November 17, 2014
As summer draws to a close and autumn bathes the great outdoors in color, most people start thinking about the holidays. Although the holidays are a time of cheer, they’re stressful for a number of people. Too many things to do and too little time to do them. As the days grow shorter and the temperatures drop, the “winter blues” set in. Plus, we let our healthy lifestyle habits slip a bit and indulge in more holiday goodies!
Believe it or not, a healthy gut plays a role in helping you maintain a sunny disposition during the cold winter months, but only if it is working properly. You may know that your gut is home to around 100 trillion bacteria. Unfortunately, these bacteria don’t always live in harmony. Unhealthy lifestyle habits, a poor diet and stress disrupt your gut ecosystem and allow unhealthy bacteria to gain a foothold.
What you may not be aware of is that your gut and brain are closely connected. In fact, your gut is rich in nerve cells and nerve connections that communicate with your brain. Your gut is so heavily endowed with nerve connections that it’s often referred to as the “enteric nervous system” or the “second brain.” One theory is gut bacteria communicate with the brain through interactions with the “second brain” that lies in your gut. It’s a two-way channel.
Gut Mood and Health
Maintaining a healthy balance of gut bacteria is important for overall health. Friendly gut bacteria support healthy digestion. That comes in handy when you’ve eaten too many holiday treats. Feeling bloated and “too full” takes some of the joy out of celebrations.
Plus, seventy to eighty percent of your immune system lies in your gut. Keeping your immune system healthy is something to think about as cold and flu season draws closer.
Now you have another reason to keep your gut bacteria in balance so your gut and brain can communicate in a healthy manner. Your brain, gut and your immune system are closely tied together. By seeding your gut with healthy bacteria you create an environment conducive to health and well-being.
Research shows gutfriendly, probiotic bacteria moderate brain activity and how we respond to stress. In one study, women who ate yogurt containing a mixture of probiotic bacteria twice a day for four weeks reacted less to angry and frightening visual stimuli than women who didn’t get probiotic bacteria. Animal studies also show probiotic bacteria appear to positively impact brain activity and mood.
Stay Healthy and Happy
You can’t completely control stress in your life but you can take steps to reduce its influence over you. Eating a clean diet of unprocessed foods combined with a daily probiotic supplement such as Natren HEALTHY TRINITY is one way to maximize your health and keep the winter blues at bay. Enjoy the holidays, but mind your health and the health of your family while you’re at it!
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