Article Find out how your gut health has a direct influence on your mental and physical health. 0 2023 Life coaching https://www.lifecoachhub.com/img/uploads/articles/thumbs/1252_1685728278.jpg Health coaching life coaching Lifecoachhub Pty Ltd LifeCoachHub
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Holistic Gut Health Secrets: Supercharge Your Well-being

 
TAGS: coaching, life coaching, business coaching, coach, life coach, self help, personal development gut health, gut-brain health connection, gut-mental health connection, vagus nerve
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Ready to supercharge your wellbeing? In this series, I'll explore the nature and working of the important connection between gut health and mental health, and how our health and wellness can benefit from this interaction if we understand and manage it.

The three parts (of which the first one follows directly after this introduction, with the second and third parts to follow in the coming two months) are:

PART 1: Understanding the Gut-brain connection

PART 2: How the Gut-brain connection affects your physical/nutritional health

PART 3: How the Gut-brain connection affects your mental health.

Have you ever experienced the so-called “gut feeling”? If so, you have already experienced two examples of the proven fact that your gut and your brain are connected – what happens in the one, can affect the other. Marielle Wolmarans Coaching Quote

PART 1: UNDERSTANDING THE GUT-BRAIN CONNECTION

Have you ever experienced the so-called “gut feeling” about some events, or felt “butterflies in your tummy” in a new situation?

If so, you have already experienced two examples of the proven fact that your gut and your brain are connected – what happens in the one, can affect the other.

There are four ways in which the gut and the brain are connected:

  • Through the Vagus nerve, which is one of the biggest nerves connecting your brain and your gut, and sends signals in both directions.

Reseach shows that stress can inhibit (or block) the signals sent through the Vagus nerve, causing gastro-intestinal problems. In the opposite direction, increasing the amount of Probiotics in the gastro-intestinal system can reduce stress – but when the Vagus nerve is not functioning optimally, the increased Probiotic has a lesser effect on the stress-level experienced.

  • Through neurotransmitters

Simply put, a neurotransmitter is a chemical substance that sends a signal from one nerve fiber to the next, for instance from one part of the brain to another part, or from the brain to a specific organ or muscle. 

Serotonin is a well-known neurotransmitter, causing feelings of happiness and reducing stress levels. And now for the important part: Serotonin is not only produced in the brain as previously thought; a large proportion of Serotonin is produced in the gut!

Your gut microbes (microorganisms including bacteria, fungi, parasites, viruses and more) also produce a transmitter called GABA, which helps control feelings of fear and anxiety. And certain probiotics can increase the production of GABA, and reduce anxiety and depression-like behavior.

  • Gut microbes make other chemicals that affect the brain

The trillions of microbes in the gut also make other chemicals affecting how your brain works. One of these is “short-chain fatty acids”, produced by digesting fiber, and affecting the brain, for example by reducing appetite.

  • Gut microbes affect inflammation

Your Gut-brain axis is also connected through the immune system. If your immune system is switched on for too long, it can lead to inflammation which is associated with a number of brain disorders like depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

BY NOW YOU SHOULD BE CONVINCED THAT THE GUT-BRAIN CONNECTION IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT FOR YOUR PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING. CONSEQUENTLY YOU SHOULD NOT IGNORE IT, BUT RATHER “MANAGE” IT!

MAKE SURE NOT TO MISS PARTS 2 AND 3 OF THIS SERIES, WHERE THE IMPLICATIONS FOR YOUR PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH WILL BE UNPACKED, WITH GUIDELINES AND PRACTICAL TIPS ON HOW YOU CAN MANAGE THIS IMPORTANT ASPECT TO ENSURE YOUR QUALITY OF LIFE.

Care for your digestive health

In PART 1 of this series, you learned that your body is full of trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi, and that this is collectively known as the microbiome. We also explained that while some bacteria are associated with disease, others are extremely important for your immune system, heart, weight, and many other aspects of your health.

Let us now take a look at some preliminary research results in this regard:

  1. An imbalance between healthy and unhealthy microbes may contribute to weight gain. Probiotics are good for a healthy microbiome, and can lead to weight loss.
  2. The microbiome can also affect gut health, and may play a role in intestinal diseases like IBS and IBD. A healthy gut microbiome controls gut health by communicating with the intestinal cells, digesting certain foods and preventing disease-causing bacteria from sticking to the intestinal walls.
  3. Certain bacteria within the gut microbiome can produce chemicals that may block arteries and lead to heart disease. However, probiotics may help lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.
  4. The gut microbiome plays a role in controlling blood sugar and may also affect the onset of type 1 diabetes in children.

A healthy outside starts with a healthy inside. Robert Urich Coaching Quote

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HOW CAN YOU IMPROVE YOUR GUT MICROBIOME, AND THEREFORE YOUR PHYSICAL/NUTRITIONAL HEALTH?

  • Eat a diverse range of foods: this can lead to a diverse microbiome, which is an indicator of good gut health (legumes, beans, vegetables and fruit contains lots of fiber and can promote the growth of healthy bacteria).
  • Eat fermented foods: fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha and kefir all contain healthy bacteria, and can reduce the amount of disease-causing substances in the gut.
  • Eat prebiotic foods: prebiotics are a type of fiber that stimulates the growth of healthy bacteria. This includes bananas, asparagus, oats, barley, flaxseeds, wheat bran, apples and artichokes. It can also be taken as a supplement.
  • Eat whole grains: whole grains contain lots of fiber and beneficial carbs like beta-glucan, which are digested by gut bacteria to benefit weight, cancer risk, and diabetes.
  • Try a plant-based diet: Vegetarian diets may help reduce levels of disease-causing bacteria such as E.coli, as well as inflammation and cholesterol.
  • Eat foods rich in polyphenols: Polyphenols are plant compounds found in red wine, green tea, dark chocolate, olive oil and whole grains. They are broken down by the microbiome to stimulate healthy bacterial growth.
  • Take a probiotic supplement: Probiotics are live bacteria that can help restore the gut to a healthy and balanced state.
  • Take antibiotics only when necessary: Antibiotics kill many bad and good bacteria in the gut microbiome, possibly contributing to weight gain and antibiotic resistance.
  • Limit the intake of alcohol and caffeine:Both alcohol and caffeine cause the esophageal sphincter to relax, which increases your risk of heart burn or acid reflux. Alcohol also increases the acid in your stomach, and excessive drinking can harm your stomach lining.
  • Breastfeed for at least six months. Children who are breastfed for at least six months have more beneficial Bifidobacteria than those who are bottle-fed.

Tips to have a better digestive health

The research findings regarding the factors affecting the microbiome, and the role of pro- and prebiotics, are in some cases not conclusive yet. The preliminary results and trends are, however, strong enough to encourage you to implement the above in your meal plan and lifestyle.

Next month in PART 3 we will focus on HOW THE GUT-BRAIN CONNECTION AFFECTS YOUR MENTAL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING.

Healthy eating isn't about counting fat grams, dieting, cleanses and antioxidants; it's about eating food untouched from the way we find it in nature in a balanced way. Pooja Mottl Coaching Quote

Marielle Wolmarans
Life Coach

Health Coach and Nutritionist
Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa
Functional Medicine coach to support with deep-seated health conditions & trauma
- FM Health Coaching (FMCA)
- Nutrigenomics Course
- National Diploma Radiography
- 6 Week Biblical Counselling course
- Woundcare certification
- BARS Practitioner
 


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