Understanding the Connection
There is more being discovered about how the gut microbiome plays an important role in the health and well-being of the entire body. The gut microbiome is responsible for immunity, digestive health, protecting the body from inflammation, and maintaining brain health. While it’s a common concept that struggling with gut imbalance can cause issues with your digestive health and a decreased immune system to present itself. It’s not as widely understood how gut imbalances can impact the health and cognitive function of your brain. One of the causes that researchers are beginning to suspect as a possible reason as to how gut imbalance is affecting cognitive health is diet and nutrition.
How Your Diet Affects Your Gut & Your Brain
Following a diet that is high in saturated fat and added sugars but is low in complex carbs, fermented foods and fiber can lead to a reduction in healthy gut bacteria. The traditional diet consists of primarily highly processed and refined foods, calorie dense and nutrient deficient carbohydrates, high amounts of saturated and trans fats and not enough vitamins and minerals. Consuming this type of diet decreases the healthy bacteria and causes unhealthy bacteria and yeast to populate the gut, which contributes to gut imbalance. Gut imbalance causes issues with cognitive health due to the gut-brain axis becoming compromised and permeable. Similar to how the intestinal lining becomes permeable and allows inflammatory substances to enter into the bloodstream, the same issue occurs with the gut-brain axis. Having an inflamed or impaired gut-brain axis can lead to cognitive impairment, memory and performance issues, and inflamed brain tissue.
Consuming a pro-inflammatory diet that is high in fat and added sugar, high in processed refined foods, and does not contain an abundance of antioxidant-rich fruits, vegetables, fermented foods, probiotic-rich foods, and fiber. This can lead to a gut imbalance which contributes to cognitive dysfunction, mental health complications, decreased immunity, digestive disorders, metabolic complications such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
Transitioning to an anti-inflammatory diet that instead focuses on increasing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich superfoods into your balanced nutrition. Consuming whole, minimally processed foods that are nutrient dense. Including a variety of fruits and vegetables in your meals. Trading refined, simple carbs for complex carb sources. Maintaining or rebuilding a healthy gut by eating probiotic-rich foods, high-fiber foods, fermented gut healing foods such as kimchi, kombucha, apple cider vinegar, yogurt, and miso.
While making dietary changes are powerful. Implementing other lifestyle changes such as regular aerobic exercise can have an impact on the health and balance of the gut. Thirty to sixty minutes of cardio performed a minimum of 3 times per week can stimulate the number of gut microbes that aid in producing short-chain fatty acids which can help in preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
There’s Still More to Discover
While research regarding the role the gut microbiome plays in cognitive function is lacking and more studies need to be performed to uncover how diet affects the cognitive function of the brain. The little research that has been done has uncovered enough information to aid in helping you make better choices regarding your health and wellness to defy aging in not only the aesthetic aspects but the internal, biological aspects.
Struggling with Gut Health?
Are you struggling with digestive issues? Do you manage inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS) or are you trying to navigate how to create a healthy lifestyle that will help you decrease and minimize your IBD symptoms? I can help you create a solid game plan on how to overcome your digestive distress. Learning how to conquer nutrition is just the first part of moving towards recovery, proper wellness techniques, fitness, and lifestyle are also key to creating a happy, healthy and thriving gut. You don’t have to continue this journey on your own. I can show you the path to happiness and freedom with your health. Schedule a FREE Discovery Session now and learn more about how I can help you.
1. Noble, E. Emily; Hsu, M. Ted; Kansoki, E. Scott: Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience; January 30, 2017 Gut to Brain Dysbiosis Mechanisms Linking Western Diet Consumption, the Microbiome, and Cognitive Impairment https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnbeh.2017.00009/full