During research for my book, Your BeUtiful Body, I found many studies that reaffirmed the importance of not just the digestive process for your health and wellbeing, but the type of bacteria inhabiting your gut.
Bacteria – the good, the bad and the ugly which, in many cases are not that ugly from the perspective of your microbiome, are the focal point of many researchers looking to understand the far reaching effects of our gut flora beyond the traditional impacts associated with physical health.
In recent history, our relatively ‘cleaner’ lives, where germs are concerned at least, have made us averse to bacteria of all kinds, and our gut flora has struggled to muster the strength to hold its ground. Washing all fruits and veggies and no longer eating live foods and instead surviving on processed and pasteurized products, has caused many sources of ‘good’ bacteria to be eliminated from our diets.
This has left ‘space’ for the so-called ‘bad’ bacteria to make themselves at home, often disturbing the delicate balance between the good and bad bacteria in our gut that is essential for wellbeing, digestive and otherwise.
In fact, there are many studies that are now demonstrating a causal link between the bacteria in our guts and thought and behavior.
John Cryan, a researcher from the APC Microbiome Institute at University College Cork in Ireland, reported a link between the microbiome and fear. By examining mice with and without gut bacteria, they discovered that the germ-free mice had blunted fear responses due to the link between the microbiome and amygdala, a set of neurons in the brain that plays a key role in processing emotion. You can read the full study here as it clearly demonstrates a link between the gut and fear responses.
Applying this mode of thought to humans, a study by UCLA biologist Emeran Mayer gave probiotic yogurt to a group of healthy women twice a day for four weeks. In just the space of one month, these women demonstrated reduced brain responses to negative images. This study, conducted in 2013, clearly shows a link between the microbiome and brain, and therefore, thought and behaviour.
“Psychobiotics”, is a term used by John Cryan to describe live organisms that produce health benefits in patients with psychiatric illness through eating foods containing live strains of gut-friendly bacteria. It really is a sobering thought that the bacteria living in our stomach is directly influencing our mental state and behaviour.
If this isn’t a good enough reason to inspire us to start eating in a way that promotes a ‘friendlier’ flora and mental state, then I’m not sure what is.
Too often we take for granted our thoughts and feelings as if they are ‘ours’, reflective of absolute truth and reality. We ‘own’ these thoughts, we feel them and then we become them.
But what if these thoughts were not really ours? What if the fear we feel is promoted or even stimulated by the type of bacteria in our stomachs rather than circumstance and events?
It is said that ‘fear’ is a choice, and that being happy is a choice. Maybe these choices have a far more practical application than originally intended by spiritual teachers and philosophers. Here’s how you can make a choice today to be happy and feel good, and it could be as simple as this…
My favourite 8 foods to make happy and friendly choices for you and your gut:
- Live, raw yoghurt & cheese
- Fermented sour dough
Try to incorporate at least one of these on a daily basis, and listen to your gut to discover which ones work best for you.
The more we discover, it is becoming increasingly apparent that to live authentically, to truly Be yourSelf, in the greatest sense, choosing the Ultimate reality of LOVE over the illusion of fear, gut health, interestingly this is also where your feeling chakras are located, is key to supporting this journey, on all levels.
So, to BeU, liberated from the ‘little you’, ego-self – where negative thoughts and fear are conjured, eat friendly, bacterially rich foods! 😉
Love Laura xxx