Sick to my stomach
Updated: Sep 17
Ever heard the saying "That makes me sick to my stomach" or "That gives me butterflies in my tummy" or many other sayings that relate to how our mood has an effect on our gut. Like most old sayings there is a lot of truth and ancient wisdom in these words. But we know this don't we because we have all experienced it. The shock of the sudden passing of a loved one often leaves us unable to eat, everything makes us feel a little nauseous. When we receive a severe fright we feel it in our stomach and food is the last thing on our mind. It has been long proven that poor long term mental health can lead to disorders of our gut such constipation, diarrhea, IBS and eating disorders. Our mind sends messages to our gut that affect how it performs.
But science is now clearly showing us that our gut sends messages to our brain that affects how it performs. This two way mind/gut connection is important for us to be aware of. Unhealthy eating and gut microbiome can lead to an unhealthy mind and potential mental health issues. Many important hormones are produced in our gut and more than 50% of our dopamine is produced in the gut. So if we want to have optimum mental health, we also need a healthy gut.
What can we do to help our gut? We have over 1,000 different species of bacteria producing much needed products in a healthy gut. Most of these bacteria need fiber to feed on and survive and each bacteria requires specific fiber to consume. Our gut is like a rainforest and the bacteria is like the different animals living of a wide variety of vegetation. What does your rainforest look like? Does it have a plentiful supply and variety of foliage (ie fiber) for your microbiome to consume?
A truly healthy gut microbiome is supported by a high 'variety' of fruits, vegetables, legumes and salads as well as a sufficient quantity of them. Even if we have plenty of 'volume' of veges (for instance the old meat and 3 vege) it is not enough to feed a variety of bacteria. Current recommendations are that for optimum gut health we should have 30 different types of fibrous food regularly eaten. It is not difficult to do, list what you buy and eat in the form of fruit, vegetables, salads and legume's. If it is under 30, buy and eat more. Go for a variety of color if you want a good variety of alternatives for your microbiome to feed on.
Oh, and think of processed and junk food as weedkiller for your garden forest. It may be ok as an occasional snack or treat but you cannot have a healthy gut if consuming processed foods. A great biproduct of this overall strategy of course is usually a healthier weight.
BE KIND TO YOUR GUT AND YOUR GUT WILL BE KIND TO YOUR MIND!