What does the gut have to do with your mood?

Healthy Digestion, Happy Life!

Do you have gut instincts? Do you get butterflies in your stomach? Have you ever had an upset stomach because your mind was stressed? Can a job interview cause you to have stomach cramps? These things happen because your nervous system and digestive system are intertwined. What we put inside of our bellies is directly related to our emotional health.

The gut, aka “inside our belly”, has been proven to be our “second brain” because it has a mind of its own. For years, the medical world has been trying to figure out what causes our moods to change and what causes common problems that most of us face like stress, anxiety, and even depression. These are common problems, we know they are linked to serotonin, but did you know that 80 to 90% of your serotonin is made in the gut? Yes, serotonin is produced in the gut!

Our digestive system consists of bacteria and we need that bacteria to have a healthy balance or the rest of us will not be balanced including our mood. Our gut and brain work together, so if one is out of balance the other will be also.  There are many scientific studies that have linked mood problems to gut problems and vice versa.

Learn to sooth your tummy

Some symptoms of an unhealthy gut include gas, bloating, nausea, sugar cravings, skin problems, yeast overgrowth, allergies, depression, mood swings, and many more.

How can we support a health mind? One way is by having balanced healthy bacteria in our gut. Your intestines should contain 80% beneficial bacteria to 20% neutral and pathogenic bacteria. However, this is not the case for many people due to the use of medication (especially antibiotics) and the foods we eat. Having the proper ratio of healthy intestinal bacteria is vital to our overall health.

One of the best ways to make sure your gut is getting the healthy nourishment it needs is through probiotics. Probiotics can be in pill form, or you can get them right through your diet. Excellent sources of probiotic rich foods are fermented or cultured veggies and beverages like water, coconut and milk kefirs, kombucha, yogurt, and raw vinegars.

Keeping a healthy gut in check will help you to digest food properly, absorb vital nutrients, support a healthy mind and keep your mood stable.

Healthy Gut = Healthy Mind and Body

Questions? Comments? Let me know!

In health,

nina sig

P.S. Don’t forget to grab my Free eBOOK and check out 28 Days To Healthy Digestion And A New You Program

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3 things you can do to improve your health….

Photo Credit : Bev Lloyd-Roberts

There’s something that I didn’t realize when I first started working one-on-one with people who want to make their health and wellness a priority, people who are sick of feeling less than amazing, and people who are confused about who to listen to for advice.

The truth is:  Most of us already know what we need to be doing to improve our health!

There is a lot of information (and mis-information) when it comes to the foods we eat. Just look at the variety of books in the ‘diet’ or ‘health’ section of your local bookstore. But when it comes down to it, we still know the basic things we should be doing to improve our health.

In fact, when I ask my clients “What are three things you think you could be doing, to improve your health?” I get similar answers each time:

  1. Be more active
  2. Stop eating, or stop drinking, or stop smoking
  3. Eat more vegetables.

We intuitively know how to make ourselves well. But when it comes to following through? That’s where we fall apart. I know!! I have done it, too. I still do it. I might be a nutritionist, but I’m still human!

For the next week, I’d like you to think about the obstacles that are stopping you from living your healthiest life. Think about it, journal about it, reflect on it.

What obstacles are standing in your way? Maybe you work long hours and cooking a healthy meal seems too time-consuming, or maybe you feel that the price of healthy food is too high. Perhaps you will discover that you aren’t sure if you really deserve to feel amazing.

Your job for the next week is to simply think, reflect, and journal on these obstacles. Knowing your obstacles, habits, and patterns will help you figure out how to work around them!

3 things you can do to improve your health….

  1. Keep yourself hydrated – Add one more glass of water to your day.
  2. Introduce a new vegetable to your diet  🙂
  3. Try to go to bed 15-30 minutes earlier than normal for a good night’s rest. The next day,  you will have a clear mind and less sugar cravings.

I would love to hear your comments below. Tell me what is stopping you!

In health,

nina sig

P.S. Don’t forget to grab my Free eBOOK, check out 28 Days To Healthy Digestion And A New You Program and new Classes.

Our Gut Flora

The human body has on average 4 pounds (roughly 100 trillion) of its own bacteria, unique to each individual!

Our gut is amazing but a delicate ecosystem with more healthy bacteria (flora) in it than all the other cells put together. More and more data is accumulating about the importance of maintaining probiotic “good” bacteria in our bodies as we strive for vibrant, holistic health.

There are three main probiotic bacteria that are the most important to provide your body with. These are bifidobacterium bifidum, lactobacillus acidophilus, and lactobacillus bulgaricus. Bifidobacterium bifidum is helpful with boosting our immune response as it produces natural antibiotics that fight pathogens. It also helps the body rid itself of toxins, as well as assisting the body in the absorption of calcium, vitamins and minerals. Lactobacillus acidophilus is beneficial for inhibiting the growth of candida, helping relieve arthritic symptoms, and countering the side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Lastly, lactobacillus bulgaricus helps defend the large intestine and keeps unfriendly bacteria under control. It helps stimulate peristaltic action and maintains electrolyte balance, as well as boosting immunity and countering carcinogenic substances in the body.

In order to keep this flora healthy and working for us by keeping the harmful pathogenic, disease-causing bacteria from growing unchecked, we need to feed it regularly with good food sources like yogurt (plain, organic, whole) kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut and other fermented foods, etc.

Do you want to know more about your gut ecosystem come to my class “Introduction to Fermented Drinks” I will explain how we can keep our gut happy while showing you how to make healthy beverages that are full of probiotics and taste delicious!

A well functioning gut with healthy gut flora holds the roots of our health. And, just as a tree with sick roots is not going to thrive, the rest of the body cannot thrive without a well-functioning digestive system.” Dr. Campbell-McBride, author of Gut and Psychology Syndrome

Matthieu Ricard: The habits of happiness

I believe to be healthy we need to take into account our spiritual well-being. Whatever spiritually means to you. We can have the best diet and healthy body systems; but if we don’t find our own true sense of serenity and fulfillment, all goes out the window. Like I mentioned before, this is my belief…

I would like to share this TED video, hopefully you will find some golden nuggets that resonates with you  🙂

By the way, if you click on the Youtube icon, the video resolution is better.

Wishing you health and happiness!

What is happiness, and how can we all get some? Biochemist turned Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard says we can train our minds in habits of well-being, to generate a true sense of serenity and fulfillment.

What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?

What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?

The small intestine is responsible for screening toxins from the body. It is the largest organ in the body, representing about 80% of the immune system. Think about the small intestine as the first line of defense between the outside world and our internal environment.

The theory is that leaky gut syndrome is the result of damage to the intestinal lining, making it less able to protect the internal environment as well as to filter needed nutrients and other biological substances. Consequently, some bacteria and their toxins, incompletely digested proteins and fats, and waste not normally absorbed may “leak” out of the intestines into the blood stream. This triggers an autoimmune reaction, which can lead to gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal bloating, excessive gas and cramps, fatigue, food sensitivities, joint pain, skin rashes, and autoimmunity.

The causes of this syndrome may be chronic inflammation, food sensitivity, damage from taking large amounts of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), diet, chronic stress, cytotoxic drugs and radiation, antibiotics, excessive alcohol consumption, or compromised immunity.

Autism, rheumatoid arthritis, periodontal disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, Crohn’s disease and colitis stem from the inflammation triggered by a leaky gut. Malabsorption of nutrients, candida and parasitic infections along with food sensitivities and allergies are also connected with this syndrome. Inflammatory skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and acne indicate a leaky gut too.

Suggestions of How to Heal Leaky Gut Syndrome

Diet

A pure diet is crucial for repairing the gut. Eliminating sugar (in any form), gluten, processed foods, dairy, refined carbohydrates, alcohol and caffeine while focusing on high-fiber, nutrient-dense dense. Since pesticides and GMOs antagonize the situation, consume only organic food. Essential fatty acids from fish, flax, chia or borage are also vital to healing the bowel and reducing inflammation. Drinking plenty of purified water is crucial as well to avoid gut-destroying contaminants. Eat prebiotic-rich foods like asparagus, onions, garlic, and artichokes. Prebiotics nourish friendly gut bacteria.

Digestive enzymes

Oftentimes, those suffering from leaky gut syndrome have low stomach acid. This creates poor digestion, causing toxins to leach into the body. Digestive enzyme supplements are helpful along with lemon or raw apple cider vinegar water.

Fiber

Fiber protects the gut while sweeping fungus, harmful bacteria and other pathogens quickly out of the system. Good options include organic psyllium powder, ground flax and chia seeds.

Herbs

Several herbs are known to calm inflammation and the subsequent damage that occurs in the gut. Marshmallow root along with slippery elm are excellent choices. Both soothe and coat the intestinal tract, minimizing the absorption of toxins. These herbs also help to heal damage, further reducing excessive permeability. Kudzu, licorice root, goldenseal, sheep sorrel, fennel seed and ginger root are beneficial as well. To eliminate parasites that frequently accompany a suppressed digestive system, try echinacea, garlic, colloidal silver, cloves, wormwood, black walnut, caprylic acid (one of coconut oil’s constituents) or grapefruit seed extract.

Supplements

Since leaky gut syndrome contributes to malabsorption of many nutrients, it’s important to supplement the diet. A, B, C and E vitamins are essential as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium and coenzyme Q10. Colostrum helps to heal the intestinal lining and reduces inflammation. To rebuild gut wall integrity, L-glutamine is exceptional.

Probiotics

A solid foundation of probiotics and more specifically, the friendly bacteria Lactobacillus Acidophilus is necessary. The diet gets rid of the bad bacteria and you need a constant feed of the good bacteria to replace it. Friendly bacteria stop the inhabitance of bad bacteria and yeast, heal the gut lining, help nutrients get absorbed, and keep the vicious cycle in check.

If you would like to learn more about Leaky Gut Syndrome, join me this Saturday April 6 at Dandelion Botanical Company for my Digestive Wellness Series. You will learn simple but effective natural ways to improve or support your digestive health. Click here for more info.

Source Liz Lipski, PhD, CCN, CHN, she is the Director of Doctoral Studies, and Education Director at Hawthorn University. She’s the author of  Digestive Wellness.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.