Mom was right! You really are what you eat. UCLA researchers conclude that microbiotics ingested in food can affect human brain function.
Researchers have known that the brain sends signals to the gut, which is why stress and other emotions can contribute to gastrointestinal symptoms. This study shows what has been suspected but until now had been proved only in animal studies: that signals travel the opposite way as well. That’s right. Your gut, or intestines, sends signals to your brain.
Prior to the study there was ample anecdotal evidence from patients saying that they "never felt depressed or anxious until they started experiencing problems with their gut.” The study shows that the gut-brain connection is a two-way street. Researchers were surprised to find that the brain effects could be seen in many areas, including those involved in sensory processing and not just those associated with emotions.
So what does this mean to you? The bottom line is that your food and beverage choices have a significant impact on your overall wellbeing, both physiologically and psychologically. Healthy flora or probiotic cultures occur naturally in the large intestines under the right circumstances. Here are a few things you can do to support healthy gut flora.
- Eat Living Foods. Choose more fresh, organic fruit and vegetables over packaged and fast food products.
- Eat Fermented Foods. Include more probiotic-rich foods such as miso, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, poi, yogurt and microalgae.
- Drink Quality Water. Choose when possible water with electrolytes or alkaline water over basic potable water.
- Get Clean Inside. Regular colon hydrotherapy helps keep your gut clear of excess waste buildup and toxic debris.
In addition to eating fermented foods, a probiotic supplement may prove beneficial. Probiotics can support your natural-occurring intestinal flora more directly and expediently. When exploring the options, look for plant-based sources with a high culture count (30 to 50 billion is ample for the average person), and a wide variety of cultures (at least 10 different strains is ideal).
While supporting your healthy gut flora, it is also important to minimize the intake of products that deplete it. Highly acidic beverages such as coffee and sodas are good places to start. Another area to consider is your medicine cabinet. Antibiotics have become quite common. They work by stripping or killing off internal microbiotic cultures, including the healthy probiotics necessary for proper gut function. When antibiotics are used extensively, particularly in neonatal medicine, such suppression of the normal microbiota may have long-term consequences on brain development. This study raises the question of whether repeated courses of antibiotics can affect the brain as some have speculated.
Source: UCLA Research: Gut-Brain Connection