If you’ve ever ‘gone with your gut’ to make a decision? or, felt ‘butterflies in your stomach’ when nervous, well, you might have experienced signals from your second brain. This ‘second’ brain – hidden in the walls of your digestive system is revolutionising medicine’s understanding of the links between digestion, wellness, mood and even the way someone thinks.
This connection goes both ways. For instance, the very thought of eating can release the stomach’s juices before food gets there. A troubled intestine can send signals to the brain, just as a troubled brain can send signals to the gut. Therefore, a person's stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress, or depression. They are intimately connected. This vital piece of information is pathing a new outlook on health and how we perceive food. This is creating a greater significance for dietitians and the food you eat being critical to your daily performance.
This intimate relationship can be expressed in many forms. Physical, behavioural and/or emotional signals from brain-to-gut or gut-to-brain. Physical signals could be headaches or lack of sleep. Behavioural could be changes in amount of alcohol or food you consume to emotional signals such as feeling overwhelmed, poor concentration or trouble remembering things. Any form present might be your body’s second brain telling you what it needs. More often than not, I have found in research and client’s experiences that simply tuning into your gut-brain relationship can help you to decipher the communication signals.
Understanding those communication lines can lead to what foods and nutrition you need! This can make the most stressful days bearable! Get curious and find out what nutrition you need for a happier gut, and a happier you!