Have you ever felt butterflies in your tummy when you're nervous or just had this "gut-feeling"? You can thank our gut-brain axis (GBA) for that! The GBA refers to the physical and chemical connections between your gut and brain. Millions of nerves and neurons run between your gut and brain! ⠀Within the gut, there are approximately 1,014 microorganisms! The mutualistic synergy between microbes and humans is a relationship that is essential for growth, development, health and the prevention of disease. An experimental study was done in 2011 that found a lack of conventional microbiota affects behavior, gene expression in the brain and the development of the nervous system.⠀
Which foods help the GBA thrive?⠀
- Omega-3 fats: High oil volume fish such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel that are direct sources of EPA and DHA. For vegans, an alternative would be flaxseeds, hemp seeds, seaweed and algae that are high in ALA. Studies in humans and animals show that omega-3s can increase good bacteria in the gut and reduce risk of brain disorders
- Fermented foods (contains probiotics): Yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, and cheese all contain healthy microbes. Fermented foods have been shown to alter brain activity, aid in digestion, and help protect your gut from harmful bacteria!⠀
- High-fiber foods: Whole-grain nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables all contain prebiotic fibers that are excellent for your gut bacteria! Prebiotics can reduce stress hormone in humans and they are also deemed as "food" for the probiotics, which help our gut bacteria flourish.
- Polyphenol-rich foods: Olive oil, coffee, and green tea contain polyphenols which are plant chemicals that are digested by your gut bacteria and can help improve cognition.⠀
- Tryptophan-rich foods: Turkey, eggs, and cheese. Tryptophan is an amino acid that is converted into serotonin and is known as a natural mood stabilizer! Serotonin contributes to feelings of satisfaction, happiness, and our overall well-being (this explains why you may feel satisfied after Thanksgiving turkey, and sleepy even!).
Want more information about the GBA? Emeran Mayer has a great book called, "The Mind-Gut Connection: How the Hidden Conversation Within Our Bodies Impacts Our Mood, Our Choices, and Our Overall Health" to find out more about how to help our gut microbiome thrive.⠀
Show some love to your gut and drink your probiotics + prebiotics with Purely! Cheers!