Only two weeks to go until you will have completed the 12 week programme! Everything we’ve touched on so far has been centred around improving our gut health, physical and mental wellbeing. We’ve looked at sleep, stress management and exercise, all of which play a fundamental role in supporting our cognitive function.
This week, we want to take a closer look at what we can do to make sure our gut is nourished to support our brain, which is why we’re looking at the gut-brain axis.
The gut-brain axis is the link between the cognitive and emotional centres in the brain with our intestinal functions (our gut). It’s the reason our gut is often referred to as the second brain, and it highlights the importance of looking after our gut as a means of improving our mood, memory and cognitive function.
If you’re interested to learn more about how the two are connected, we’ve written an article explaining the relationship, linked below
So, what can you do to support the gut-brain connection..?
Arguably the most obvious area to look at first is what you eat. Improving your gut bacteria by what you eat can help to support and improve your brain health. We’ve covered segments of this in week 3, but here’s a recap of foods and food groups that can all help to support good brain health;
- Omega-3 fats: It’s well known that fish is great food for the brain. That’s because of its high concentration of omega 3.
- Fermented foods: Cheese, kefir, yogurt and sauerkraut are all great sources of healthy microbes such as lactic acid bacteria.
- Fiber: Fibre can be found in our fruit and vegetables, nuts, whole grains and seeds, and plays an important role in supporting our digestive system.
- Polyphenol-rich foods: Polyphenols are plant chemicals that are digested by your gut bacteria, and can help to improve cognition. Cocoa, green tea, olive oil and coffee are all examples of foods with high polyphenol contents.
- Tryptophan-rich foods: Tryptophan is an amino acid converted into serotonin – a hormone that helps to stabilise and support our mood. Foods that are high in tryptophan include cheese, eggs and turkey.
Another thing to consider is Nootropics; supplements that can help to support cognitive function. Nootropics are generally taken to enhance cognitive function and improve mental performance. Aguulp for Brain contains L-Theanine which is a naturally occuring amino acid, most commonly found in tea. Even just 50mg can increase alpha-waves in the brain which are linked to enhanced creativity. Our brain formula contains 150mg, so a shot of that each morning will certainly boost your creativity.
And last but not least; sleep. Sleep has been a hot topic throughout this programme, which is no surprise when you appreciate the fact that sleep is our tool for resting our mind and recharging our body for the day ahead. A good night’s sleep can feel like a blissful treat in our hectic daily lives, while sleep deprivation can have an incredible impact on your state of mind. After a broken or missed night’s sleep your ability to think clearly, focus and control your emotions are dramatically impaired. To understand the full impact of sleep on mental function make sure to read Matthew Walker’s much lauded, ‘Why We Sleep’, which is terrifying and inspiring in equal measures.
That’s it for this week! Next week we’ll be looking at rebalancing and how you can make sure that everything we’ve touched on over the last 3 months become normal parts of your day to day lifestyle.