If you are experiencing a loss of mental clarity, difficulty concentrating, and forgetting simple details, you’re most likely suffering from a condition called “foggy brain” or ” brain fog”. But brain fog isn’t usually caused by your brain.
Fogginess and slower cognitive functioning is most often caused by inflammation, especially in your gut.
Your Gut – Your Second Brain
Did you know that your gut is now considered your “second brain” by leading scientists and researchers?
Studies have revealed that 70% of the neurons outside the brain and spinal cord are located in your digestive tract.
This means that better understanding the importance of gut health can not only improve your overall health, but also greatly improve your mental functioning and upgrade your moods.
Here’s how it works:
The Brain-Gut Connection
Scientists have recently discovered that the bacteria that lives in your gut influences almost all aspects of your physiology and biology, including your brain and moods.
They have discovered that the gut and the brain are connected via the vagus nerve by millions of neurons and communication pathways. The connection between those neurons and the central nervous system is known as the gut-brain axis, a two-way communication channel that transmits information from the brain directly to the intestines and vice versa.
In other words, they speak to each other continuously – nothing happens in your gut that doesn’t happen in your brain or that doesn’t affect your moods.
Gut Health Affects Your Moods – Mood Affects Gut Health
Researchers now know that the majority of neurotransmitters that influence your mood actually live in the gut – not in the brain. In fact, 95% of your neurotransmitter, serotonin (the happiness hormone) is produced in the gut.
People with anxiety and mood disorders tend to have gastrointestinal problems. The question is, does the gut influence mental health or do mental health problems affect the balance of gut microbes? Both are true.
So, what can you do to improve improve your gut health and your brain functioning and moods? Here are 3 tips that can get you started on the road to a healthier, smarter, happier life:
Top Tips to Improve Brain-Gut Health
1. Eat a healthy, low-inflammatory diet
Inflammation destroys the gut’s mucosal lining that contains 70% of the body’s immune system, as well as the microbiota, or gut bacteria, now known to be one of the most important influences on brain health and overall well-being.
This often results in a condition known as leaky gut, and chronic inflammation in the body and brain.
The microbiome’s role in your brain health is key to clear thinking, performance and moods. You may be surprised to learn that the number of bacterial cells that live in your gut outnumber your human cells 10 to 1!
There are approximately 3.3 million microbial genes in the human body compared to only 2,000 functional human genes.
These microbial genes are comprised of “good” bacteria, and “bad” bacteria and a healthy balance of the good and bad bacteria is vital to a healthy body and mind.
Disruptions to the microbiome are increasingly becoming associated with the prevalence of allergies, autoimmune diseases, metabolic disorders and neuropsychiatric disorders that affect today’s society.
Food is medicine. Every bite you take either supports health or furthers disease. So, understanding what foods are known to cause inflammation, such as gluten, dairy, corn, grains, etc. and avoiding them is key to creating good gut-brain health.
Focus on anti-inflammatory foods like clean, pasture-raised, grass-fed beef and free-range poultry, organic veggies and fruit, healthy fats (like coconut and olive oil)
2. Think calm, positive thoughts and avoid negative self-talk
Because your brain is talking to your gut all the time, you want to make sure that what you’re telling it is health-producing, not disease-promoting.
Your thoughts are just as important to your gut health as the foods you eat. Every thought creates neurotransmitters that nourish your cells or neurotransmitters that damage your cells.
You don’t need to look any further than research on the placebo effect – when people are given sugar pills and told they are getting medicine – they heal at the same rate as the people who got the actual medicine!
Thoughts heal or hurt. Start to notice your own thoughts. Most people are totally unaware of 90% of their thoughts – and the average person has over 50,000 thoughts a day. Research has actually shown that 95% of our thoughts are negative. So, being more aware of our thoughts is important.
- Keep a little notepad handy for one week and jot down thoughts you are having during the day. You may be very surprised. ( But, don’t beat yourself up for having negative thoughts either!).
- Try saying loving, encouraging things to yourself every day. You will find that all your thoughts start improving when you do this and the way you treat others also starts to change.
3. Detox your body and environment regularly
While conventional medicine does not yet recognize toxicity as the underlying cause of many chronic symptoms experienced by so many people these days, like hormone imbalances, obesity, mental fog, memory loss, fatigue, lack of vitality, metabolic syndrome, sleep disturbances, emerging evidence ties toxicity to all these symptoms and others.
Over time our bodies get run down and weakened by poor food choices, alcohol, caffeine, drugs, stress and environmental toxins. No matter how healthy your diet or how positive your thoughts, toxicity from the environment alone can deteriorate your health and usher in fatigue, weight gain, brain fog, mood issues, insomnia, and more serious diseases, like cancer.
Here are 3 things you can do to start detoxing your body and enjoy a lighter, leaner, healthier body, clear mind and good moods:
- Start the morning off with warm lemon water to cleanse the liver and blood, and continue to drink lots of water (with lemon when possible throughout the day). Water helps to cleanse body, organs, and blood and the hydration helps move toxins out of your body.
- Sip on non-dairy chai tea throughout morning. Recipe: 1 cup water with one bag black or green tea. Add ½ teaspoon each of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg in a pot. Bring it to a gentle boil, then grate some fresh ginger into it, add 2 to 3 cardamom cloves. Add up to 1 cup of coconut or almond milk at the end before straining it.
- Add probiotics to each meal: Adding a tablespoon of kimchee, sauerkraut, or some pickles to most your meals is an easy way to work gut-friendly bacteria into your diet.
All these tips, plus hundreds more are taken from my best-selling book, Rebuild Your Immune System in 10 Minutes a Day. You can order it here.
You can also work with me by joining my popular 21-Day Love Your Gut Detox Program. Schedule a complimentary 15-minute call to see if this is a good fit for you here:
Wishing you a happy, healthy week of improved brain health!