Recently, a panel of our own AST team experts took place to discuss the important topic of immunity. I had the pleasure of sharing the connections between the brain and the gut. Below are my takeaways for gut and brain health.
The human immune system is made up (in part) by the 4.4lbs of organisms (100 trillion of them!) which make up the human microflora, or microbiome and cells of the lining of the gut. The health and stability of the microbiome is what you are establishing and feeding when you take your daily probiotic. Think of it like a garden to be cultivated. They are bacteria, parasites, fungi, virus living within us and helping to regulate the system. They even contribute to our DNA, our genetic makeup and our ability to adapt to any environment. Poor diet, stress, chronic disease and antibiotic therapy will diminish or eliminate the bugs of our gut. You must re-seed the garden after antibiotics and it must be inoculated with a high quality probiotic supplement ongoing. I am often asked why it is important to eat organic – remember this, the pesticides, fungicides, etc that are sprayed on our produce are not fruit and vegetable selective!
They will kill off your microbiome too.
The health of these systems, the microbiome, your organ reserves and health and your voluntary inputs (nutrition, stress management, exercise, etc.) make up the terrain that dictates how healthy you are. Terrain is the term used to describe the inner environment of a human being. The health of the terrain explains why some get sick and some do not.
What can you do to help the health of your gut, assist with immunity?
Let’s look at stress. When you are experiencing stress, your defences diminish because the brain is sending resources to the stress response system. We are living through one of the most intensely stressful times in our history, so if you are feeling stress, you aren’t alone. Stress is our current way of life, it isn’t going away anytime soon, you cannot control it. But what you can control is your response to something stressful. Are there calming thoughts you can have when something stressful comes up? Meditation helps.
So, what are you consuming daily? News? Negative people? Toxic relationships, stinking thinking? Are you a complainer? Do you engage in drama? All of these things encourage you to have negative thinking and a survival response. When you are surviving, your blood flow shunts from the extremities to the core organs. Immune system takes a back seat to critical functions.
Now, a few more things to help gut health and thus, immunity too:
Check your breathing? (One hand on chest, one on belly and eyes closed. Take three deep breaths. Which hand moves more?). Chest breathing happens when we are sympathetic dominant or in survival mode. When you breath shallowly, your brain gets the signal that you aren’t safe, which deepens the survival mode, it can last for years! So, soften belly while you breath, exhale longer than you inhale.
Get your gut right by eating the foods which heal rather than inflame the lining of your intestines. Identify food allergies and eliminate them. Eat probiotic and prebiotic foods, supplement daily.
Have a gratitude habit. Start to recognize where and what and whom you can be thankful for.
Gratitude lowers inflammation, boosts immunity and makes you better looking too!
Healthy mind = healthy brain = healthy gut = healthy immunity = health.
Access the Zoom recording below. The passcode is STAYHEALTHY2020!