Taking Care of Your “Second Mind”

It might shock you to know that there’s a system in your physique so complicated that it has nearly 500 million neurons, linked to your mind. Would you ever guess that it’s your gastrointestinal (GI) system, in any other case often known as your intestine? To assist shed some gentle on the significance of intestine well being for the entire physique, we talked to Jagrati Mathur, MD, a Gastroenterologist with Dignity Well being Medical Group — Saint Francis/St. Mary’s.


The Mind-Intestine Connection

The intestine is usually known as the “second mind” as a result of it accommodates an in depth community of neurons, also called the enteric nervous system — which has similarities to the neurons and neurotransmitters (little messengers) discovered within the mind. The connection between the intestine and the mind is bi-directional, that means that the mind can have an effect on the intestine, and vice versa. This connection is because of a really complicated community of nerves, which line the intestine and launch neurotransmitters and help micro organism that assist regulate mind perform. 

“That feeling while you get ‘butterflies in your abdomen’ is a results of the brain-gut connection,” mentioned Dr. Mathur. 

Being in a worrying scenario can both velocity up or decelerate your GI perform and might trigger nausea, diarrhea, extreme belly ache or cramping, and different GI signs. It may be helpful for folks experiencing these GI signs to concentrate on leisure strategies and psychological well being to assist relieve their signs.

The reverse can be true. Our intestine impacts our mind features. Individuals who have a useful gastrointestinal illness, that means there may be not an natural trigger for his or her GI signs like irritation, ulcers, tumors, and many others., can expertise a heightened ache response, which might trigger stress and anxiousness.

“Our on a regular basis feelings are positively influenced by the nerves in our intestine by a fancy connection between the nervous system, hormones and the immune system,” mentioned Dr. Mathur. 

Methods to Take Care of Your Intestine

Eat Intestine-Wholesome Meals. Meals wealthy in fiber corresponding to entire grains, nuts, seeds, contemporary fruit and veggies are nice on your total diet well being, together with your intestine. It is usually necessary to include meals into your eating regimen which have pure probiotics corresponding to yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut and different fermented meals (meals which can be altered by micro organism).

“I at all times inform sufferers that pure probiotics in meals are the perfect. At all times discuss to your physician earlier than including probiotics to your routine,” mentioned Dr. Mathur. “General, we all know that prebiotics (meals that promote good micro organism) and probiotics (good micro organism) encourage a wholesome intestine.”

Equally as necessary, is avoiding substances and meals that may be dangerous to your intestine. Smoking, alcohol, caffeine, processed meals excessive in refined sugar, and a high-fat eating regimen enhance micro organism related to intestine irritation and ought to be averted to keep up a wholesome intestine. 

Train. Current research present that exercising promotes wholesome micro organism which restore the intestine lining and scale back intestine irritation — that is necessary for a contented, wholesome intestine. One thing so simple as setting a timer in your cellphone to remind you to rise up and stretch periodically all through your day could make a distinction.

Handle Stress. Managing stress is usually simpler mentioned than executed, however do you know your stress may very well be affecting your intestine and vice versa? Yoga, acupuncture, having a pet, journaling, meditating, exercising and sleeping at the least 6-7 hours every evening have all been confirmed to lower stress ranges and due to this fact promote a wholesome intestine. 

Keep Hydrated. Consuming loads of water is necessary to intestine well being. Identical to wholesome consuming, staying hydrated helps stability good micro organism within the intestine. It’s endorsed to drink at the least 6 to eight glasses of water every day to remain sufficiently hydrated.

Know the Signs

Many individuals expertise signs like belly bloating, a rise in flatulence, modifications in bowel habits, constipation or diarrhea and belly ache for a few years with out realizing that these could also be signs of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). If you’re experiencing any of the above signs let your physician know and so they can consider and deal with these signs.

Be certain to convey up any intestine associated issues or questions you might have throughout your common physician visits. A wholesome intestine promotes a wholesome immune system, mind well being, temper, sleep, and even coronary heart well being. Making these easy way of life modifications to profit your intestine can enhance your high quality of life and total well-being.

Learn More About Dr. Mathur

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