I can’t believe I missed it all along. I’m a neuroscientist who focused on what I considered to be the only brain – the one in our head. As someone who has long-suffered from a nervous tummy, food sensitivities and takes a long time to recover from tummy upsets, I completely ignored what has now been considered our second brain – the gut.
This system in our body is something we often don’t want to talk about – for it is associated with a few socially undesirable antics. However, researchers are now starting to uncover that, like the brain in our head, our gut is associated with so many of the far-reaching workings of our body, including our mental health.
I finally gave in to my curiosity and downloaded the audiobook of the bestseller by Giulia Enders called Gut – the inside story of our body’s most underrated organ. This book is a bestseller for a reason – Dr Enders somehow managed to make the gut appear, well…quite cute! Not only that, it gave me so much more respect and love for my body. This system that I considered a nuisance is actually an intricate machine with every single detail taking care of us. We often label it as defective because we can’t tolerate certain foods, without realising that it is trying to help us at every turn.
One of the take-home messages for me, was the incidence of fructose intolerance. These days, thanks to modern transportation, we can get a pineapple at practically any time of year. Forty years ago, fruit was not so abundant, therefore we had less of it and could only get our hands on what was seasonally available in our area. In addition, our grandparents did not have added fructose in their tomato sauce, their yoghurt or their tinned soup. Our food industry has evolved so fast, that our poor little bods are not yet equipped to deal with such high amounts of fructose in our diets – which can lead to unpleasant side effects.
But the most fascinating message was the link between gut health and our mental wellness. Read this article here for a great explanation of the link between the two if you are time-poor. But if you can, read this book. It is amazing – and at the very least, it will help you to see your body as the beautiful piece of machinery that it is.
Food for thought. Follow your gut instinct. Ok, enough now.
Much love XX