by Charlotte Troester
Gut health isn’t the sexiest of subjects, but it’s one I’ve been exploring recently since my experience with nutrition has changed.
A book on the subject that I recommend is ‘The Clever Guts Diet’ by Dr. Michael Mosley. Here is what I have found out about Gut Health
Our intestines has a brain.
It contains over 100 million neurons, as many as you would find in the brain of a cat!
Wonder why you have ‘a gut instinct’?
It comes from this second brain which orchestrates digestion and moderates gut pain
One to two kilos of live creatures (microbes) live in our gut.
They make up what is known as our microbiome. We have over 50 trillion microbes in our gut, at least 1000 different species – a richer diversity of life than you’d find in a rainforest!
Here’s the part that I find most interesting when it comes to our microbiome and what these microbes do:
- They help regulate our body weight.
- They decide how much energy your body needs to extract from the food you eat.
- They control hunger signals.
- They help decide which foods you crave.
- They determine how much your blood sugar spikes in response to a meal.
- They teach and regulate our entire immune system.
- Over the last half-century there has been a massive rise in allergic diseases (e.g. asthma, eczema) caused by an overactive immune system.
- We have also seen an increase in autoimmune diseases (e.g. inflammatory bowel disease, type 1 diabetes), primarily caused by an immune system out of control.
- Changing the mix of bacteria in your gut can reduce the impact of these diseases.
- They create hormones and chemicals which affect your mood.
- The microbiome does this by taking the bits of food our body can’t digest and converting them into hormones and chemicals.
- This has implications on our mood, appetite and general health.
- Changing your biome may reduce anxiety and lessen depression.
- 80-95% of serotonin is created in our gut (depending on which source you are looking at). Serotonin is often called the ‘happiness hormone’.
You can see why I have become fascinated by the subject. The idea of healing the gut and therefore healing the body and mind has captivated me.
The reason for my interest in this subject began in January 2016 when I completed a 30 Days to Healthy Living and Beyond programme with Arbonne. I found myself losing bloating and excess weight, gaining more energy, clearer skin and better sleep but these were all results I was expecting. What surprised me was the incredible feeling of happiness that took over and for me this was the best result I could ask for (especially during a long, dark January!).
I am certainly no expert on the subject of gut health. I only speak from my personal experience which has then encouraged me to do my own research. The relation between gut health and happiness is fascinating and one I highly encourage you to explore.