The Gut-Brain Connection and Your Anxiety – Changing your diet will change your thoughts
The gut feeling… that churning when something is not right… you know what it's like when you know something, and it's just turning in your gut. Unsurprisingly, science is now proving the gut-brain connection is something that truly exists, something known around the world since ancient times.
Within our gut lies billions of probiotic bacteria. They respond to the outside world, and now we're proving that this connection has a significant influence on our health.
Why Doctors Are Starting To Pay Attention To The Gut-Brain Connection
Many doctors fought the idea of this connection for a long time. But, the evidence is becoming overwhelming. As more and more people experience digestive problems that include IBS, reflux, Crohn's disease, and malabsorption problems, doctors now realize there's more to the gut than just a tube.
Individual probiotic bacteria studies show they benefit digestion, nutrient absorption, mental health, and much more. The most fascinating set of research is coming out that shows the probiotics do influence our body, particularly our:
In fact, there have been some studies that show using probiotic bacteria, and a healthy diet can be more effective than some medications. Of particular note are the anti depression medications. With so many causes of depression and anxiety, medicines are no longer as effective, and doctors are trying something different.
What if you could read just your ability to think and balance out your hormones with a simple supplement of probiotics? What if you could avoid medications with the supplement?
Nourish Your Gut-Brain Connection With Probiotics
Restoring balance in the gut takes a little bit of time, and you have to do that before you find balance in the rest of the body. Fortunately, that time is a couple of days to a couple of weeks – relatively short.
You can choose to get your probiotics from food or a supplement. If you prefer food, choose something fermented such as:
Fermented tofu (check the label, most tofu is chemically set)
Supplements are typically more manageable, and you can get large doses of specific, proven bacteria.
For people who dislike the flavor of fermented foods, particularly the sour/acidic bite most of them have, a supplement is a good choice.
Bifidobacteria and lactobacillus are both studied to help both the immune system and depression in several studies on depression and anxiety. Those taking medication found their symptoms improved simply by taking a probiotic supplement. Even those not taking medication found improvement. In some studies, all people did was start to eat yogurt daily.
Other studies show the immune system is stronger and better able to recognize Invaders with healthy probiotics in your system. There's a good reason for that, too. We have a great article on how to improve your immune system (link), so we recommend you read that for more information.
The probiotics are the first line of defense when we ingest a bacteria or virus that could harm us. They basically crowd out the bad ones. On top of that, healthy probiotics help nurture the mucous membranes that coat our digestive system. That makes it easier to absorb nutrients and have regular bowel movements. However, scientists do not understand how healthy probiotics reduce inflammation in the gut and throughout the body. With lower inflammation, the immune system can work better.
Some studies know that even children benefit from healthy gut bacteria. That playing in the dirt outside helps improve the variety of probiotics within a child's gut. As odd as it sounds, children who like to get dirty by playing in the grass and dirt tend to be healthier than those kept inside, especially when the house is super clean.
Getting Started Healing Your Gut
Most grocery stores carry some fermented foods such as yogurt and kombucha. Many of the specialty stores will also carry sauerkraut and other fermented vegetable products. Just be sure to get the ones marked unpasteurized or contains live bacteria cultures.
Or you can choose a good supplement. The bacteria bifidobacteria and lactobacillus are two of the most popular and well-studied probiotics. But there are dozens more. Just keep in mind that more bacteria does not mean a better supplement. Choose one that releases further in the gut, so the stomach acids do not destroy the bacteria. You pay a little more but get much better quality.