Welcome to the sixth instalment how to heal your gut!
So far we have focused on all the physical ways to heal your gut, glutamine, bone broth, probiotics, fermented foods and drinks and herbs.
Now, in the last instalments, we will talk about the mind-gut connection.
Remember from our very first post, I talked about our gut being known as the second brain? Let me refresh your memory, this is taken from the very first post 'Gut Health - The Facts'.
“Most people fail to realize that your gut is literally your second brain, and can significantly influence your mind, mood, and behaviour. But mounting evidence clearly indicates that ignoring your gut may have far-reaching psychological consequences, and it’s becoming increasingly clear that nourishing your gut flora through proper diet, from cradle to grave, is extremely important for proper brain function, and that includes psychological well-being and mood control. Our brain and your gut are actually biologically identical, as they’re created out of the same type of tissue.
The greatest concentration of serotonin, which is involved in mood control, depression and aggression, is found in your intestines, not your brain!
Ok, so with that in mind, lets talk about this 'similar tissue', what we can do to help repair it and how stress and the emotions impact the health of our gut.
DHA or docosahexaenoic acid
This is a very important substance. It is a fatty acid and it is a composition of the brain and gut lining. Therefore, it makes sense that consuming foods rich in this substance helps both of these areas! Or both our guts as I like to say 😉
You've no doubt heard of Omega 3? We also have Omegas 6 and 9 but they tend to be too plentiful in our diet (vegetable oils) and sadly Omega 3 is the most lacking. Omega 3 is made up of DHA and EPA or Eicosapentaenoic Acid. In fish, the omega 3 is made up directly of these acids and in plants based seeds like flaxseed, it is made up of another acid ALA or alpha linoleic acid. This ALA is then converted into EPA and DHA by our bodies (we are so clever aren't we?)
Still with me?
The EPA is the acid that helps with inflammation in the body which is why people take omega 3 supplements for arthritic conditions and joint pains. The DHA is what helps the brain, the heart and the eyes. The DHA is by far the most important component as it helps with the health of the tissue these organs and body parts are made of! That is why DHA supplementation is so important for mood, depression, anxiety, learning difficulties, behavioural disorders, heart health and eye health.
I want to mention here that this is important for kids and adults alike. Cutting back Omega 6 foods (mainly found in seed and vegetable oils which competes with the Omega 3 getting converted into DHA and EPA) and increasing Omega 3 rich foods or supplements can drastically improve mood cognitive learning, behaviour, memory and emotional stability. Symptoms of ADHD and dyslexia have been known to disappear in some children by doing this.
Foods high in Omega 3s:
* fish, especially oily fish like tuna, salmon, cod and sardines
* cod liver oil
* mustard seed oil
* linseed (flaxseed) oil
* chia seeds
You can also buy it in supplement form which I recommend if there are the imbalances I mentioned earlier and a good quality fish oil that has been molecularly distilled and contains no artificial colours, flavours or additives. Ask your instore naturopath for a practitioner brand or book a consult to get the right one for you or your child.
Remember, what the food is doing to the gut, it is also doing to the brain, but the good news is that the same thing will help repair both!
The Emotional link to the gut and how Flower Essences can help
So, all our physical issues are manifestations of emotions. Yes, even in little ones. This is sometimes from our experiences and environment and sometimes from inherited emotions. Yes, they are passed on as much as physical traits are.
So we can also help the gut by dealing with the emotions that are suppressed and buried. To release some of these emotional blocks, I use Flower Essences and to read more about these, please visit this blog HERE.