The friends I’m referring to are the bacteria and microorganisms that make up your gut microbiome. What were you thinking?
We possess more of these microorganisms than we have cells in our entire body.
More and more research is coming out revealing just how much clout these friends with benefits have over us.
Specifically how they affect our brain, behavior and mood. They even play a part in the regulation of compounds like serotonin, our feel-good neurotransmitter.
Conversely, our gut bacteria are intimately affected by our diet, a poor night’s sleep, stress levels or even by emotions such as anger.
There is a new term that’s been coined called Psychobiotics, (microbiota interventions) to help treat a variety of mental health conditions.
Here’s a small sampling of some of the research:
–Studies have shown that a specific strain of gut bacteria appear to improve the mood of anxious and depressed mice.
–Germ-free mice and rats without any microbes in their guts, (raised in sterile environments) are more likely to be anxious and are less sociable.
–Mice given antibiotics (well known to interfere with gut bacteria) are more prone to hyperactivity, risky behavior and have more trouble remembering and learning.
–A study done on people experiencing mild to moderate depression showed that those receiving probiotics experienced an improvement in mood compared to those taking a placebo.
–In a large study, those that received antibiotics (disrupting gut bacteria), scored lower on cognitive tests and the effect carried over for several years.
–Elderly with more diverse microbiomes have much better health outcomes and less cognitive decline
–Prebiotics (food for beneficial gut microbes) improved cognitive function and problem solving in people with psychosis.
Get the complete article HERE
So here’s the thing; things like stress, antibiotic use (personal and in our agricultural systems), processed food, over sanitization and even increases in c-section births ALL have an impact on the diversity of our microbiomes.
Less gut diversity has been linked to conditions like diabetes, MS, irritable bowel disease and even obesity.
The good news is there is a lot you can do:
-Eat a variety of fermented foods like kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, yoghurt, kombucha, miso… rotate them and get some in DAILY. Consider a probiotic supplement if you won’t eat fermented foods.
-Eat a wide variety of seasonal, whole foods like vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and fruit. MIX IT UP. Wider variety of foods equals a wider variety of gut microbes.
-Take in some extra fiber like chia, psyllium or ground flax, work in more legumes. Your gut bugs love fiber.
-Skip the packaged or processed foods, although your taste buds may be addicted, the additives and chemicals are poison for your gut bugs.
-Connect with people, hug, shake hands, touch. We were not designed to live isolated, sterile lives.
-Move your body. Exercise affects your gut bacteria and people that exercise show a wider diversity of gut flora than peeps that are sedentary.
-Manage your stress, even a few minutes of mindfulness everyday will help on many levels 😉
Funny how the most powerful solutions always bring us right back to the basics.
I hope this inspires you. Consider sharing this with someone you love.