Gut Health, Mental Health and Coconut Yogurt
Good bacteria in the gut produces neurochemicals. According to Wikipedia, “A neurochemical is a small organic molecule or peptide that participates in neural activity.” Neural: relating to the nervous system.
Functions of the nervous system?
Thought, movement and automatic responses. The nervous system, via neurochemicals, controls body systems and processes like heart rate, sleep cycles, mood, appetite, digestion and breathing. Pretty important, right?
Mood: anxiety, stress, depression.
Poor gut health can effect the nervous system and the nervous system can effect the gut.
A compromised gut can send signals to the brain and the brain can send signals to the gut.
What can you do? This seems like a vicious cycle and, at best, overwhelming!
Relax, exercise, eat food that supports your gut, meditate, say no to things in your life that aren't necessary, simplify your life, go to bed earlier…so much!
Eat food that supports your gut...let's talk about that!
One way to support good bacterial growth in your gut is to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables.
Each vegetable has different prebiotics that feed the probiotics in your gut.
We need a variety of fruits and vegetables to get ALL of the right prebiotics.
Probiotics are the good bacteria in your gut. The prebiotics are their food. This relationship between the probiotics and prebiotics creates a healthy gut and a healthy microbiome.
A healthy microbiome is essential for managing stress, anxiety and depression.
Is this the only thing? No. Is it a crucial, simple, powerful piece? ABSOLUTELY.
What can you do?
Go to your grocery store and buy a variety of fruits and vegetables. Go to produce section and buy what looks delicious to you. A variety of choices means a variety of healing prebiotics to your gut. It's literally that simple.
Try a variety of probiotic foods like kombucha, sauerkraut, fermented pickles and coconut yogurt...
Here is a great recipe you can make at home:
1 can of full fat coconut milk
2-3 probiotic capsules
1. Whisk one can of Trader Joe’s coconut milk or cream with one two or three probiotic supplements. (Open each capsule and empty the powder into the coconut milk.)
*If the milk is thick, warm it on the stove to melt the bigger chunks. Take it off the heat before whisking in the probiotic powder.
2. Pour the mixture into a pint sized jar or several small jars as pictured above. Cover with a piece of cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band.
3. Taste it every 24 hours for a sour taste. When it tastes sour like yogurt, it’s ready!
4. Put the jar’s top on and place in the fridge where it will thicken. The yogurt should last 4-5 days after it has be put in the fridge.
*In warmer weather (regardless of the temperature of the house) it will take about two days. In the winter/colder months it will take about three days.
Below: coconut yogurt with frozen blueberries and cacao nibs.