The GI Tract, Mood, and Gut Health

November 18th, 2011 · 7 Comments · healthy gut

With the holiday season just around the corner, many of us are planning parties and get-togethers that will include a wide spread of food and drink. This time of year is festive for the spirit (if you remember to keep it balanced) but terribly hard on our stomachs and GI systems. An extra piece of pie, a few more bites of cheese, a nibble here, an extra drink there—our bodies don’t always know what to do with such a sudden and drastic switch in diet or the introduction of added stress to our days. For some, the holidays are a busy time where “getting sick is not an option” or “I’m just tired because I’m working so hard”. What if the fatigue and the oncoming illness are being triggered from within your gastrointestinal tract?

Gut Health and Mood Links

Recent research reveals the strong connection between our gastrointestinal system and our moods. While some believe that your mood affects your digestive system, scientists are revealing that it could actually be the other way around. The gut is a critical and extremely complex organ system and is not only where nutrients are absorbed but is also the starting point for a number of physical and mental disorders that affect millions of people yet remain under a doctor’s radar. Current studies are pointing to gastrointestinal upsets like maldigestion, bloating, gas, acid reflux, and irritable bowel syndrome as being connected to causing fatigue, mood swings, depression, arthritis, and even autism. Many scientists are finding strong grounds for argument in the upsets of the gut triggering the changes of mental or physical wellness.

Digestive system diagram

Do you have a healthy gut?

While connections between mental and gut health are still being researched, the theory is one to consider and take seriously. Doctors are recommending that anyone who is experiencing gastrointestinal difficulties should assess how they are feeling mentally and physically and attempt to address their gut health. Aside from cleaning up your diet and taking out the ultra-processed foods, doctors encourage you to focus on eating more natural, nutritious foods such as raw vegetables and fruits. When we begin to focus on our food as providing nutrients, we place its importance much higher and improve our gastrointestinal system.

For some of us, the need to address the discomfort we are feeling in our gut is an immediate one. At times, an upset stomach or heartburn cannot be avoided and, once the symptoms begin, many people take over-the-counter medications to make themselves feel better. Take one pill before a meal to keep heartburn away, take another when you’ve finished eating to be sure you can sleep through the evening… after a few days of this, your body becomes dependent on these medicines and relief becomes impossible without them. Rather than reaching for PPIs (proton-pump inhibitors like Prilosec, Prevacid, Zegarid and Nexium) or a TUMS, choose herbs and other natural means to keep your GI system happy. In addition to making changes to your eating habits, there are several supplements you can introduce into your day that are essential to maintain or improve gut health.

How Can I Improve My GI Tract and Get a Healthy Gut?

Healthy Gut

Kroeger Herb Products has developed a formula from Master Herbalist Hanna Kroeger that is designed to soothe a hot system. Healthy Gut is a blend of mints and other herbs to maintain a healthy digestive system, keep intestinal villi healthy, promote proper absorption of food, and support a natural detoxification process. The soothing blend of herbs in this product is useful for the woes of burning symptoms and is safe to take every day.

Digestive Enzymes are another good addition to your diet. Our bodies have only a finite supply of digestive enzymes and they diminish with age. Enzyme supplements can help replenish the gut’s dwindling stores and aid your digestive process.

Probiotics are another great, natural way to keep your stomach troubles in check by balancing the good and bad bacteria found in your digestive system. Probiotics are also safe to take daily and can be a wonderful addition to your daily herbal and vitamin regimen to keep the system moving and functioning in tip-top shape. To see a variety of probiotics,click here.

Seven Easy Steps to Improved Gut Health

Just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean it’s acceptable to forget about the happiness going on inside your body. Here are some tips from Whole Living Magazine to keep your gut health in check.

1. Eat Fresh: Having a cookie or two isn’t a problem, it’s daily junk food habits that do the damage. The majority of your diet should be natural and unrefined as processed foods get broken down into sugar more easily.

2. Keep Things Moving: You should have at least one bowel movement a day as a sign of a happy digestive system.

Glass of water3. Feed the Flora: Fiber filled foods are like fertilizer for the good bacteria in your gut. Look for insoluble fiber which helps move waste out of the colon. Aim for 25 grams a day.

4. Don’t Rely on Colonics and Enemas: Advocates for these treatments say that the digestive tracts of people who eat a typical Western diet move waste slowly through their body and need colonics and enemas. Becoming dependent on these treatments could cause serious side-effects so fill your plate with cruciferous veggies instead.

5. Reboot Your Body: Standard gut wellness advice usually includes adding a probiotic to your daily regimen.

6. Slow Down: You are what you eat but you are also how you eat. Unless you are calm and in an unhurried state, the GI tract can’t optimally absorb nutrients and digest food. To avoid gas, bloating and indigestion make meals a time of relaxation and conversation or even try a cup of chamomile tea before eating to promote digestion.

7. Drink Up: If you’re well hydrated there is a greater chance that you will have a movement more easily. How many ounces you should drink a day depends on your diet and lifestyle; an easy way to know if you’re getting enough: your urine should be very light yellow.

You can always visit our website to learn more about issues of proper digestion and intestinal wellness. We have a variety of probiotics as well as Kroeger Herb’s Healthy Gut and, as always, we are happy to answer any questions you may have about the products we carry. To learn more about Healthy Gut, visit our website or see a previous blog here.



Further research on the GI system’s connection to our moods check Dr. Steven Lamm’s book No Guts, No Glory, Better Nutrition Magazine, and Whole Living Magazine.


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7 Comments so far ↓

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