Recent research has demonstrated a significant connection between our brain and our gut and our current understanding of our human physiology indicates that we do indeed have a second brain. In fact, it’s understood now that our gut controls as many of our physical and mental function as the brain in our head – and as a result of this may be the key link between modern-day health epidemics globally – such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and mental health.
Our brain and our gut communicate via the vagus nerve – the longest nerve in the human body that stretches from the brainstem to the lowest viscera of your intestines. It is the communication highway between your gut and your brain and the quality of that communication depends on the quality of your gut microbiota, commonly known as gut bacteria.
Our gut bacteria also produce hundreds of neurotransmitters which the brain uses to regulate basic physiological processes as well as mental processes such as learning, memory, and mood. For example, 95% of our body’s supply of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that stabilises our mood, is manufactured in the gut. As a result, those with a poor diet increase their risk of developing depression by 25%.
It’s therefore incredibly important that we look after our gut bacteria and the best way to do that is through healthy eating and supplementation.
Probiotics work in a supporting role to keep your entire gut running smoothly and efficiently. There are hundreds of different species and strains of probiotics, all with different roles, but on a broad scale all probiotics work to balance the gut bacteria which results in improvements in overall digestive, cognitive, metabolic and immune health.
More specifically, a strain such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG plays a number of specific roles in our overall health and wellbeing including: supporting the health and function of the immune system, supporting the health and function of the gastrointestinal tract, supporting the integrity of the digestive tract, supporting the health and function of the gastrointestinal tract following antibiotic therapy, maintaining and stabilising healthy gut microflora & assisting with the digestion and absorption of nutrients.
When it comes to maintaining healthy gut bacteria – plants are king. The reason for this is the fibre and prebiotics that wholesome plant foods (fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains) provide that feed the good bacteria in our guts and keep our bowels moving. It’s all well and good to take probiotics to promote good gut bacteria but they need food to thrive and survive.
One of the easiest ways to get a healthy dose of gut-loving probiotics into your diet along with some quality fibre and prebiotics is with a plant-based protein smoothie made with the new JSHealth x Nuzest Protein + Probiotics. The premium European pea protein has a 98% digestibility rating meaning it is ideal for restoring energy and mental clarity, even in those with the most sensitive of guts. By combining the benefits of protein + probiotics it easy to digest and supports healthy gut flora.
Place all the ingredients in a high-powered blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy!J
This article was written by Nicola Miethke – Naturopath and Nutrition
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