Felt that strange tingling in the tummy before the exam results or when your crush suddenly appeared? Remember your stomach acting all weird when you’ve had a fight with your best friend? During upsetting situations, people usually behave in two ways. Either they lose their appetite or they turn into a hungry monsters and binge on old cookies. It is strange how a stressful external situation can make your tummy bloat or upset. There has to be something that quickly informs the gut what your brain is feeling. And we tell you all about the connection between your brain and gut here.
Meet the Messenger – The Vagus Nerve
With a lining of more than 100 million cells, your gut is called the second brain or Enteric Nervous System (ENS). And the vagus nerve acts as the crucial messenger between your primary and secondary brain. Being one of the biggest nerves in the body, it sends signals in both directions and contributes towards making or breaking your mood. Whenever you are under high-pressure situations, this nerve gets disturbed and inflamed, which adds up to your misery by affecting the digestion of food. Hence, the gut plays a crucial role in determining how you feel.
Food And Mood
What makes the gut special is the fact that it has almost 90% of serotonin (the happy chemical) receptors. This is why that boring bowl of soup makes your stomach feel happy, and not that processed packet of noodles.
Now you know why there has been so much focus on eating healthy, especially when one is feeling the blues. Maintaining a healthy gut by following a balanced diet can result in reducing the effects of depression.
It’s interesting how the microbes in our belly, work so hard to keep us all cheerful. They are the ones who try to keep us calm by producing a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This neurotransmitter is known to control anxiety and fear, so eat clean and light the next time you face a difficult situation.
Isn’t it surprising how something so simple has such a huge impact on our mood? That slice of pizza surely looks tempting, but after an hour, the bloating can irritate your vagus nerve and trigger your anxiety. Eating processed food, staying in stressful situations, and ignoring the symptoms of an unhealthy gut, can wreak havoc with your mental health.
Change Your Gut Feeling
How can you do away with all those Monday blues or winter sadness? When a situation gets too taxing for your mind just take a walk, listen to your favorite music, and bring a sense of awareness. Breathe deeply to calm your gut down and ensure that your next meal is fresh and healthy, soon you’ll see how fast your mood shifts from feeling-so-weird to okay-I-can-deal-with-this. Now, when you’ll receive a new task on Friday night or you had a bad date, you’ll know why your tummy suddenly feels so bloated. And those spicy midnight snacks?Say goodbye and ditch them.
Your brain and gut are the two players that can’t be ignored if you want to gain control over your mood. So eat your greens, dance more often, break-up from stress, and don’t forget that vagus nerve. Give your gut feeling a chance!