Did you know that our intestines are linked to our brain? Our guts are formed of the same material as our brains when we are developing as an embryo, hence we experience “gut feeling”. Our guts are also linked to our brains through systems within the body which I will explain. The link between the guts and the mind is strong. Some scientists even think that our guts control our minds! It is also believed that there is a relationship between our mental health and our gut health, that possibly one could be triggering the other e.g. poor gut health is triggering anxiety and vice versa.
Scientists have identified the gut-brain axis, which basically means how the brain and the gut talk to each other. In the realm of science this is all pretty new stuff, but it’s an area that is growing and is super interesting. This relationship which is affecting our brain and emotional system is occurring through hormones, our immune system and autonomic nervous system. I could go off on a tangent about the microbome but that’s probably a whole different blog post. But just think of it as your own little footprint of bacteria. This is developed within your guts and comes from your mother at birth. These bacteria in your gut communicate with your brain in different ways including the vagus nerve (which we treat regularly in craniosacral therapy) and hormones which again we can work with in cranio.
When our gut bacteria are out of balance we can be left feeling down, washed out, our skin can suffer with conditions like eczema and it can worsen asthmatic symptoms and allergies to name a few things.
So how can you improve your gut health and encourage positive effects on your gut brain?
In cranio we are making a direct connection to the different nervous systems of the body. We can work directly with the vagus nerve, we can work with the glands that are producing the hormones that play a part in the gut brain axis, and we can work directly with the intestines. We can support the body to move back to a place of balance and strengthen the gut brain axis.
This is a fermented tea drink. It has grown hugely in popularity in the past couple of years. It’s even found its way into cocktails! You can buy it in healthfood shops and most supermarkets now or you can buy your own kit and ferment your own. Companies such as Lakeland and Amazon sell Kombucha kits or you can search online. I had one from Happy Kombucha, they are super helpful and my kit worked really well.
Kefir is a drink that comes in two forms, water based kefir and milk based. My personal favourite is water based kefir. I got to try this in Vinnie’s Eatery the other day. They homebrew their own Kombucha and water kefir and it was super tasty.
This German picked cabbage dish is super tasty and can be purchased in supermarkets or you can make your own.
Is the Korean version of pickled cabbage again can be purchased or if you are feeling adventurous you could make your own!
Another way to encourage good gut health is to take probiotics. I would recommend going to a healthfood shop or pharmacist if you would like more information about these. I buy mine from the Nutrition Centre in Cheltenham. I take it first thing in the morning with a glass of water.