As the school year starts to gather momentum, and the pressure starts to build up, our relaxed holiday mood is definitely beginning to get lost in the business of our daily grind.

But did you know that you have two “brains”? It’s true.

(And no – this doesn’t explain why you’re twice as smart as all of your friends.)

You have the brain between your ears that sends signals throughout your body. But you also have your gut, which scientists refer to as your second brain.

It’s a well-documented fact that a lot of the emotions you feel… or those “gut feelings” you get, really are just reflections of what’s happening in your digestive tract… you know, those butterflies in your stomach? This “second brain” has over one hundred million nerves that send signals back and forth between your brain and your gut.

Ever wonder why certain feelings, emotions or anxiety appear out of nowhere? Ever questioned why your mood changes?

Take a look at your gut health. We now know that it is possible to alter your gut bacteria in a way that positively affects mood and brain function. By altering the bacteria in your gut, you can better handle stressful situations, deal with fear, improve your mood, and reduce anxiety and depression. During stressful situations, the brain basically changes the entire performance of our digestive system. When there’s stress at one end, there’s bound to be stress at the opposite end as well.

So along with taking positive steps to reduce your anxiety, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly, there are other ways of supporting your second brain.

Instead of reaching for that fizzy drink or pizza, chocolate or packet of chips, how about boosting your brain-gut health by eating leafy greens, berries, nuts, seeds, oils, beans, grains, cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables. Fresh is always best. Be creative.

Today, there is also a trend towards eating “good” gut bacteria such as miso soup and other fermented foods. These include sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha. And also look for yoghurts that contain live probiotics.

Instead of waking up to a coffee tomorrow morning, how about warm lemon water perhaps with a dash of ginger or honey? This will keep your colon healthy, support weight loss and get your digestive system fired up for the day.

Your gut health is in your hands, and with some quick easy and effective strategies, you can easily make some changes today that will bring about positive results.


Fruitbowl image courtesy of  Trace Nietert – Flickr | CC license