It is inevitable for the human body to be invaded by bacteria, especially the gastrointestinal tract. This population of bacteria has a crucial role in the health of the gut and as well as in other aspects of the physical health, starting from inflammatory skin disorders to obesity.
When the balance of these intestinal bacteria gets disturbed it can lead to both physical and mental side effects. Believe it or not but our cerebral health can be also affected by the health of the intestine that is called second brain. As per scientific evidence, the intestine contains bacteria which influence the structure of the brain, and in that way affects our mood, behavior, and mental health.
According to recent scientific researches the health promotion of your intestine can extend to the health of our brain and neurological system.
The intestine-brain connection
The microbiome is invaded by a diversity of bacteria that it can be “good” and “bad”. When there is a proper balance the existence of beneficial bacteria can prevent the proliferation of bad bacteria. The imbalance of the microbiome can result in higher existence of bad bacteria that is harmful for the overall health of the body. The most common reasons for this imbalance are the occurrence of inflammation, intestinal permeability or a lack of bacterial diversity.
According to newly performed studies on mental health issues such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other psychological or neurological problems, it is believed that their occurrence may be related to alternans in the microbiome.
As per the findings of the researchers at the Health Sciences Center, Texas Tech University, any imbalance in the microbiome can lead to an overreaction of the immune system and in that way contribute to the inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. As a result of that, there are symptoms of diseases which do not manifest only in the digestive system but as well as in your brain.
The “Gut-Brain Axis”
This axis is in fact a system of relations and communication between the gastrointestinal tract and the brain. It is believed that the early-life infections may negatively influence the mucous membrane of the gastrointestinal tract, hampering the function of the intestine and interfering with normal brain development. The condition of the mucous membrane can be influenced in many ways, like for instance as a result of poor nutrition, radiation therapy, chemo, and the use of antibiotics.
Dysbiosis – Imbalance between Good and Bad Intestinal Bacteria
In the current field of neuropsychology the imbalance between beneficial and harmful intestinal bacteria has been related to a number of psychiatric and neurological disorders, including anxiety, depression, autism, and stress. In addition to this it is considered to take a part in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. This in fact means that an intestinal disorder may be triggered by stress, anxiety, or depression.
Therefore, it is of vital importance to maintain the health of the microbiome and thus promote good overall health. Keeping a good balance in favor of the beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract will also provide you with good mental health. You can achieve that by implementing a well-balanced diet based on foods that have in their content probiotic or prebiotic ingredients that offer good microbial health.
Beneficial Foods for Your Gut
The intake of these foods will help to keep and restore the balance of the gut microbiome.
These foods provide a wide range of beneficial living bacteria that develop while carefully controlled fermentation process. They are the following ones: apple cider vinegar, kimchi, kombucha, miso, plain yogurt, kefir, cottage cheese, and fresh sauerkraut.
Contrary to probiotic foods, the prebiotic foods do not have in their content living organisms. However, they still contribute to the health of the microbiome thanks to the content of fibers that ferment in the gastrointestinal tract. There they are consumed by probiotic bacteria and in that way turned into healthy substances. Here are the following prebiotic foods: onions, garlic, leek, artichokes, chicory, cabbage, asparagus, legumes and oats.
We can sure conclude that a healthy gut can be equal to a healthy mind.