia Enders here https://shop.abc.net.au/products/gut-the-inside-story-of-our-pb