All tagged Microbiota

The One Food to Help You Be Happier

You know the expression, “Happy Wife, Happy Life?”

Well, I’m proposing an updated version of that:

Happy Gut, Happy Life!

You’re right, it doesn’t quite have the same ring to it…

But it does happen to be more accurate.

That’s because the happiness hormone, serotonin, is mostly made in our gut.

In fact, it’s a whopping 90% of serotonin that is made in our gut!

Serotonin is the “feel good” happy hormone that affects our:

  • Mood

  • Sleep

  • Appetite

  • Digestion

And if we’re low on serotonin, we:

  • Feel low

  • Have trouble sleeping

  • Feel anxious

  • Have cravings for sweet and starchy food

And chronically, low serotonin can increase the risk of:

  • IBS

  • Heart disease

  • Osteoporosis

So how do we make sure our bodies are producing enough serotonin?

Well, it all starts in the gut.

The microbes in our colon determine whether our cells make enough serotonin.

If we have a healthy and diverse group of microbes, then our cells can make serotonin.

And how do we make sure we have a healthy and diverse group of microbes?

We feed the good bugs in our gut!

And what do the good microbes eat?

FIBER!

Now, fiber comes in many shapes and sizes (soluble, insoluble, resistant) but there’s one type I want you to focus on:

PREBIOTICS!

Prebiotics are the specific fiber-rich, fermentable foods that feed the good microbes in our gut. 

Here’s your must-have list of prebiotics to add to your meals:

  • Bananas

  • Onions

  • Garlic

  • Artichokes

  • Soybeans

  • Oatmeal

  • Flax

  • Barley

  • Greens

  • Berries

When the microbes eat these foods, they grow and multiply and thrive.

And why is this all important?

Remember, Happy Gut, Happy Life!

When we feed the good microbes, they repay us by helping cells make serotonin.

And that serotonin, in turn, helps us live happier lives.

Need a few prebiotic-rich recipes to put in your meal rotation?

Try one of these to get you started:

>>Zero-Added Sugar Zucchini Muffins

>>Vegan Raspberry Muffins

>>Swiss Bircher Muesli

>>Rosemary White Bean Cauliflower Soup

>>Sweet Potato, Red Onion, and Spiced Chickpea Salad

 Your Action Step: Choose one prebiotic from that list that you will add to one of your meals this week!

Mind-Altering Microbiota + 5 Ways to Promote a Healthy Gut and Mood

Have you heard that you have two brains?

Yes, there’s the one in your head…

But what about the one in your gut?  The one known as your “second brain?”

There’s 100 million neurons running through your gut; that’s more neurons than in your spinal cord!

It’s no wonder that when you get nervous before a big presentation, your stomach churns, or when you have an exciting event, you get butterflies in your stomach.

The two brains (the one in your head and the one in your gut) are intimately connected.

Which means that those signals work in the opposite direction.

If your gut is unhealthy, you might experience more stress, anxiety, and depression.

When the GI system is irritated, the neurotransmitters and hormones that regulate our mood become “irritated” and out of balance, too.

Meaning an out-of-balance gut can trigger mood changes.

Those tiny microbiota are literally mind-altering.

An out-of-balance gut can occur for several reasons:

·        Poor diet (low fiber, high meat intake, processed foods, lack of variety)

·        Antibiotics

·        Proton pump inhibitors

·        Antacids

·        Stress

·        Environmental toxins

·        Food allergies

“A healthy mind breeds a healthy body, and visa versa.” - Zig Ziglar

Well, a healthy gut breeds a healthy mind and visa versa, too 😉

To reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression, you have to prioritize your diet and lifestyle.

Here’s 5 tips to get you started in healing and promoting gut health:

·        Focus on fiber (hello, whole grains, fruits, and veggies!)

·        Don’t get stuck in a rut! Choose a variety of foods (whole grains, beans, lentils, various fruits/veggies)

·        Consume probiotics as part of a healthy diet (yogurt, kombucha, miso, sauerkraut, kimchi)

·        If you do eat meat, treat it like a condiment instead of the main event

·        Swap in fresh food in place of processed snacks and meals

And if you want some specific recipes to get you started to eating for gut health and mental health, I’ve got you covered!

Chewy Trail Mix Bars>>

Anti-Inflammatory Pasta Salad>>

Easiest Vegan Chili>>

Red Lentil Stew>>

10 Minute Healthy Stir Fry>>

Which one will you try first?