We know that efficient brain function involves eating healthy fats, getting plenty of good quality sleep, and employing disciplines like meditation and yoga. But the latest research shows that if you want a healthy brain, you first need a healthy gut.
Your gut (gastrointestinal tract) produces neurotransmitters that keep you happy and mentally alert, as well as B vitamins to facilitate the swift and accurate transmission of information by brain neurons. So an unhealthy gut affects your brain. Anxiety, depression, ADD, ADHD, dementia, Alzheimer’s and mental sluggishness are all now being linked to gut imbalances.
What harms your gut?
Processed Foods- Full of partially hydrogenated oils and synthetic chemicals, these can cause tiny holes in your gut lining, a condition commonly called Leaky Gut Syndrome. This allows undigested foods and toxins to seep into the bloodstream and cross the blood-brain barrier to impair normal brain function.
Genetically Modified Foods- Many of these carry the Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) toxin, a pesticide designed to kill insects by destroying their digestive systems. When we consume the BT toxin via GM foods it perforates our gut lining, allowing harmful chemicals to reach the brain.
Medications- Many medications, especially antibiotics, kill both the good and bad bacteria in your gut indiscriminately, restricting neurotransmitter production.
Wheat- Most wheat grown today contains a protein called Gliadin. This also crosses the blood-brain barrier and attaches to receptor sites affecting behaviour and appetite, resulting in the intake of more calories than needed.
3 steps to a healthy gut
The good news is that your gut can be restored to health. Here’s how…
Remove. Rid your diet of the substances that damage your gut and allow toxins to reach your brain.
Repair. Take L-glutamine. Clinical studies show that this amino acid helps to heal Leaky Gut Syndrome and improve gastrointestinal health. Taking enzymes regularly also assists in healing the lining of your gut by breaking down undigested food lodged in there.
Reset. Replenish the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Take a high quality probiotic, and eat foods that are naturally rich in probiotics, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, or raw kefir. These will help to restore the microbiome, the microbe community, in your gut.
When you feel depressed or mentally sluggish, give your gut some loving care to enjoy peak brain function again.
Dr Mindy Pelz, author of The Reset Factor, helps people to reset their health, starting with the gut.