The Connection Between Your Emotions and Your Gut
Emotions are something that we continually use and develop throughout our lives from the simplicity of happy and sad as a child to more complex emotions we come accustomed to as adults.
Who would have though however, our facial expressions that reflect our emotions are synonymous with specific signals in our gut. So, for example, when you are in a state of anger over the argument you just had with your partner, your brain is sending out a specific set of signals to your digestive system and the digestive system responds straight away.
Anger, specifically, will set your gut off into continuous contractions, thus increasing the acids while your intestines twisted and generated mucus and other digestive juices.
Anxiety sets off a similar reaction, while depression results in almost no movement at all in the intestines.
So, what is now known in the scientific world now is that your gut mirrors every single emotion that happens in the brain and not to mention the other organs in the body that are also affected, like the heart (increased rate) and shoulders & neck (tightening).
The relationship of the brain to the gut is like no other in our body with a number of hard wired connections. The Vagus nerve is the bundle of fibers that connects the brain to the gut, delivering information from the gut to the brain.
Is it any wonder then that people with gut and intestinal problems including, chronic constipation, indigestion, heartburn and then more serious conditions like crohn’s and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), generally have no idea that these conditions are affecting their emotional state.
Even conditions like Lupus and other diseases are improved when the gut biome is in a healthy state of equilibrium.
So, why is it that fermented foods are good for the gut flora and ultimately good for the brain function as well (given the very close relationship between the two)?
Firstly, by consuming fermented foods, we are adding beneficial bacteria and enzymes (very high enzymic activity) to our intestinal flora, which increases the health of our gut microbiome and digestive system. This has a knock on effect of boosting our immune system as well.
Fermented foods are rich in probiotic bacteria and these bacteria are fed by prebiotics, which is the indigestible fiber from foods we eat, like onions and garlic, oatmeal, asparagus, apple with skin, artichoke and barley.
Think about your garden; the seeds you plant would be likened to probiotics and the water and fertilizer you use to grow the plants can be likened to prebiotics.
So, the important ferments we can get access to readily will include sauerkraut, kefir, yoghurt and kombucha.
Most of the bacteria classified as probiotics come from two main groups: (although there are others)
The most common ferments include:
- Fermented cheese
The friendly bacteria must not be underestimated as they form an integral part of our immune system.
In conclusion, it is extremely important to ensure a healthy gut biome to assist with emotional well being. Knowing the strong connection between health gut flora and emotions, we should be promoting healthy, organic raw foods and ferments in our daily diet.
Combined with a moderate exercise regimen, meditation and yoga, we can maintain a healthy emotional and physical state.
Emeran Mayer – The Mind Gut Connection (Chapter 2)
David Wolfe – Longevity Now (pp107-109)