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How To Boost Brain Power By Improving Gut Health

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How To Boost Brain Power By Improving Gut Health

... Dr. Serena Goldstein/MBG:

The gastrointestinal tract produces hormones that encourage optimal digestion, nutrient absorption, and regular bowel function. But that's not all — the gut also produces neurotransmitters that affect our psychology, impact our brain health, and is now considered by many experts as "the second brain." Here are some simple, yet highly-effective health tips to incorporate into your daily life for optimal brain and gut health.

1. Deep breathing

Close your eyes, picture yourself in your favorite place, and take at least 10 deep, slow breaths. Each deep breath reinforces our ability to regulate emotion, and reduces the cortisol response, as demonstrated by one study of pranayama deep breathing style from yoga. Lowered cortisol optimizes our gut function for digestion, mood, and even sleep — as melatonin is derived from serotonin. 

2. Drink 1-2 cups of green tea per day.

Green tea is loaded with antioxidants to help reduce the risk of heart disease and insulin resistance, and contains L-theanine, an amino acid that increases levels of serotonin, dopamine, and GABA, which helps protect the brain. 

95% of serotonin is manufactured in our gut, but depression, poor digestion, craving for sweet foods, and sleep concerns may indicate a deficiency. Tryptophan is serotonin’s precursor that crosses the blood brain barrier and is an essential amino acid, meaning we obtain it from our diet.

3. Eat foods rich in tryptophan

Foods rich in tryptophan are chickpeas, beets, seeds, fish, and of course, poultry — preferably hormone and antibiotic free. 

3. Eat foods rich in tryptophan

Regular exercise targets both brains as once, as it can help improve your digestion and bowel movements, sleep, mood, blood flow, and blood sugar regulation — making cells more sensitive to take in glucose for energy.  

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