Guest Post by Matthew Swayne- Cognitive Expert
The gastrointestinal tract produces hormones that promote optimal digestion, absorption of nutrients and regular intestinal function. But that’s not all – the gut also produces neurotransmitters that affect our psychology, affect our brain health, and is now considered by many experts to be “the second brain.” Here are some simple but very effective health tips to incorporate into your daily life for optimum brain and intestinal health.
1. Deep breathing
Close your eyes, introduce yourself to your favorite place and breathe deeply and slowly at least 10 times. Every deep breath strengthens our ability to regulate emotion and reduces the cortisol response, as demonstrated by a study of pranayama deep breathing style from yoga. Decreased cortisol optimizes our intestinal function for digestion, mood and even sleep – because melatonin is derived from serotonin.
A balanced stress response preserves the right gut bacteria that we need to absorb all vitamins and minerals from our diet, such as vitamins A, D and E, as well as iron and zinc, all of which help boost our immune system and vitamin K, which is important for bone health and blood clotting.
Stressful or chronic stress situations can change our intestinal bacteria, potentially affecting absorption and minimizing our ability to produce relaxation hormones. For example, cortisol, the hormone responsible for the body’s stress response, can suppress hormone production related to digestion and reproduction – our primitive self wants energy to “fight or fly,” not “rest and digest.”
2. Drink 1-2 cups of green tea per day
About four pounds of varied intestinal bacteria contribute to the production of serotonin (our “happy hormone”), in addition to dopamine, “the pleasure hormone;” noradrenaline, the “fight or flight” reaction; and GABA (gamma-Amniobutyric Acid), the body’s “universal inhibitor”.
Green tea is packed with antioxidants to reduce the risk of heart disease and insulin resistance, and contains L-theanine, an amino acid that increases the levels of serotonin, dopamine and GABA, which helps protect the brain.
3. Eat foods rich in tryptophan
95% of serotonin is produced in our gut, but depression, poor digestion, craving for sweet foods and sleeping problems may indicate a deficiency. Tryptophan is the precursor to serotonin that crosses the blood-brain barrier and is an essential amino acid, meaning we get it from our diet. Foods rich in tryptophan are chickpeas, beets, seeds, fish and natural poultry – preferably without hormones and antibiotics. Brain supplements like Lumonol (LumUltra) can also help in fulfilling this deficiency of tryptophan.
4. Follow daily exercise routine
Regular exercise focuses on both brains, because it can improve your digestion and bowel movements, sleep, mood, blood flow and blood sugar regulation – making cells more sensitive to absorb glucose for energy.
Exercise can also stimulate endorphins and modulate our stress response. Aim for at least 30 minutes a day, such as walking, yoga, intensive interval training (HIIT) or weights. You can always make contact with nature again by taking a long walk or a walk, and don’t forget to breathe deeply by taking in all that fresh air!
Beautiful and effective herbs, nutrients, homeopathic remedies and other therapies are also available to improve our gut and brain health and can best be given as part of an individualized treatment plan. Always consult your doctor first. Everyone’s health has its own unique story and all aspects need to be addressed to discover the underlying cause of a disease or condition.
5. Play puzzle games
Playing games is a good way to improve your memory. Crosswords, sudokus, puzzles, lego stones. You regularly train your cognitive brain by puzzling. The games and puzzles can be found in every household and you can get started right away. Challenge yourself and puzzle a little bit every day.
An extensive American study by Rhodes College and Temple University has shown that especially children and young people who play a lot of games develop a much better spatial-visual intelligence.
6. Read more books
The more you read, the more you learn, and the more you actively put your brain to work. You train your brain to understand, store and process new knowledge. If you regularly read a book, then you will certainly notice this in your memory. Your understanding of language and the world around you will also improve. Try replacing an hour of television a day for reading in a book. This can be either fiction or non-fiction!
7. Take enough sleep
Our brains need sufficient time to clean the harmful substances that accumulate during the day. The brains use the so-called glyphatic system, which flushes out waste that has accumulated in the brain. So make sure your bedroom is ideal for a perfect night’s sleep and go to bed on time. It is a good way to give your brain enough rest during the busy school days. Make sure you sleep at least eight hours a night and especially make sure you sleep well. Avoid digitality and stressed reading just before bedtime.
Author Bio –
Matthew Swayne is a cognitive expert, taking workshops and writing since last 8 years on cognition, brain health, memory enhancement and stress related issues on his blog and online.