Yes, it really IS that important!
Did you know that the majority of our immune system actually lives in our gut? This means that even a subtle disturbance to our gut bacteria can have a huge impact on our entire immune system! The gut is constantly communicating to all our organs and it is therefore vital that we are feeding them the right foods in order for them to flourish, not flounder. All the food we eat is absorbed by the gut and the communication is therefore made from the gut bacteria to the rest of body in order to tell it how to respond to the food we just consumed ie. Raising serotonin levels, raising our blood sugar levels and therefore causing a spike in our insulin.
This links us to our next part of the question; yes, the gut really IS a second brain!
It has been shown that although the intestine and the brain are connected by a nerve, the gut is still able to function without this connection, thus meaning the gut almost has a ‘mind of it’s own’.
Serotonin; a vital chemical and neurotransmitter in the human body which assists in regulating mood, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory, and sexual desire and function, – it has been shown that at least 90% of serotonin is produced in our intestine! This means that the types of bacteria which we have within our gut affect the way we think and behave. Ever had a ‘gut feeling’? Butterflies?
Through extensive research, The APC Institute in Ireland have shown that the types of fat you eat alters the type of bacteria that reside within your gut. This ultimately means that feeding certain strains of bacteria can enhance your memory, brain function and alter your serotonin levels, stave off disease while feeding other strains can have detrimental impacts on your health.
How do I feed my good gut bacteria?
Prebiotics. Eating a variety of plant based foods which all have varying nutrients and prebiotics within them naturally can assist with making sure that the bacteria in your gut is being fed right, therefore amplifying your serotonin levels, stabilizing your blood sugar levels and preventing disease.