Most people are pretty aware of all that their brain does for them, and that it’s a good idea to take care of yours.
That’s a no-brainer. (Pardon the pun.)
However, the grey matter in your skull is not your only brain.
You have another one about 30 inches south of the first one.
It’s called your gut microbiome.
Yes, these little intestinal inhabitants are so powerful that they have earned the distinction of being called your second brain!
Strength in numbers
Your body’s population of bacteria outnumbers ALL of your cells by about 10 to 1!
The vast majority of them live in your intestinal tract, but they also live in your skin, in your mouth, in your saliva and more.
Even though they’re tiny, they play some very significant roles in your health and even influence how you think!
Here are some examples:
Nutrient absorption and production
Having a healthy intestinal flora population helps to enhance your absorption of nutrients from your food, as well as nutritional supplements.
Plus they also help produce vitamins for you–including vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, D, and K.
70 percent of your immune system resides in your friendly gut flora, so keeping it healthy encourages a strong, more capable immune system.
Your immune system helps prevent infections and viruses from taking hold of you, plus it also protects you against cancer and other diseases.
And having a sharp, well-functioning immune system can decrease your risk of suffering from allergies, sensitivities, asthma, eczema and autoimmune conditions.
Ulcer remedy and prevention
Certain beneficial bacterial strains have been shown to be helpful in fighting and preventing ulcers.
Studies have established that the Lactobacillus strains L. acidophilus and L. salivarius can slow and even help destroy H. pylori (the bacteria that causes most ulcers).
Healthier cholesterol levels
Beneficial gut bacteria can help promote healthier cholesterol levels by creating acids that counter cholesterol production.
In addition, your friendly flora works to keep your bowel movements smooth and regular, which allows your body to better eliminate old, worn-out cholesterol (instead of risking reabsorption into your bloodstream).
From one brain to another
The brain and the gut are connected and the health of one affects the other—this is called the brain-gut axis.
Research has shown that problems in your gut can directly impact your mental health, eventually leading to issues like anxiety and depression.
But the flip side is also true—better, healthier bacteria can help encourage better mental health.
In an article published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, researchers stated that even severe and chronic mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), might be eliminated through the use of probiotics!
Plus a recent mouse study at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada suggested that gut microbes play a strong role in the body’s response to stressful situations, as well as in who might be susceptible to conditions like PTSD.
I’ll have the chicken, please
Researchers from UC San Francisco, Arizona State University and the University of New Mexico have found that gut microbes may influence our eating behavior and dietary choices.
These little guys can make us lean toward the particular foods and nutrients they like, instead of just accepting whatever comes their way.
Each species of bacteria has their own preference–some prefer fat, and others sugar, for example.
Depending on which species has the “upper hand” at a given time, the microbes can influence your decisions by releasing signaling molecules into your gut which can eventually affect your physical actions and behaviors—including your food choices!
And as you would suspect, harmful bacteria and yeasts prefer SUGAR!
Keep yours healthy and strong
It’s more important than ever encourage a greater population of helpful gut bacteria to proliferate—those that thrive on a healthy diet, effectively fight sickness and disease, and even encourage strong mental health!
This is where you can use your FIRST brain by making smart, gut-friendly choices:
- Limit sugars and refined carbs, which feed harmful microbes inside of you. A dessert on a special occasion is one thing—a regular diet of sweets, pasta, bread, chips, crackers and soda is another.
- Eat a tossed salad every day. Even a lettuce wedge drizzled with dressing counts! Your gut needs the cleansing and fiber from the fresh raw vegetables.
- Avoid drinking tap water—strive for some form of filtration or bottled water.
- Use antibiotics ONLY WHEN ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. Antibiotics can obliterate your friendly microbes and give harmful bacteria the upper hand.
- Take a top-quality multi-strain probiotic formula like Super Shield. (Added bonus: Super Shield contains the lactobacillus strains that fight H. pylori that I mentioned above!)
Yes, you do have two brains—so engage the power of both to create better health.