You’ve probably heard the saying that the gut is your “second brain.”
This second brain is known more scientifically as the enteric nervous system (ENS). As Jay Pasricha, M.D. and director of Johns Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterology explains on their site, it controls everything involving digestion. This includes swallowing, the release of enzymes that break down food, the blood flow that assists with nutrient absorption, and elimination.
And there’s more. Turns out, a healthy ENS may also be central to your body’s ability to heal. A staggering 70% of our immune system lives within our gastrointestinal system.
In addition to slowing the body’s healing process, there is even research to suggest that irritation in the gastrointestinal system may send signals to the ENS that triggers mood changes. A staggering 90% of the body’s serotonin – the chemical messenger that plays an important role in mood and happiness – is produced in the gut.
The bottom line: A healthy gut means a healthier and happier body, but if you are suffering from inflammation, your body’s ability to maximize its performance may be hindered.
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What causes inflammation?
As with most things in our body, inflammation is complex. You may experience inflammation as a limited response to an injury, such as a sprained ankle or an infection. Once the injury or condition has healed, the inflammation will go away.
Chronic inflammation, however, happens when this inflammatory response doesn’t go away, leaving your body in a constant state of alert, stress, and even pain.
Inflammation has been linked with chronic diseases, autoimmune disorders, musculoskeletal pain, and mental health issues. It can be caused by underlying conditions such as Crohn's disease or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), but inflammation isn’t always the result of a condition. Stress, poor diet, and lack of physical activity can all contribute to inflammation, which may cause discomfort and can affect your daily life.
Symptoms of chronic inflammation can include:
- Mouth sores
- Abdominal pain
- Chest pain
Reduce inflammation to improve gut health
Given that so much of our body’s healing system begins with the gut and inflammation can hinder the body’s natural ability to heal, the connection between inflammation and gut health cannot be ignored.
Think of your gut as a room with many, many doors. When you provide your body with proper nutrients, the doors are triggered and open, allowing the nutrients to enter your system. But inflammation can prevent the doors from opening, stopping your body’s ability to absorb what it needs. And when your body isn’t getting the basic nutrients it needs, it isn’t operating properly.
So what are the first steps to finding whole-body harmony?
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Eat a healthy diet
Certain foods can cause inflammation, such as high fructose corn syrup, refined carbohydrates, and alcohol when consumed in excess. But eating a healthy diet, rich with anti-inflammatory foods can do your body a world of good. Berries, dark chocolate and cacao, turmeric, bell peppers, avocados, and broccoli are just some of the foods that have been shown to be anti-inflammatory.
Reduce your stress levels
When you're stressed, your fight-or-flight response is triggered, which releases hormones that prepare the body to respond to perceived danger. These hormones may hinder digestion or suppress your immune system. In the short term, it’s not damaging, but long-term stress can have negative effects on your body, which can cause inflammation. Meditation, breathing exercises, journaling, or taking a walk outside are all activities that have been shown to reduce stress.
According to UCSD Health, just 20 minutes of moderate exercise has been shown to have anti-inflammatory benefits by stimulating the immune system.
Get support from a supplement like Trulacta
Trulacta is the first supplement made from Human Milk Bionutrients™, which naturally supports a healthy gut and your body’s ability to heal. Learn more about Trulacta and how it can help your overall well being.
Additional support may be necessary, especially when it comes to chronic inflammation. If you suspect you may have acute or chronic inflammation, talk to your doctor to find the best options for your unique situation.