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  • Helen Battisti

The Zone -Volume 121

What Is Your Gut Telling You? Do You Trust It?

You probably remember hearing, or maybe even said it yourself, “My gut is telling me not to do that.” Or, it may have been telling you to do something when you weren’t quite sure if you should or not. Or, have you ever had butterflies in your stomach? If any of this sounds familiar, you have been hearing your gut talking.

The gut has a nervous system, all its own, called the Enteric Nervous System or ENS. Scientists refer to it as the brain in the gut. It contains more than 100 million nerve cells and runs from the throat all the way through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract to the rectum. While the main purpose of the ENS is to ensure proper digestion, absorption and elimination, it also talks to the “big brain” that sits in our heads.

The big brain communicates through the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the main purpose of the CNS is to function as a processing center. It controls most of the functions of the body such as speech, seeing, hearing, awareness, etc. What is interesting is that the ENS and the CNS talk to each other.

Another interesting fact concerns Serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter and is often referred as the “feel good” chemical. When serotonin is stable in the brain, we typically feel more focused, emotionally stable, happier and calmer. Here is an interesting fact: Approximately 95% of your serotonin is manufactured in your gut!

While we all are working very hard at recovering from the COVID pandemic, we can help ourselves by feeding our guts foods that can help us during this time. Here are two lists of foods that you may want to consider. First is a list of foods to have more frequently and the second is a list of foods to have less frequently. By feeding our gut with nutrient rich foods, that are less processed, we are helping ourselves feel more focused, calm, happier and emotionally stable.

Foods to include more frequently:

  • Oatmeal, onions, greens, berries, bananas, legumes, walnuts, almonds, whole grains, yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, miso, kombucha and tempeh.

Foods to include less frequently:

  • Red meat, fried foods, processed foods, processed sugar rich foods, high sodium foods and foods high in animal fat.

By making small changes in your diet, you can begin to improve the communication between the ENS and the CNS. This improved communication can help with feelings of depression, anxiety and stress.


Key Takeaways

  • Our gut and our brain talk to each other.

  • What we feed our gut can have either a more negative or more positive effect on the conversation.

  • Having a healthy gut can help us in our recovery from the COVID pandemic.

Best Practices

  • Pay closer attention to what you eat.

  • Try to include more of the foods that have a positive effect on our guts.

  • Appreciating the health benefits of our diet..

Things to Limit

  • Eating from the vending machine daily.

  • Gabbing a pastry every morning for breakfast.

  • Filling up the candy dish, at work, every time it is empty.


Quote of the Week

“There is a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen.”

~ Rumi


Our gut is important to our overall physical and mental health. The microbiome (a group of bacteria along with others such as viruses) in our gut provides us with many health benefits, especially if we feed it well. On the other hand, if we aren’t paying attention to what we are eating, it may lead us to feelings of depression, anxiety and ill health. For more information on the microbiome of the gut, here is a great place to start learning more:

Be well,

The paraDocs

Check our Welcome Greeting on YouTube

The paraDocs are Dr. Francis L. Battisti, PhD, Psychotherapist, Distinguished Psychology Professor and former Executive V.P and Chief Academic Officer and Dr. Helen E. Battisti PhD, RDN, CDN, Chief Nutrition Officer, at SpNOD, Health Promotion Specialist, Research and Clinical Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and former Assistant Professor.

We have developed "The ZONE", because that is exactly where you want to be during this pandemic. A place of focused attention to doing exactly what needs to be done to get you to where you need to be. The purpose of The Zone is to provide a nationally distributed weekly mental-health and nutrition tip-sheet during times of change.

If you would like to get copies of The ZONE that you may have missed or if you know someone that would like to start receiving The ZONE, please signup today... It's free and you can unsubscribe anytime.

Permission is given to share with others.

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