Do you ever have ‘butterflies’ or get that ‘gut feeling?’ Our gut and brain are in fact connected by millions of nerves. This connection plays a role in our mood, energy, stress and digestion to name a few. In the gut there are also chemicals that impact our brain health. Did you know, a large proportion of serotonin (our happy hormone) is produced in the gut?! 90% of it in fact, meaning only 10% is produced in the brain!! It lines our intestines and is released into our blood circulation. Serotonin plays a key role in such body functions as mood, sleep, digestion, nausea, wound healing, bone health, blood clotting and sexual desire. Serotonin levels that are too low or too high can cause physical and psychological health problems.
Improving our gut bacteria can improve towards a better gut-brain connection and therefore, improved mood etc. One big way to achieve better digestion is stress management. Reducing stress can lower inflammation in the gut, ease GI distress, and keep you nourished, since your body can focus on absorbing the nutrients you need. Doing regular yoga or other gentle forms of exercise can help manage stress, as can proper rest, mindfulness and taking both probiotics and prebiotics have been shown to reduce levels of anxiety, stress and low moods.
Fermented foods such as functional drinks like kombucha are just one dietary source that contains such bacteria and can help contribute towards better gut health and ultimately help support optimal mood. Why not try swapping out your juice or fizzy drinks to a glass of kombucha - a simple yet effective healthy swap!