Your brain acts as a machine to keep your body moving. Like any other machine, it needs the right kind of fuel to keep going and ensure that all other organs run smoothly. This fuel is nothing other than the food we eat. Therefore, mood, memory and all other brain functions depend on the quality of food we eat.
How is our stomach connected to our brain?
Our gut or digestive tract has more than 100 million nerve cells – leading scientists to consider it a “small brain.” These nerve receptors connect to the brain and form a direct link between the stomach and brain.
In addition, the stomach also communicates with the brain through hormones. The neurotransmitter serotonin, which regulates sleep, mood, memory and learning, is mainly found in the digestive system.
The bacteria in your gut influence serotonin production. “Good” bacteria lead to healthy and regular serotonin production, while “bad” bacteria do the opposite. In addition, these “good” bacteria improve the way nutrients are absorbed from food, protect the body from inflammation, and activate the neural pathways that connect the gut to the brain.
How does food influence these bacteria?
Diets that contain a lot of fruit, vegetables, fish, seafood, fermented foods and unprocessed grains help maintain the pH (acidity level) of the stomach. This in turn enables the “good” bacteria to thrive. Conversely, artificial sweeteners, dairy products, coffee and processed foods can negatively affect these bacteria, leading to higher inflammation, exhaustion and depression.
How does this relate to weight loss?
Ensuring your gut is healthy is the first step to reduce inflammation, improve your overall mood and lose weight. Moreover, the introduction of herbs and beta-glucans via supplements is a good way to ensure a healthy gut, which in turn leads to weight loss.