How Gut Health Impacts Our Mood and Everyday Life
There has been a tremendous amount of new research concerning how our gut communicates with our minds and vice-versa. The new science that has resulted from that research suggests that our gut health has a much more far-reaching impact on our lives than we ever imagined. In fact, studies suggest that our gut’s biome (the collection of bacteria, enzymes, and amino acids) can affect everything from our emotional disposition to the likelihood we’ll succumb to certain degenerative diseases.
While scientists are still struggling to find the causal link between gut health and total wellness, it’s clear that the two-way communication between our brains and the food we eat is a very powerful thing indeed.
What is Your “Gut”?
When we speak of our gut, it’s not enough just to think of our stomach. When scientists examine the gut, they’re looking at the entire digestive system (including the bacterial populations inside it) in addition to the biological systems that are attached (or dependent on) our stomach and intestines. This includes:
- The nervous system
- The immune system
- The endocrine (hormone) system
Did you know that the vagus nerve has multiple pathways that allow two-way communication between your stomach and your brain on multiple levels? Or that the chemical composition of the food we eat can trigger the production of certain hormones in our body that have an effect on our emotional state?
How Does Your Gut Affect Your Mood?
Dr. Emeran Mayer, MD, is a gastroenterologist and neuroscientist who has studied the gut and all its interactions for four decades. He is a professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, where he runs the G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience and co-directs the Digestive Diseases Research Center (CURE).
It is Mayer’s belief (backed by years of research) that our gut can effectively “control” multiple health-related issues from digestive disorders and allergies to anxiety and depression.
At the heart of his research is the tenet that it’s not only what we eat but when and how we eat that creates this gut biome and influences the two-way communication between our body’s subsystems and our mental and physical well being.
In short, our body reacts to everything we put in our mouths (or don’t) in a very real way:
- Our internal chemical composition changes
- Our nervous system sends food-specific signals to our brain (and other parts of our body)
- Our brain returns those signals with the proper response (much of which we’ve learned through societal cues)
- Our immune system analyzes and reacts to the input
All these changes happen every time we eat (or don’t eat).
When the system is working as it should, we feel well, emotionally stable, and physically strong. But when our biome is out of harmony it can cause or contribute to any number of minor irritations all the way up to serious chronic conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome and perhaps even certain types of arthritis.
Harmonious Gut Functioning Leads to Healthier Living
Aligning your gut’s biome with your physical and emotional state results in:
- Decreased stress levels
- Decreased inflammation
- Reduced pain
- A stronger sense of total wellbeing
- Even emotional stability
Because the system is a two-way street, these positive feelings and emotions create a more harmonious environment in your gut with:
- Reduced acid production
- Increased secretion of healthy digestive fluids
- A healthier mucous membrane
- More stable musculature contractions
How Can You Achieve Harmony?
Treat your gut as you would your entire body by providing it with the essential components it needs while limiting potential disruptive ingredients it doesn’t. Dr. Mayer suggests:
- Eating a primarily plant-based diet
- Focusing on anti-inflammatory foods
- Using only natural bowel habit-regulating interventions (like rhubarb root extract, aloe vera, and flaxseed)
Can you do that in today’s modern life with the ever-present time crunch and temptations? You can with the help of The Hollywood Cookie Diet® . It’s high in fiber, low in fat, ready to take on the go and can help provide needed nutrients to keep our digestive system satiated and working properly.
Need a quick reset? Dr. Mayer suggests that using quality pre- and probiotics can help recreate a healthy bacterial biome inside your digestive system.
Need something more far-reaching? Consider intermittent fasting.
Intermittent Fasting as a Gut Health Reset
Intermittent fasting may be a wonderful way for you to achieve many of these goals quickly. By using The Hollywood 48 Hour Miracle Diet®  as a fasting and cleansing tool, you can help your body automatically reset chemical and hormonal balance. Research has shown that intermittent fasting can lead to:
- Decreased insulin resistance
- Healthy hormonal shifts
- More accurate interpretations of gut sensations (actually knowing when you’re hungry versus just assuming you are)
- Decreased inflammation
- Positive mental health benefits (including changing levels of available serotonin)
Dr. Mayer also suggests that the act of eating with healthy social interaction is essential for achieving the correct internal chemical balance (the emotional signals the brain generates and sends to the gut and its microbes). That’s why he says eating meals with friends or family at least three times a week is one of the most important parts of a harmonious diet. Scheduling your regular meal days to coincide with social gatherings during weeks when you fast may result in even greater benefits.
Listen to Your Gut
The most important thing to take away from these decades of research is that you should listen to (and trust) the signals that your gut is sending. By learning how to interpret this two-way communication you’ll be better able to understand what your body really needs and how to achieve your goal of total wellness.