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Mindfulness Monday: The Gut-Brain Connection

It appears that the health of our gut can have a major impact on emotional well-being.  It’s only logical that belly aches and bad moods go hand in hand, but the science goes deeper than that.  The gut is home to the enteric nervous system or, as it is often called, “the second brain”.  Once thought to exist solely for the purpose of digesting food, as scientists learn more about it’s intricacy, it is ostensible that its job is far more complex.

Though the gut can’t develop thoughts on its own, it does “talk” to the brain which in turn may influence one’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors (giving a whole new meaning to “you are what you eat”…..).  Though it’s still unclear how deep this connection goes, there is reason to believe that having a healthy gut may help create a healthy mental state.  The following are some ideas to nurture your mind, via your gut:

-Procure probiotic-rich foods: Give your gut something it can work with.  The probiotics found in fermented foods, such as saurkraut, have been shown to increase healthy gut bacteria.  To help these bacteria thrive, choose whole plant foods instead of processed foods.

-Consume carminatives: Incorporating carminative herbs is an easy way to support good digestion.  Cinnamon, ginger, peppermint, fennel, anise, cardamom, and coriander are just a few of the many options for improving digestion while expanding your palate.

-Move more often: Among its many benefits, exercise has recently been back in the spotlight after recent studies have linked it to improving gut flora.

For more on the mind-gut connection, as well as a variety of other topics I write about,  visit the Joyful Gym Rat page on Facebook or follow on Twitter!


Avocado pudding makes T’s tummy (and face) happy!

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