What organ in your body controls emotions and stress levels, determines your need to consume food for energy, acts as a highway for hormones and other bodily chemicals, and alerts the body when you are ill?
The correct answer is your digestive system.
That’s right. Believe it or not, your body’s digestive system consists of sheaths of millions of neurons that are embedded in the walls of the gut, which allows it to function and work like the body’s second brain.
The even crazier thing…the gut system is so complex that it can actually perform its many jobs without any communication from the brain.
Why is this so important to know? Easy.
It all comes down to understanding your gut health.
As you can already see, our gut systems are incredibly important.
When you don’t take the time to understand the function of your gut system, it’s easy to ignore. And when you ignore your gut health, this is when health problems like acid reflux, diabetes, obesity, and autoimmune diseases start to become a big problem.
In order to get a better understanding of why it’s so important to take good care of your gut, I want to walk you through the various ways that the gut system acts as the body’s second brain.
Then, I’m going to give you a few ways you can make changes in your lifestyle in order to improve your gut health.
Let’s jump right in…
How the Digestive System Impacts Emotions
At first it may seem odd that your intestines might be playing a role behind depression, anxiety, or other mood disorders, but when you look at the science behind how your gut works, it actually makes a lot of sense.
According to Jane Foster, a neuroscientist at McMaster University…
“The latest research shows that the digestive tract and the central nervous system maintain a complex two-way line of communication via the ‘gut-brain axis.’ Studies where researchers manipulated gut bacteria that these microbes influence how the brain develops, particularly the regions that influence the stress response and conditions related to stress, such as anxiety and depression.”
It’s also theorized that bacteria in your intestines might also send chemical messages to your brain.
In fact, we know that some strains of gut bacteria can secrete neurotransmitters. And we also know that the enteric nervous system lining the digestive tract contains millions of neurons that can respond to these neurotransmitters and send signals up to the brain.
How the Digestive System Impacts the Immune System
About 70% of your immune system is in your intestines. Therefore, if you have an unhealthy gut, you are more susceptible to getting sick.
Here’s how it all works…
The digestive system protects your body from bad bacteria that can easily be found in anything you eat–yes, even healthy, nutritious food! And in order to successfully do this, good bacteria in the gut, immune cells, and hormones work together to keep the GI tract performing at its best.
When your digestive system isn’t healthy, your gut system isn’t able to do its job to fight off bad bacteria, and you become sick.
How Poor Digestive System Health Can Cause Chronic Disease
Everything we eat passes through our digestive tract. And when our digestive tract doesn’t like what we are eating, we end up with health issues like acid reflux, autoimmune diseases, and even diabetes.
For instance, you may have sensitivity toward specific types of foods. And every time you eat those foods it causes inflammation in your gut.
This inflammation in your gut can then lead to acid reflux symptoms–a lifelong health problem that will plague you until you take control of your gut health and eliminate those trigger foods.
The same goes for autoimmune diseases.
Essentially, symptoms of autoimmune diseases tend to flare up when your gut system has what could be considered an “allergic reaction” to what you eat.
There are certainly other factors that contribute to why a person might have an autoimmune disease like genetics, ethnicity, and environmental toxins. But, it’s been proven time and time again that many autoimmune diseases can be managed with special diets.
This leads us to believe that what you eat and how it reacts inside your digestive tract is a major contributor to why you might suffer from autoimmune diseases.
Last, but not least, I want to mention type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is often caused by obesity. And more often than not, obesity is caused by eating too many high-sugar, fatty, unprocessed foods that your digestive system isn’t able to get rid of.
Here’s the good news.
If you start feeding your gut system healthy, nutritious, and balanced meals, you’re likely to be able to lose weight and stop type 2 diabetes in its tracks before it becomes a big problem.
You see…all of these chronic illnesses can be managed (or even put to an end) when you pay attention to your gut health.
How to Keep Your Gut Healthy
Clearly your gut system–the body’s second brain–is an extremely important organ system. And your gut health should be taken very seriously.
So, what can you do to ensure it stays healthy? Here are a few simple tips…
- Eat a healthy diet–First and foremost, you need to pay attention to what you’re putting in your body. A diet full of lean proteins, healthy fats, and nutritious vegetables will give your digestive system the fuel it needs to stay healthy.
- Get tested for food sensitivities–As we mentioned earlier, food sensitivities can cause a lot of health problems. Getting tested to see if you have food sensitivities is relatively inexpensive and easy to do. Learn more about food sensitivity testing here.
- Exercise–Every system in our body is connected, which means total body health is important for maintaining the health of individual organ systems. Add at least 30 minutes of exercise into your routine every day.
- Take a quality probiotic–Probiotics are a great way to help maintain a healthy and balanced gut system. I recommend ProbioMax® Daily DF. You can order it here.
While you’re working on improving your gut health, I encourage you to check out one of my articles on how garlic (a food that’s commonly known for helping with digestion and promoting gut health) can boost your health.