HAPPY FROM THE INSIDE OUT
It’s that feeling when toasted spices waft into your nostrils. Your eyes growing wider when they grab onto the vibrant colors of roasted veggies. Your teeth tearing through and breaking up into a burst of flavor. Eating is an instance joy. It isn’t until after your plate is licked clean that your meal starts doing the real happiness work.
The digestive tract occupies up to thirty feet of space in an adult body. In those twists and turns between your mouth and booty are thousands of microbes. These microorganisms not only assist in breaking down food and bringing the nutrients to your body, but research is being done connecting the health of these organisms to your brain activity. Meaning how these organisms are working can directly affect your moods and stress levels.
The digestive tract works very closely with the nervous system. Specifically, the peripheral nervous system, the collection of nerve endings that communicates between your central nervous system and your organs. When your gut microbes aren’t being fed well this means they can’t communicate properly with your nervous system and it all begins to crumble. Foods that are heavily processed or exposed to hormone treatments, such as meat and dairy products, introduce foreign hormones and emulsifiers to your insides. Leading to the destruction of populations of healthy bacteria like Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus. Other threats to consider are foods that inflame the follicles lining your intestinal tract. Foods such as gluten, corn, and soy are exposed to so many different chemicals and pesticides when genetically modified to produce high volumes that it becomes a game of Russian roulette for your digestive tract.
Some foods to introduce more of into your diet are ones that already have those bacteria growing in them. Foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, or kimchi are all naturally fermented with the same bacteria found in your gut. Ginger and Garlic have natural antibacterial properties that can help with the production of stomach acid, turning your food into fuel. Then there’s fiber. Veggies and fruits rich in fiber such as peas, brussels sprouts, bananas, and kale are the perfect fuel to keep your bacteria working and happy.
The next time you’re feeling your stomach knotting up or sloshing around, reach for something with those little guys in your gut in mind!
Images: Pinterest via Pinimg
Words by: Kelly Delany
Additional Resources: Petre, M. A. S. (2019, January 22). The Microbiome Diet: Can It Restore Your Gut Health?, Valles-Colomer. (2017). The Gut Microbiome and Mental Health: Implications for Anxiety- and Trauma-Related Disorders.