Have you ever experienced “butterflies in your stomach”, or do you feel nauseous when you’re anxious? We tend to use these expressions because our gastrointestinal tract is actually sensitive to our emotions. We also tend to believe that our emotions are controlled by our brain, but another source may actually affect how we feel, without us even knowing it.
We’re talking about our intestines, an organ that’s the natural habitat to trillions of microorganisms and contains a network of neurons just like our brains. This is why many researchers refer to our intestines as “the second brain.”
Our intestines are tied to our brain not just physically, but also biochemically, which is why many recent studies have been associating this organ with our digestion, mood, health, and the general way in which we think. It’s really quite impressive.
For example, a large part of the serotonin, a neurotransmitter that acts in our brain and regulates our mood, sleep, and even appetite is produced mainly in our intestines. Other neurotransmitters which control our feelings and emotions are also produced in our intestines by the bacteria that live there.
Furthermore, these bacteria produce other chemicals that may affect the way that our brain works, and even your weight. Now that you know how important your intestines are, not only for your well-being but also for your general health, we’re going to show you a few tips that may improve their functioning. Care for your intestines Eating probiotic food such as kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, and yogurt will guarantee that your body receives the correct amount of bacteria that your intestines need.
Prebiotic foods are also great for your intestines since they serve as nourishment for the bacteria. Bananas, beans, onions, pears, and even garlic contain the correct type of fiber to feed them. Studies have shown that gluten-free diets have a positive impact on the good bacteria in your intestines, especially in people that are sensitive to this protein. Increase your magnesium intake. Magnesium is an important mineral for our bodies, especially for our digestive health.
A study performed in Switzerland proved that two restless nights in a row are already enough to reduce your intestines’ good bacteria by up to 50%. Not sleeping enough may affect not only your digestion, but also your immune system and even your mood. This is why you should always try to sleep at least seven hours a night.