Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Probiotics and Your Emotional Health

Are you like scores of others who notice during times of stress and anxiety that you end up with GI problems like acid indigestion, heartburn and gas? Researchers are finding that there is a distinct connection between brain function, stress levels and the health of the gut. And that you can take steps to protect yourself against the barrage of unpleasant symptoms. Alas, how can this be done? Well, consider the latest findings and remember, forewarned is forearmed. In other words, take the steps to protect your emotional and physical health before times of stress occur.

The Brain - Gut Connection
Scientists have found that there are actually two nervous systems: the central nervous system which consists of the brain and spinal cord, and the enteric nervous system which includes the GI tract which is made up of the stomach and intestines. (Dr. Mercola, "Why This Single Organ Powerfully Dictates whether You're Healthy or Sick). Both develop simultaneously during fetal development and remain connected through the vagus nerve which runs from the brain stem to the abdomen. So, anything that adversely affects the emotions-such as stress, fear and anxiety, will almost invariably affect the gut. Also, when we are under assault by stress, our immune system works overtime and leaves us vulnerable to illness and health problems. That is why a healthful diet is so important in helping us cope with the onslaught of stress and anxiety.

Probiotics - how they can help

Probiotics have gained fame for the beneficial effect that they have on the digestive tract by regulating digestion and elimination thereby strengthening the immune system. They also are known for jump starting weight loss. That's a big benefit!

Latest findings reveal that they can help strengthen neurons present in the gut. (Neurons produce neurotransmitters like serotonin, which is involved in mood stabilization) Probiotics also help the body maintain the balance between the bad, and good bacteria. The good bacteria is what is important for the intestines to produce beneficial substances such as the B vitamins which are vital to optimum neurological functioning. (Dr. Mercola, "Why This Single Organ Powerfully Dictates whether You're Healthy or Sick).

What are some of the beneficial probiotics to look for? Lactobacillus helveticus and bifidabacterium longum are examples of two essential probiotics that provide emotional and digestive well-being.

Now, what foods provide good sources of probiotics?

Food sources of Probiotics
Arm yourself with fermented foods such as kefir, which is a fermented milk product.. Yogurt is also a good choice. Just make sure that the yogurt havs "live" or "active" cultures.

Prebiotics are also foods that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria. It is wise to consume them as well for their health benefits. Such foods include oatmeal, bananas, garlic and oatmeal.

In Summary

Remember, your health is in your hands. Take steps to safeguard your health before stress and anxiety strike.


Sources:

Dr. Mercola, "Why this Single Organ Powerfully Dictates whether You're Health or Sick" http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/03/18/mcbride-and-barringer-interview.aspx



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