Many people are surprised to learn that there is a direct connection between the human digestive system and the brain. Have you ever noticed how upbeat you feel after a great meal? There’s a lot of current interest in what’s known as the “gut-brain axis” as researchers continue exploring this pivotal link and its impact on mental health. Let’s look closer at the interrelationship between these two vital systems and their effect on wellness.
So, What Is The Gut-Brain Axis?
The gut-brain axis is a two-way communication conduit between the enteric nervous system located in the gut and the brain. The connection is supported by additional pathways, sending signals via chemical reactions and hormones. The ongoing conversation between the stomach and the brain includes information about how you feel, physically and mentally.
The gut microbiome (home to trillions of good and bad microorganisms) also plays a critical role in regulating the gut-brain axis. When the microbes produce chemicals (known as neurotransmitters), they send signals directly to the brain. Some neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine, have been directly linked to processes that affect your mood, brain function, and behavior.
Impact on Mental Health
The digestive tract is generally sensitive to emotion, giving meaning to popular expressions like “gut feeling” and “butterflies in your stomach.” From anxiety and depression to happiness and anger, our emotions can profoundly impact our stomachs. But because the brain is directly connected to the digestive system, when you experience intestinal distress, it can quickly trigger depression or stress.
Making Smarter Food Choices
Your diet can make a difference in your mental health. Some foods are natural triggers that adversely affect the gut-brain axis and should be limited or avoided. These include:
- Alcohol: Excessive alcohol use can disrupt the microbiome, leading to inflammation that can cause stress and depression.
- Gluten: If you’re gluten-intolerant, consuming it can damage the digestive tract, creating risk for multiple issues, including mental health concerns.
- Artificial Sweeteners: Some artificial sweeteners disrupt the gut biome, leading to inflammation and various health issues.
- High-Sugar and Processed Foods: Consuming too many sweets and processed foods creates gut microbiome imbalances. This can trigger inflammation in the brain and the gut and has been linked to depression and mood disorders.
In contrast, you can naturally support the gut-brain axis by creating a diet plan that features:
- High-fiber Prebiotics: These foods, including a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can reduce stress hormones.
- Fermented Foods: You can naturally promote good gut bacteria by consuming fermented favorites like yogurt, kimchi, kefir, and sauerkraut.
- Omega-3s: These fats (found in oily fish) increase good bacteria and reduce the risk of brain disorders.
- Polyphenol-rich Foods: Polyphenols are plant-sourced foods, including cocoa, berries, green tea, olive oil, and coffee. They increase healthy gut microbes and may help improve mental clarity.
Combining these adjustments with plenty of sleep and regular exercise will go a long way in helping you keep your gut-brain axis in balance!
How Aloe Helps Support Your System
Known as one of history’s most sought-after super plants, aloe vera has maintained a reputation of holistic health benefits! In fact, ingesting safe, filtered aloe vera has been proven to help aid the body in many ways, including digestive health, immune support, and increased nutrient absorption. By taking the recommended dosage of aloe each day, you’re providing your body with the extra support it needs to keep your gut-brain axis in check.
And, for those of us who have issues digesting food or experience occasional acidity, our Aloe Herbal Stomach Formula is here to help. It uses a fantastic blend of natural ingredients, such as chamomile leaf and slippery elm bark, to soothe the stomach and support regularity.
Lily Herbal Formulas: Shop Online and Save!
If you regularly use our microbiome-friendly Stomach Formula (or you’ve wanted to try it!), now is the perfect time to place your order! We’re currently offering a 15% discount on all of our Herbal Formulas when you shop online at www.lilyofthedesert.com. Be sure to enter the coupon code “FORM15” at checkout.
We’re making the most of our digital and social platforms! Make sure you’ve subscribed to our newsletter here to stay informed about all things Lily, including company news and product announcements. And don’t forget to like, follow, and comment on our Facebook and Instagram pages. We love updating you on the latest health and wellness trends. And be sure to tag us at @lilyofthedesert when you share our posts on your feed so we can like them! Happy Spring!