Have you ever been so excited or nervous that you felt butterflies in your stomach, or had a “gut-wrenching” experience? If you have, then you probably know just how interconnected the stomach and the brain are.  This is known as the gut-brain connection. “The gastrointestinal tract is sensitive to emotion. Anger, anxiety, sadness, elation — all of these feelings (and others) can trigger symptoms in the gut.” Similarly, the brain has a direct effect on your stomach and intestines. For example, if you think about tasting a fresh lemon, your body starts to react like you are actually tasting it! The connection goes both ways. It’s important to be aware of this connection in order to avoid any unwanted emotions or unpleasant sensations in your stomach. Let’s take a look at how science explains this connection!

The Science

Source: brain book/Youtube

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When we talk about a gut-brain connection, people usually think about the gut feeling, or instinctive nudge we often experience. Science has discovered an important link between the gut and the brain, that can influence anything from your mood, behavior, health, and immune system. The little brain is referred to as the enteric nervous system (ENS), which plays a big role in connecting the gut and the brain. However, the ENS is not so little despite its name. It contains hundreds of millions of neurons and embeds itself within the gut wall, lining your gastrointestinal tract from the esophagus to the rectum. This gut-brain connection occurs within both directions, and the scientific community calls this the gut-brain axis.

How to maintain a healthy gut-brain connection

Eating a plant-based diet full of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, and free from sugary, fried, or processed foods and soft drinks is one of the best things you can do for your gut and mind! This will help you feed the good bacteria, viruses, and fungi that live in the gut.

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