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The Gut-Brain Connection: How to Keep Your Gut Flora Healthy

Updated: Jul 14, 2020

Have you ever felt “butterflies” in your stomach? We use this expression for a reason. The gastrointestinal tract is sensitive to emotions. Anger, anxiety, anguish, happiness, all these feelings can trigger symptoms in your gut.

That’s more, recent studies show that your brain affects your gut health and your gut may even affect your brain health. The communication system between your gut and brain is called the gut-brain axis.

This has certainly gotten the attention of Chinese medicine practitioners because the importance of gut health has been a discussion for literally thousands of years. From a Chinese medicine perspective, an imbalance of intestinal flora can affect our physical health, as well as contribute to anxiety and depression.

There is a bacterial population living in your intestines known as gut microbiota or gut flora. The gut flora consists of a colony of about 10-trillion bacteria. It forms the base of the gut-brain connection. The Gut bacteria impacts every organ, especially your brain.

I truly believe that health starts in the gut, and it’s not just about digestion. When people take proper care of their guts, their health tends to follow. Disease gets reversed, or even better, prevented, and your body functions the way Nature intended.

Many facets of modern life can cause an imbalance in gut flora. Leading a stressful life, eating processed foods, consuming large quantities of sugar, sleeping too little, and taking antibiotics can damage the gut bacteria.

This, in turn, may impact our health. Unhealthy gut bacteria have harmful effects on our brain, heart, immune system, skin, weight, hormone levels, ability to absorb nutrients, and even be a cause of cancer.

The right gut-bacteria can keep you healthy, lean, and happy. You will always have some harmful gut bacteria, and that is normal. To allow your brain and gut to communicate efficiently, you need the right balance of gut flora.

Here are some easy ways in which you can keep your gut flora healthy:

Bone broth: The key to gut support

Bone broth provides a rich source of glutamine along with connective tissue support from collagen and gelatin. This combination of amino acids makes bone broth the most powerful gut-supporting ingredient, it is found in dense protein foods: beef, lamb, chicken, seafood, grass-fed whey, eggs, and cabbage.

Beyond glutamine, bone broth provides arginine and glycine as potent amino acids. These both have been shown to aid in reducing inflammation and body fat.

While there are many high-quality, pre-made bone broths available now, making your own bone broth at home is really easy and often more cost effective. Get my favorite bone broth recipe here.

Get your green on

Include a wide variety of plant-based foods in your diet, a healthy gut has a diverse community of microbes. Each of these prefers different foods. Including a wide range in your diet will promote a healthy, diverse microbiome community.

Eat more fiber (aka Prebiotics)

Prebiotics are food ingredients that stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria. They differ from probiotics, which introduce new healthy bacteria to the gut. Whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables all contain prebiotic fibers that are good for your gut bacteria. It is also beneficial to combine both prebiotic and probiotic to give fuel to the beneficial fora as you repopulate your gut. This one is my favorite brand.

Omega-3 fats

These fats are found in oily fish and also in high quantities in the human brain. Studies in humans and animals show that omega-3s can increase good bacteria in the gut and reduce risk of brain disorders

Eat fermented foods

Fermented foods are foods altered by microbes. The fermenting process usually involves bacteria or yeasts, converting the sugars in food to organic acids or alcohol. Many of these foods are rich in lactobacilli, a type of bacteria that can benefit your health.

Polyphenol-rich foods

Cocoa, green tea, olive oil and coffee all contain polyphenols, which are plant chemicals that are digested by your gut bacteria. Polyphenols increase healthy gut bacteria and may improve cognition.

Avoid processed foods

The american diet consists of processed foods and is not very diverse and is rich in fats and sugar. They often contain ingredients that surpass healthy bacteria or feed the unhealthy bacteria.


So, when it comes to maintaining a healthy intestinal flora, It’s important to be proactive and take specific steps to combat exposure to antibiotics (both in foods and medicine), as well as exposure to processed foods that deplete healthy bacteria.

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With love,

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