Our Gut, Brain and Immune systems are so intricately connected. It’s impossible to talk about gut health without addressing the health of our immune system and our brain.
Most people don’t know this but 80% of our immune system lies in our gut. So if for example you are suffering from an immune type health condition such as tonsillitis, re-occurring bouts of the flu, allergies, hay fever or any of the auto-immune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis (which we’d think has nothing to do with our gut health) think again.
The most current research is showing us more and more how the bacteria, yeast and parasites we all have living in our gut, greatly affects how our immune system reacts to different triggers such as stress, pollen, foods and household chemicals. All of these potential triggers to our immune system are all very different, but can impact our immune system in a big way. This all depends on what’s going on with our gut environment and if this environment is healthy and balanced enough to stop these triggers causing reactions.
Another truth you might not know is we have more neurons (which we’d usually associate with our brain) in our gut than in our actual brain. These neurons are known as the enteric nervous system and we all know about this by having ‘gut feelings’ and that sinking in the pit our stomach when we get a fright about something. We actually feel what happens in our brain in our gut.
Another amazing truth you should know is that we actually have more immune cells in our brain than we have brain cells. So can you see how everything work together?
Do You Know About The Vagus Nerve?
This is a very long nerve that starts in the stem of our brain and this nerve turns our rest-and-digest (parasympathetic system) on and off. It also turns on and off our fight-or-flight (sympathetic) system which is otherwise known as ‘our stress.’ The vagus nerve is the communication system between our brain and our gut and these communicate in a two-way-system.
Therefore the messages that come from the brain go to our gut and the messages that come from our gut go to our brain.
So What Does This All Mean?
It means that if you want to improve your digestion and gut health because perhaps you’re noticing some issues such as reactions to certain foods, bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, OR if we you’re struggling in the area of your brain such suffering from anxiety, depression or other mood disorders, then you MUST make your nervous system go into rest-and-digest mode as often as you can. If you’re like most people, you are in the mode of fight-or-flight most of the time as you go about your day trying to get everything done! We were never meant to be in this mode all day. The rest-and-digest mode will get your vagus nerve to tell your gut AND brain to digest food well and to do any healing that you need. This will only happen if you’re relaxed on an internal level.
So How Do You Get Into Rest-And Digest Mode?
Here are 3 simple steps you can begin to get yourself THERE!
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