Gut Brain Axis

Did you know that when you eat in a distracted, anxious, or stressed state, not even a perfect meal can nourish you properly? Learn more about the Gut-Brain Axis and how to make the most of it. Read on to learn more.

"95% of your serotonin and 50% of your dopamine—two feel-good neurotransmitters—are produced and stored in your gut"

You might have heard about the Gut-Brain Axis before. But how does it work? Who influences whom, and how can we harness this knowledge for our well-being?

Research reveals that although your gut and brain share the same tissue, they function through distinct nervous systems. While the Central Nervous System (CNS) governs the brain and spine, the Enteric Nervous System (ENS) oversees your gut.

Though we acknowledge that the brain regulates cognition, memory, emotion, sensation, motor skills, vision, and vital bodily functions, we tend to regard the gut mainly as a site for digestion and absorption—a one-way system from top to bottom. But your CNS and the ENS are connected, allowing constant, bidirectional communication between your gut and brain and vice versa.

This bidirectional communication is why it takes more than good quality food for proper absorption and digestion. Your emotional state of mind is just as important.

You might also be familiar with the gut microbiome, a complex community of "good" and "bad" bacteria. Yet, a persistently stressful or imbalanced lifestyle, inadequate sleep, excessive sugar, and processed foods can tip the balance towards an overgrowth of "bad" bacteria, leading to an unbalanced microbiome.

Did you know that 95% of your serotonin and 50% of your dopamine—two crucial feel-good neurotransmitters—are produced and stored in your gut? It's pretty astonishing!

A healthy lifestyle is more than just a pretty plate of food. While better food choices will improve your gut- and brain function, it is also relevant to consider your emotional state of mind while eating. On average, we generate 12,000-60,000 thoughts daily; unfortunately, a significant portion of these are negative, with up to 80% recurring in a loop. Can you visualize the vicious circle here? It's all interconnected, whether we acknowledge it or not. In essence, your body reflects your lifestyle choices.

Not even the most perfect meal can nourish you properly when you eat in a distracted, anxious, or stressed state.

So you see, befriending your mind has many benefits. It's no surprise that mind-body practices like meditation, mindfulness, breathing exercises, and yoga have been proven to alleviate gut symptoms, enhance mood, and help anxiety.

Emotional awareness and mindfulness lead to better food choices, which, in turn, improve gut function. This improved gut function ultimately enhances brain function and more stable emotions. An important note is that it is not about suppressing your feelings either, as this will harm your system (more on that in a different blog post coming soon). It is more about becoming more conscious of when you do what and how.

So, before your next meal, take a moment to pause. Take a couple of deep breaths. Choose to be present - fully and enjoy your meal.

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