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Your Gut: Your 2nd Brain

If ‘you’ve got guts’ you have the courage to take on the world. But courage is a state of mind, so what do your guts, located in your belly, have to do with the daring in your mind? Quite a bit, actually, as science is showing us.

Would it surprise you to learn that you have more bacteria in your body than you have cells. The trillions of bacteria in your body, most of them in your gut, make up a system called your microbiome. And now research is showing that the state of your gut may affect your state of mind.

In our guts, diversity is good. It includes enough of the good bacteria that help us digest food and absorb nutrients, produce vitamins, and keep harmful bacteria, viruses and parasites in check and keep our intestinal cells healthy. If the diversity of our gut bacteria is upset, the bad bacteria take over, making us sick. A microbiome that is out of balance can affect not just our physical well-being but our mental health. Research have linked gut health to anxiety and depression.

The great thing about this is that by improving our microbiome, we can have a positive effect on our state of mind. Probiotic and prebiotic foods and supplements can help us get our gut bacteria back in balance. Probiotics contain the healthy bacteria that your gut needs while prebiotics support the health of your gut so that healthy bacteria can thrive. Great food sources of probiotics include cultured Yoghurt, Kefir, Sauerkraut, Miso and Sourdough bread. Foods rich in prebiotics include asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, and bananas.

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