The Silent Brain: Keys to Maintaining a Healthy Gut
Gut health seems to be a topic on the rise within the nutrition world. The general idea is that gut health has to do with abdominal health and digestion. That is true, but gut health goes far beyond simply the breakdown of food and intestinal health, so much that it is what many in the discipline of the health and science world are now calling “the silent brain.” This is due to how much gut bacteria actually regulates your entire body and is directly related to your health.
In order to have a healthy gut, we must first understand what purpose of gut bacteria is, and how we can get it in our diets. The bacteria in your gut are just as vital to your health as the main organs in your body such as your heart, lungs and brain. Gut bacteria are accountable for a multitude of responsibilities within your body. It regulates digestion and the absorption of nutrients, also neutralizing toxins found in your food. These “gut bugs” are also in charge of regulating stress through the hormonal system and the body’s inflammatory response which affects risk for practically all kinds of chronic diseases. There is so much responsibility in the gut that they play a part with risk for not only mental illness and brain disorders, but also food allergies and asthma, due to their indirect influence on all of your organs. Everything we intake is digested and then absorbed and told exactly what to do and where to go in the body, based on our gut bacteria. Very simply put, your gut bacteria are in charge of your health.
So, what can we do to get these gut bugs on our side? We can eat the raw, live version of the foods our bodies need to thrive. Also, it is important to populate your gut with different types of bacteria as your gut thrives on variety. Good bacteria can be found in fermented foods such as the following four examples.
This is created usu- ally from green or black tea, and after the fermentation pro- cess becomes car- bonated and contains vinegar, live probiot- ics and enzymes. Due to its high level of probiotics and beneficial acid, it is known to restore and rebalance the gut bacteria.
Basically fermented milk, yogurt is key for gut health. Although most yogurts contain probiotics, the pro- cessing involves heat which can kill a lot of the bacteria. Because of this, companies disclose when the yogurt has probiotics in it. Check the label for something like “Live and active cultures.”
Vinegar Essentially fer- mented apples, it’s important to make sure you get raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar. The squishy looking stuff in the bottle is the bacteria that forms from the fermentation process and exactly what we want! There is also an ingredient in the vinegar called pectin which promotes the livelihood of good bacteria.
This is similar to yogurt being fer- mented milk, howev- er Kefir contains not only good bacteria, but also yeast. This wider variety is ben- eficial to our gut and maintains a similar taste to yogurt but at a much thinner consistency.