Believe it or not, the term "gut-feeling" isn't just a metaphor. The condition of your gut can actually affect your mood! While the brain is responsible for your emotions, your gut is actually connected to your brain through nerve connections, hormones, cytokines, neurotransmitters and certain metabolites that send messages. So the health of your gut plays a significant role in the health of your brain and your mood.
Here's how it works
Your gut sends messages to your brain with neurotransmitters that may affect your mood, appetite, thoughts, emotions, and even sleep. It also sends nutrients and fuels to your brain when your digestive system is healthy. But when your gut is stressed by everyday life or unhealthy diet, it affects the messages sent to your brain! This makes having a healthy balance in your gut important!
How to stay gut-happy
There are a few things you can do to keep your gut healthy and yourself happy!
Eat more fiber: High-fiber foods have prebiotic fibers that are good for the healthy bacteria in your gut. The bacteria in your gut in turn work to produce metabolites such as short-chain fatty acids that have been implicated in gastrointestinal functional, (neuro)immune regulation and host metabolism.
Take a probiotic: Probiotic supplements can help you maintain a healthy balance of good bacteria in your gut. Those bacteria numbers play a huge role in your gut health.
Relax: Try to avoid stressing your mind and your body. Stress can make it hard on the good bacteria in your gut to thrive.
Avoid unnecessary antibiotics: Sometimes you need them, but antibiotics usually can't tell the difference between good and bad bacteria. So taking antibiotics can take away from the healthy bacteria in your gut that are working to absorb nutrients.
A happy gut means a happier life, so don't forget about taking care of your gut health!