Why the health of your gut dictates how you feel

September 16, 2016

  

 

There’s no denying it, the world is complicated and busy and sometimes completely overwhelming. There is much stimulation, exposure to toxins and pressure in many different areas of our lives. The world has changed rapidly and we, as humans, have rapidly changed the way we eat and live.

 

It seems that many people are struggling with some form of mental illness, difficulty with behaviour (either their own or their child’s), struggles with learning, depression, anxiety or even just a general malaise and feeling of inadequacy. There are many scientists doing amazing work about the link between the brain and gut and how this holds the key for many to heal their mental illness.

 

A study was undertaken in Christchurch, New Zealand in recent years after a devastating earthquake in which many lost their lives and many more lost homes and businesses. Scientists treated a group of affected people with micronutrients, a supplementation of nutrition that met all of their daily dietary needs. What they found was the people who were given the nutritional supplement had far lower levels of depression and anxiety and a far better ability to rebuild their lives than those who were not given the micronutrients. This study was has been replicated a number of times following different disasters around the world with the same outstanding results.

We know that there is a link between the gut and the brain - the gut-brain axis. And what this means is that when our gut is unwell, the brain is unwell too. The gut makes 90% of decisions in our body and so it stands to reason that when things are not going too well in our bellies, the wheels are more likely to fall off in other ways too. And with 80% of our immune system contained in the cells immediately outside our gut, when we improve our gut health, we see a dramatic improvement in our physical health too.

 

When we consume foods that cause inflammation in our body, the intestinal wall is compromised leading to what we know as Leaky Gut. This is where the particles that are supposed to be contained within the gut, leak outside the gut and cause havoc. We know that we are eating foods that cause inflammation by the clues the body gives us – a blocked or stuffy nose, a sore joint in the body, a rash or skin irritation, headaches, stomach pains and a whole host of other ways.

By removing those foods from the diet, we stop the inflammation process but we need to heal from the damage we have done. We do this through the consumption of bone broth, fermented vegetables, probiotics, green vegetables and drinking plenty of water. As we heal the intestinal wall, the brain also heals and we see a decrease in anxiety, depression, OCD and other struggles.

 

For many people, healing the gut takes some time and commitment but can be done within the space of a regular, healthy diet. For some however, the damage is so great, that they need significant healing and this can be done through a programme called GAPS. It stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome and is a programme created by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride after she healed her son of Autism.

 

Socrates reminds us that all disease begins in the gut, including mental illness.

 

If you would like more information about GAPS, mental health, more information about the gut-brain axis or gut healing generally, please email me at louise@healthierhabits.com.au. I'd love you to share this post to help others start or continue their journey towards healthier habits too.

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