The right way to stay healthy and happy
Nutritionist and food coach Anupama Menon shows the way to staying healthy and happy!
The mind and the gut have an immortal connect, an implicit bearing on each other’s working. The one nerve responsible for this significant association is called the vagus nerve. The vagus, the tenth cranial nerve, is the longest running one in the body. It stems from the brain and descends all the way down to the deepest recesses of the intestine. It thus establishes an indestructible relationship between the health of the gut and the working of the brain.
When acidity strikes, the head hurts and when you are most stressed, the toilet becomes your favourite spot. The nervousness before a big presentation finds its base in the rumbling of the tummy and when your digestion is not right, your focus is jeopardised. There are more than enough symptoms that we experience in our daily life that stands proof to the fact that the vagus nerve knits a strong signalling pathway between the brain and the gut. Any compromise in the digestive system pierces negative effects on the brain and vice-versa.
This is where our gut microbiome, or the bacteria that crowd our intestines, plays a prudent role in the way the gut functions, and finally the way we feel in terms of our focus, happiness quotient and mental wellbeing.
The vagus, the tenth cranial nerve, stems from the brain and descends all the way down to the deepest recesses of the intestine. It thus establishes an indestructible relationship between the health of the gut and the working of the brain.
We are born with a gift - trillions of bacteria in our gut that produce 95% of the happy neurotransmitter serotonin, peak nutrient absorption and maintain the delicate alkaline environment in the intestines.
Hence, it is very important that we keep these little babies (our very own gut bacteria) happy. It’s important that we feed them and help them grow. It’s important that we help the good bacteria grow sufficiently enough to crowd out the bad guys (the bad bacteria!). Towards this, we need to take a few simple steps:
Consume organic fruits and vegetables as much as possible.
Minimize the use of hand sanitizers. Avoid processed food and white sugar. Avoid processed flours and solvent treated oils.
Eat a clean diet by consuming at least four-five cups of veggies every day that will keep hunger at bay and feed the gut microbiome.
Make natural probiotics like beet kvass, home fermented veggies and fruits, kimchi, yoghurt and sauerkraut a part of our daily diet.
Reduce the use of antibiotics to only when absolutely essential.
A healthy mind and body need a healthy gut and digestion that works like a well-oiled machine. This requires just a little thought and a little planning to ensure your kitchen is probioticfriendly and shuts the door to processed food. This, however, demands a change in your lifestyle. Are you ready for that change?