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Two Brains, One Body

Blog

Two Brains, One Body

Vanessa Siravo

Did you know that your gut serves as your second brain?

Research has shown that the body is actually composed of more bacteria than cells. Wow! These trillions of bacteria are called the microbiome. Most of those bacteria reside in our gut, sometimes referred to as the gut microbiota, and they play multiple roles in our overall health.

Our gut microbiota play a vital role in our physical and psychological health through its own neural network: the enteric nervous system (ENS), a complex system of about 100 million nerves found in the lining of the gut. The ENS is sometimes called the “second brain,” and it actually arises from the same tissues as our central nervous system (CNS) during fetal development.

Your gut produces more of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is known to have a positive influence on your mood, than your brain does. 90-95% of serotonin is released from the gut. Serotonin is the ‘happy, feel good’ hormone in our body.


How do you support both brains through food?

Boost your gut health, brain health, mood, immune function by incorporating fermented foods into your diet.

What are fermented foods?

Fermented foods are foods that have been through a process of lactofermentation in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid. This fermentation process preserves the food. It also creates beneficial enzymes, B-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and strains of probiotics.

Where do I find fermented foods?

Fermented Foods include sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, kimchi, natto as well as kefir and fermented coconut water

Fermented foods have been explored throughout many cultures due to their health benefits.  Some of these cultures include:

  • During the Roman era, people consumed sauerkraut because of its taste and health benefits.
  • In ancient India, it was common to enjoy lassi, a pre-dinner yogurt drink. This traditional practice is anchored on the principle of using sour milk as a probiotic delivery system to the body.
  • Bulgarians are known for their high consumption of fermented milk and kefir, and for their high level of health.
  • Ukrainians consumed probiotics from a fermented food list that included raw yogurt, sauerkraut, and buttermilk.
  • Various Asian cultures ate pickled fermentations of cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash, and carrots, and consume these fermented treats until today. - sourced from Dr. Mercola

Why are fermented foods so beneficial?

They boost the body’s supply of Probiotics.  Eating and drinking fermented foods and drinks can:

  • introduce beneficial bacteria into your digestive system and
  • help the balance of happy bacteria in your digestive system
  • have been shown to improve and support bowel health
  • improves digestion
  • fights candida
  • improve immunity
  • support mood
  • eliminates allergies

Some of my favorite brands of fermented foods include:

  • Eden Organics
  • Bubbies
  • Hawthorne Valley Farms Sauerkraut and Kimchi
  • South River Miso Company
  • GT Kombucha
  • Kevita
  • Cheers to a healthy and happy gut!