Are you damaging “The Belly that Rules the Mind”?

This is the second article of my blog series on the gut brain connection and how our gut health directly effects the mind. This follows the last article, The Belly Rules the Mind, where I spoke about how the belly and the mind are physiologically intertwined and how common imbalances in the belly (gut health) can lead to anxiety, depression, in ability to focus, severe mood swings and brain fog. [Click over] and read that one first if you missed it.

So now that we have a basic idea of the precious connection between gut health and the brain, let’s touch on just a few ways you could be potentially damaging this intricate system. Keep in mind, most chronic illness or disorders either stem from or directly relate to the health of the belly. So this is far more common than you might think.

Things like dysbiosis, leaky gut, candida overgrowth, inflammation, and food sensitivities are on the raise. All of the things mentioned here can go easily unnoticed as they further sabotage your health.

What does gut health mean?

Remember I explained in the previous blog, our gut health is its own mini ecosystem, that we call the microbiome, made up of trillions and trillions of bacteria. To keep it simple, there are ‘good/friendly’ and ‘bad/harmful’ bacteria and that balance is crucial to our entire health. A healthy microbiome protect the lining of the intestines and ensures that vital nutrients are absorbed and toxins and pathogens are not. It helps to digest food, produce vitamins, keep the immune system strong, regulate hormones and excrete wastes and toxins.

The Gut Brain Connection

In and around the lining of the intestines is where 70% of the immune cells reside, and where most of the neurotransmitters for the brain are made and stored, (including 90% of serotonin). There are more neurons involved in the microbiome them in the spinal column!

This is why the digestive track is known as ‘The Second Brain’, technically called the Enteric Nervous System. I mentioned in the previous article, that gut feeling and butterflies in the belly are a good example of the connection between the brain and the gut. Science is now finding there are far more signals going from the ‘gut to the brain’ then there are from the ‘brain to the gut’, (as in gut feelings). It’s like an entire secondary intelligence that we have yet to tap into that highly affects our moods and behaviors! That should give us a whole new prospective on how we eat and treat our bodies directly affects the way we think and feel.

It's like an entire secondary intelligence that we have yet to tap into that highly affects our moods and behaviors!

When it comes to repairing the microbiome and the gut brain connection, there are a few steps involved depending on the issue at hand. This is essential for proper function and overall health. I will go deeper into this in the following article of this Belly Rules the Mind series.

Are You Damaging “The Belly that Rules the Mind”?

With our busy, stressful, on-the-go lifestyles and they way our food industry is, chances are high…

Here are 3 things to look out for: (More listed below)

  1. Sugar!

Nooooo you can’t take my sugar away!!!!

Do you ever have really strong sugar cravings? If you remember from the last article I explained how the bad

bacteria feed off of sugar and when they rule, they scream and demand the brain to crave it! Then you may feel bad or guilty that your will power wasn’t strong enough. Maybe quietly call yourself some bad names, (which isn’t cool), and it wasn’t even a fair fight!

So how do we get to that point? If you haven’t noticed, sugar is laden in everything and society trains us to be addicted to it from the very beginning of our time. There is added sugars and high fructose corn syrup in many baby formulas and baby food! Children of all ages are manipulated by the food industry with bright colors, cartoons and toys to desire these processed foods and then become addicted to the high sugary cereals and snacks. Packaged high sugary foods that are also stripped of their fiber and nutrients, causing the blood sugar to spike off the roof! Then these children get punished or prescribed Ritalin because they can’t sit still and focus in school…

As adults it’s not much better, we just get to be accountable now. The average American consumes large amounts of sugar at every meal. Have you ever calculated the sugar content in a Starbuck Venti Carmel Macchiato? Or any of their drinks? Even foods marketed as healthy snacks can be loaded with sugar. Fat-free products, (which isn’t healthy by the way), are loaded with sugar. Sugar free products, are loaded with fake sugar.

When we consume large amounts of sugar the ‘bad’ bacteria feed ravenously on this, defecating toxins, creating a gaseous bloated environment leading to inflamed intestinal barrier. It impairs our friendly bacteria, especially if we are not feeding them and they are less able to do their job. We are throwing a wrench in the microbiome, the precious ecosystem within that is literally at the core of our health!

To remind you how this storm affects our mind, our gut brain connection is directly linked via one of the largest nerves in the body called the Vegas nerve. Most neurotransmitters are produced and stored in the gut and there are millions of neurons, all affecting our moods, emotions and thoughts. So when we are feeling foggy, irritable, unable to focus, anxious, depressed, most people look to drugs but instead try looking within!

What you can do about it:
1. Reduce or eliminate your sugar consumption, especially processed sugar
2. Reduce or eliminate packaged foods as they hid a lot of processed sugars under other names, as well as other toxic substances.
3. Eat a high fiber, whole foods diet. You will crave less sugar!

 

  1. GMO’s

This is a tricky one especially because our food industry tells us this is safe and we need to be doing this to our food to feed the population. Over 60 other countries completely ban Genetically Modified Foods due to their health effects and the devastation on nature’s real crops. These scientists are genetically mutating the DNA of our crops in ways that would not be possible in nature. They are injecting foreign genes into the DNA of our food crops from other organisms completely unrelated to food! …and they don’t think we have a right to know. Therefor sadly, we are all consuming genetically modified foods with no proof of their safety.

Many studies are revealing the damaging effect to our health, immunity, reproductive system and to the gut and microbiome.

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These plants are bred to repel bacteria and other pests. On that note, they have grown resistant to the herbicides and pesticides and therefor require a lot more chemicals for them to be effective. “Glyphosate, an herbicide used in GMO crops, has been shown to disturb intestinal microflora and promote the growth of harmful bacteria strains.” In addition to that, “Studies also indicate that GMO crops, particularly those that contain Glyphosate and Bt-toxin, damage microvilli in the intestinal tract similar to that seen in Celiac Disease.” The microvilli is the intestinal wall that absorbs nutrients we need to live.

GMO crops are destructive to both our internal and external environment!

What you can do about it:usda-organic-non-gmo-project
1. Stay aware and educated, you are the only one accountable for your health.
2. Buy organic as much as possible.
3. Look for labels that Non-GMO verified.
4. Use your freedom of speech right! Pay attention, your state will soon be voting whether to label GMO’s or not. GMO companies like Monsanto and others spend millions of dollars in lobbyist to sway the votes to not have to be labeled. Whether you are ok with eating them or not, vote to label them!

 

  1. Antibiotics

Antibiotics are really great at doing their job, killing bacteria! The good, the bad and the ugly. Antibiotics are efficient on wiping out the pathogenic bacteria (what’s making you sick), yet they wipe out the good friendly bacteria too that help all of our bodily systems function properly, including the brain.

Antibiotics surely have their place in medicine and have without a doubt saved many lives. The issue today is thechronic overuse. These days they are prescribed as a first line of defense for almost anything, and many times before the diagnosis is even made. They are also prescribed with no regard on their affects to the microbiome or immunity, therefore are never accompanied by any digestive support.

So as we continue to take antibiotics they devastate our hard working friendly bacteria, leaving our bodies vulnerable and setting us up for other chronic issues to manifest.

Unfortunately, the problem doesn’t stop with over prescribing antibiotics. This ‘wonder drug’ has now made its way into our food and water system. More antibiotics are now actually used in raising livestock then distributed by pharmacies. These antibiotics don’t just go away, we consume them through conventional meat and dairy and they have now made it into the water system due to runoff.

What you can do about it:

  1. Stay aware and educated. You are the only one accountable for your health.
  2. Avoid antibiotics as much as possible. Look into other options that support the immune system and proper function. If you absolutely have to take antibiotics, take a strong probiotic the opposite time of day and do some gut repairing afterwards to try to limit the harm.
  3. Avoid it in your food as much as possible by sourcing grass-fed meats raised without antibiotics or steroids. Have your water tested and use a filtration system that filters pharmaceuticals.

 

Other common stresses and threats to the microbiome and the gut brain connection affecting the way we think, behave and feel!
  • Stress and chronically high cortisol levels
  • Imbalance in stomach acid or lack of enzymes
  • Food sensitivities or food irritants
  • Processed and packaged foods
  • Gluten
  • Low fiber diets
  • Toxins
  • Yeasts and candida as well as other chronic low grade infections
  • Pesticides, herbicides & fungicides that are sprayed abundantly on conventional food
  • Chronic Constipation

Remember the microbiome, (gut health), has such a strong influence on the brain, our emotions, thoughts, memory and even our behavior. It’s far with the extra effort to pay attention to what we are putting in our bodies and nurture its function. Mental disruptions like ADHD, depression, anxiety and so many others are becoming an epidemic, and until we learn to nurture this relationship, we will continue to chase our tails with pharmaceutical side effects.

Stay tuned for my final article in this series on Repairing The Belly That Rules the Mind! Be sure not to miss it by registering with your email below.

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