Mind-body nutrition

The mind-body connection in nutrition

The importance of proper digestion is well known to most health conscious people. Hippocrates (460-370 BC), the father of modern medicine, said “disease starts in the gut”. The more we learn today with advanced scientific tools, the more we realize just how right he was.

But what fewer people realize is that while disease may start in the gut, it can advance all the way to the brain. For the most part, the body-mind connection has been explored in terms of how the mind, or our thoughts, impacts the body. This perspective comes from people who tend to live in their heads, believing that their bodies are somehow separate, lesser entities that need to be told what to do. They have a hard time giving credence and consideration to a truly holistic experiencing of themselves, in which mind and body share true two-way communication.

New findings in nutrition offer important insights on the real impact the gut has on the brain. The brain is an organ like your liver, your heart and your kidneys. Did you know that the toxins produced in the gut from not properly digesting your foods go into the bloodstream and are transportedto the brain? Some of those toxins are “morphine and opium like” substances that cross the blood-brain barrier, block certain areas of the brain and slow down brain function.

In her book “Gut and Psychology Syndrome”, Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride offers in-depth research on how the digestivesystem affects the brain. She specializes in the treatment of autism, ADD, ADHD, dyslexia and depression, and cured her son of autism by way of his gut. She writes:
“The gut-brain connection is something that many modern doctors do not understand. As they give out millions of anti-depressants, sleeping pills and other drugs which the patients have to place in their digestive system in order to affect their brains, they still fail to see the connection between the gut and the brain.”

The conclusion is that a healthy gut is crucially important for your overall wellbeing to obtain a balanced mood and energy levels, to have an optimistic outlook and to fully experience the joy of being alive. High quality, organic food is growing in popularity. We all know the devastating consequences of eating junk food and how important it is to eat healthy foods. But it doesn’t stop there. Unless you can digest, assimilate and absorb these foods, they also can create toxins and inflammation in your body. To create a healthy digestive system, eat high quality, fresh foods that are prepared for easy digestion and absorption. Here are a few examples:

• Bone broth: the bones leach excellent nutrients into the broth
• Meat stock: makes the meat highly digestible
• Probiotic foods: cultured vegetables and dairy are an excellent source of beneficial bacteria
• Ghee or clarified butter: takes out all the hard-to-digest milk solids and leaves only pure fat
• Raw nuts: soak your nuts overnight to make them more digestible

But these are just suggestions. Everyone is profoundly different, consequently you need to train yourself to get in touch with your own personal nutritional needs. You have to come from your gut! And the healthier your gut is, the easier it is to get in touch with it.

A certified Clinical Nutritionist & Personal Fitness Trainer with over 30 years experience, Christi Christiaens specializes in designing nutritional programs tailored to her clients’ specific needs. You can contact Christie at: christi(@)enerjoyfitness.com

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