Though the gut and the brain aren’t positioned near each other within the human body, the two are closely connected. Your gut can significantly impact your mental health, contributing to issues including anxiety and depression.
Here, we’ll discuss the link between the gut and the mind, as well as strategies for promoting optimal gut health.
How Are The Gut and The Mind Linked?
The connection between the gut and brain is largely related to the ENS or enteric nervous system. The ENS is the gastrointestinal tract’s underlying nervous system. It manages motor functions, immune functions, endocrine functions, local circulation, and the transport and secretion of mucus. Additionally, the ENS contains far-reaching connections to the central nervous system or CNS.
Through the central nervous system and various hormones, the ENS exchanges information with the brain and immune system. The communication between the ENS and brain creates a link between your gut and mental health.
When the gut is irritated, inflamed, or otherwise disturbed, it can transmit signals to the brain and contribute to feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. This connection works both ways – when you feel stressed out, anxious, or depressed, the brain can send signals to the gut, contributing to gastrointestinal discomfort.
Protecting The Health of Your Gut
There are several ways to support the health of your gut and, in turn, your mental health. These strategies include:
- Eating a nutritious diet
A balanced, nutritious diet can help keep your gut healthy. There are several factors that contribute to a gut-friendly diet, including:
- Getting enough fiber
- Minimizing alcohol, caffeine, and fried foods
- Choosing lean protein sources
- Eating plenty of vegetables and fruits
- Sleeping for 7 to 9 hours per night
Sleep deprivation can contribute to gastrointestinal issues including inflammation, bloating, and stomach pain while increasing stress levels. 7 to 9 hours of sleep nightly is considered healthy for the average adult.
- Staying active
Exercising consistently helps protect the health of the gut by supporting stress management, weight management, and a balanced microbiome.
If you feel like your gut needs a reset, colon hydrotherapy can help. This treatment flushes the digestive system of toxins and irritants for relief from gastrointestinal discomfort.
Contact Body Flow Wellness today to learn more about hydrotherapy for greater gut health.