October - Health Corner

Have you heard of the mind-gut connection?

You know that gut feeling, those butterflies in your stomach? If so, then you’ll understand what we’re talking about.

Deep down in the walls of your digestive system lies your “second brain.” This brain is helping us to understand more than just our diet. It is also helping us to understand the link between what we eat and how we feel – emotionally, physically, and mentally. This is known as the ENS (Enteric Nervous System), a thin layer of more than 100 million nerve cells lining your gastrointestinal tract. Its main job is controlling digestion, and while the ENS may not be capable of thought, it communicates with our big brain pretty efficiently.

Did you know that anxiety is the biggest contributor to depression worldwide? Yet, there are little to no readily available treatments to induce remission less than 50% of the time. The field of nutritional psychiatry has noted this gap and suggests one other helpful way: adjusting our diet.

Scientists are beginning to learn that mental health disorders share an important underlying cause with many other more “somatic” diseases, such as heart disease or diabetes:systemic inflammation.“

While it may not be obvious, our gut is actually the largest immune organ that we have. The top layer of this immune system? The largest collection of friendly (and sometimes unfriendly) microbes known as the gut microbiota also referred to as MICROBIOMES. The microbiomes help with our metabolism, reinforcing the gut’s protective layer, providing nourishment for digestive cells, and even producing neurotransmitters.

There are many specific nutritional components that may help drive the microbiota along with the mind.A common thread among many is the emphasis of fruits, vegetables, fiber, and whole grains.Maintaining your gut health requires keeping the right balance of your microbiomes for physical and mental health, immunity, and more.

Some tips to help maintaining those biomes:

  • Take probiotics and eat fermented foods.

Fermented foods are a natural source of probiotics.Some fermented foods to include are fermented vegetables, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, and tempeh.

  • Eat prebiotic fiber.

Prebiotics and probiotics are more tolerant to certain environmental conditions, including pH and temperature changes. Sources include asparagus,bananas, chicory, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes,onions, adn whole grains.

  • Eat less sugar and sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners can negatively impact blood glucose levels due to their effects on gut flora.

  • Reduce stress

Exercising regularly, sleeping well, and eating a healthful diet can also reduce stress levels.

  • Avoid taking antibiotics unnecessarily

Although taking antibiotics can be necessary, avoid the overuse of them. Overuse can create antibiotic resistance.

  • Exercise regularly

Regularly exercising contributes to good heart health and weight loss or weight maintenance. Exercise may also improve gut health.

  • Get enough sleep

Getting enough good-quality sleep can improve mood, cognition, and gut health.

  • Eat more vegetables

A diet heavy in vegetables may improve gut health due to the high levels of prebiotic fiber it contains.

Our Mission: To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.