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Gut Thinking

The 2nd Brain

Did you know that the bacteria found in your gut can have a major impact on your mood, behaviour, and well-being?  Strong evidence suggests that gut microbiota plays an important role in the interactions between the gut and the nervous system.

It interacts with the central nervous system by regulating brain chemistry and influencing neuro-endocrine systems associated with stress response, anxiety, and memory function. Your gut and brain are connected physically through millions of nerves, most importantly the vagus nerve. The gut and its microbes also control inflammation and make many different compounds that can affect brain health.

Taking this information into account, it’s a no-brainer that counselling ought to be approached from a holistic viewpoint that seeks to ensure healing of the mind and body as one entity. This is why we at Mind Matters suggest that clients avoid processed foods and high-fat dairy products if they have been struggling with anxiety and depression. It is also recommended that clients also replace fried foods, candy, refined cereals, and pastries with fiber-rich grains, fruits, vegetables, and fish. And, for those with a sweet tooth, dark chocolate and yogurt are also a brilliant, anxiety-reducing addition. Coffee and green tea are also known to be excellent mood boosters.

It is also recommended that you feed your gut with prebiotics in order to enhance mood. The best prebiotic foods are asparagus, garlic, radishes, and onions. Alternatively, you can use a prebiotic supplement that contains FOS (fructooligosaccharides). Lastly, some evidence suggests depression may actually be a response to inflammation of the gut. This is where Omega-3 fatty acids come in handy, as studies have demonstrated their anti-inflammatory properties.

Look after your gut and see what a major difference it makes to your mental, physical and emotional well-being!