by Nikki Rahimian Certified Holistic Nutritionist
Did you know the gut is oftentimes referred to as the second brain of the body? Why, you may ask? Well, the gut connects with the brain through messenger chemicals like hormones and neurotransmitters. The chemical messages that pass between the gut and brain through what is called the gut-brain axis can be affected by the bacteria that live in the gut, aka the gut microbiome! An unhealthy gut microbiome can directly result in symptoms such as moodiness, brain fog, and fatigue.
So, the important question here is how can we relieve the symptoms of an unhealthy gut and support a flourishing microbiome?
1. Eat more plants! Particularly those high in prebiotic fibers. Prebiotics are soluble fibers that come from fruits, veggies, legumes, and whole grains. Our digestive enzymes are unable to break down these fibers, so they move along the digestive tract to the large intestine where the gut bacteria start to feast on the prebiotic fibers, using them as energy so that they can grow and support intestinal health and the gut barrier. Our premium Kreation grab and go smoothies are great sources of prebiotic fibers; a few of my personal favorites are the Glamology, Tranquility, and Greentastic!
2. Eat fermented foods. Regularly eating fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi can help support a healthy gut. Our kreation yogi’s are a great fermented treat packed with added probiotic cultures. You won’t be sorry after trying the strawberry or chocolate flavors.
3. Chew your food! Yup, that even means chewing your smoothies…digestive enzymes are produced through the process of chewing and secreted by the saliva. Skimping out on thoroughly chewing your food can contribute to diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or even symptoms elsewhere in the body. Not to mention the extra stress that is put on the stomach when it has to work overtime trying to soften and mash and break up hastily swallowed chunks! Make it a goal to chew each bite of food 20 times; this will ensure your experience of eating is more mindful too.
4. Manage your stress levels! I know this one can be especially tough around the holiday season but hear me out…your microbiome and brain are connected by the gut-brain axis, in which the gut communicates with the brain. Recent studies have shown that this gut-brain pathway has direct implications in multiple aspects of health and disease; with an unhealthy gut playing a role in cardiovascular disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and certain infections. On the other hand, a healthy gut may contribute to positive mental health. So next time you notice yourself feeling a little anxious, try some mindfulness meditation or yoga in your backyard for a fully grounding effect to help calm your parasympathetic nervous system.
It’s important to note that you cannot expect to create a flourishing gut microbiome overnight; implementing the above changes are great additions to an already healthy lifestyle and are sure to contribute to a healthy gut over time!