EMAIL #138 - 26TH SEPTEMBER 2021 - "TRUST YOUR GUT. It's smarter than you think"

Hi Team,
How about those Demons, what a performance?
I don't really follow the football, but Melbourne has been my favourite team since I was in primary school (which was about when they won their last flag). In fact, my best friend in primary school was Tony Beckwith, the son of John Beckwith, who captained the Dees from 1956 to 1959 when they won two premierships. Hence, I'm feeling pretty proud today!!
Not feeling quite so proud of the building industry, which has had a rough week and has been dragged into disrepute by a bunch of right-wing thugs and a whole lot of media beat up. Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail this coming week and the 99% of the building work force that are not extremists or anti-vaccers will sway the media and the public back to the real world so we can all get back to work?
Okay; back to the topic of the day, digestion. Have you ever wondered where the phrases "A gut-wrenching experience", "Butterflies in your stomach" or "Trust your gut" came from? Well, it turns out that there are several links between your gut and your brain. Scientists + doctors have recently started to refer to the digestive system as
“a second brain".
"Hidden in the walls of the human digestive system are two layers of more than 100 million nerve cells. This second brain is revolutionizing medicine's understanding of the links between digestion, mood, health and the way we think." Johns Hopkins medical Journal.
The Gut (or digestive system) is made up of several organs, such as the stomach, small and large intestines, liver, gall bladder and the pancreas, which together digest food and provide energy to the body. The most important part of the gut are the billions of good bacteria that facilitate the digestion of food. However, the gut and the microbiota (the bacteria that live in the digestive system) exist in a very delicate balance, that can easily be disturbed by eating the wrong foods.
"Digestion is one of the most delicately balanced of all human and perhaps angelic functions" M.F.K. Fisher
Nutritionists and doctors agree on the importance of feeding and nurturing the bacteria in your gut by eating "prebiotic foods" that are high in fibre, such as bananas, asparagus, garlic and most other fruit and vegetables, especially if eaten raw or lightly cooked. The other foods that are vital to good gut health are "probiotic foods" that already contain good bacteria, such as yogurt, Sauerkraut, kombucha, pickled vegetables and my favourite, apple cider vinegar. There are also loads of good probiotic tablets and supplements that can be very beneficial. Unfortunately, the enemy of prebiotic and probiotic food is cooking, which tends to kill good bacteria and reduce the fibre content of the food. The other enemy of a healthy gut are antibiotics, which kill both good and bad bacteria in the body and tend to unbalance and harm your digestion.
"Happiness for me is largely a matter of digestion." Lin Yutang
It is now widely acknowledged that the health of your gut has a direct influence on your mental health and that long term digestive problems can lead to neurological diseases such as, depression, autism, Parkinson's disease, and migraines. Numerous books and published articles also explore the link between stress and anxiety and the gut. A recent study by the MHA, Mental Health America, has confirmed that prolonged periods of stress and anxiety can cause detrimental changes to your microbiota and likewise, poor gut health can cause heightened levels of stress anxiety and depression.
I am personally highly aware of the direct link between what I eat and my mood and energy level. If I eat the wrong thing
(i.e., an iced donut) within 15 minutes I start to feel light-headed and loose concentration, and within 30 minutes I will be ready to go to sleep. Eating the wrong thing for dinner also directly affects my sleep, which then affects my mood and energy level the following day.
So in summary what I know about digestion is as follows.
• Foods that are good for your gut are, most plant-based foods, nuts, grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meat + fish.
• Foods that are bad for your gut are, most processed foods, sugar, gluten, oils, soft drinks etc.
• Water and fibre are the two magic ingredients for a healthy gut.
• Exercise greatly aids digestion.
• Sleep aids digestion.
"Always trust your gut. It knows what your head hasn't figured out yet." unknown
Thanks for reading.
Stay safe and enjoy the downtime.

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