What does nutrition and inflammation have to do with brain health?
The health and nutrition given to our gut directly affects what happens in our brain. The enteric nervous system (ENS) is coined our “little brain”. Although it is not little at all; the ENS is two thin layers of more than 100 million nerve cells lining your gastrointestinal tract from esophagus to rectum. Current research explains that our gut communicates directly with our brain and that the brain literally changes in accordance to the messages. One example is our mood. Researchers are finding evidence that irritation in the gastrointestinal system may send signals to the central nervous system (CNS) that trigger mood changes. Depression and anxiety may be a direct effect of what we are eating. Research is also suggesting that digestive-system activity may affect cognition (ie, thinking skills and memory). Physicians are improving patients with traumatic brain injury, concussions, and autism spectrum disorders by working on gut health.
At Brain Connex Therapy we want our children’s brain & gut health to be functioning at their best in order to provide the best results. Good nutrition is one of the key’s to brain health allowing children to process information, sleep better, and absorb the work that they do during treatment.
If you feel overwhelmed with the idea of changing your families diet, here are few simple ways you can ADD healthy options to improve you & your families brain health:
- Eat more fruits & vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are filled with phytonutrients that decrease inflammation and reduce oxidative stress. Inflammation decreases brain function. Every chronic condition has inflammation.
- Eat essential fatty acids. The balance between dietary Omega-3 and Omega-6 strongly affects function. Processed oils and grain-fed cows are filled with Omega-6 which is altering the delicate balance that our body needs. Supplement Omega-3 and decrease processed foods with Omega-6.
- Eat fermented foods. Fermented foods provide us natural probiotic cultures. Probiotic cultures that come from a food source (such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, etc) have millions of live bacteria. Probiotics can help balance the microbiome by replenishing the good bacteria, which leads to improved digestion and better immunity.
- Drink more water. Our digestive system needs water to function properly. Waste is flushed out in the form of urine and sweat. If we don’t drink water, we don’t flush out waste and it collects in our body causing a myriad of problems.
- Sleep more! Children need several hours of sleep every night to restore their bodies, let their brain detox, and relax their nervous system. Sleep improves cognition, attention, and behavior. Start a bedtime routine that enables your child to relax and fall to sleep easily.
Watch our video for more information on Nutrition, Inflammation & Brain Health.
Look for future social media posts with our favorite “brain health” recipes for families!