Do you beat yourself up for caving into bad food cravings? Do you blame yourself for lacking will power? Understanding why you have those annoying cravings for sugar, fat, salt and so on, may be just how you can curb them!
In 2008, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) formed the Human Microbiome Project (HMP). Microbiome is defined as “the collection of microbes or microorganisms that inhabit an environment, creating a ‘mini-ecostystem.’”1
The human microbiome, located in the gut, is made up of trillions of bacteria that send messages to the brain. This communication is known as the “brain-gut connection.” Because approximately 70 to 80 percent of the body’s immune tissue is located within the digestive system, boosting your immune system really requires a healthy gut.2
The good news is that you can actually help manage your microbiome and influence the brain-gut connection as well as strengthen your immune system. You can increase the good gut bacteria that sends the brain positive messages and decrease the bad bacteria that causes bad food cravings. In this way, “you are what you eat.”
How to manifest a positive brain-gut connection is relatively simple, but the challenge is getting started. Since good bacteria thrives on fiber and nutrient-dense food, eating that type of food consistently is the key to a healthy brain-gut connection. Good bacteria feeds on fibrous food, digests it and releases a gas up to the brain, telling it that the body is well nourished. When the brain is told that the body is well nourished, it doesn’t think there’s a need to fill in the gaps created by a lack of nutrition. It’s a healthy cycle where nutrient-dense food that is fibrous creates more good bacteria.
On the other hand, bad food leaves nutritional gaps. The gaps are what lead to those unhealthy cravings. Sugar and processed foods contain empty calories rather than useful nutrients and the bad bacteria feeds off of it! In other words, when you avoid foods that generate negative messages from the gut to the brain, you’ll minimize cravings.
Fiber does more than curb cravings. It also helps your mood. The Human Microbiome Project has shown that serotonin, the “feel-good” chemical the body generates, is actually created in the gut, not the brain. More fiber and nutrient-dense food in the gut therefore influences our emotional health as well as our physical well being.
You may be surprised how quickly a healthy gut helps the brain minimize unhealthy cravings and also helps improve your overall health. If you currently don’t eat lots of fibrous foods, integrate them into your daily regimen slowly so that your body has time to adjust. Incorporate it into each meal or snack. The fiber will give a sense of fullness to help you cut back on sugar and processed food.
- Eat leafy greens, asparagus, any type of bean and root vegetables.
- Try not to peel apples and pears. Well-scrubbed potato and carrot skins are also fibrous and edible.
- Do you throw away stems? For example, broccoli stems are full of healthy fiber and taste great in soups and stir-fries. The same is true of kale and spinach stems.
- Add variety to your diet. Be adventuresome and try vegetables you haven’t had. Or, try new ways of preparing your favorites. Many vegetables are delicious raw while others are easily steamed or sautéed.
- Be generous in your use of garlic, onions, herbs and spices. They are also sources of fiber and add so much flavor.
The happier your microbiome, the fewer bad food cravings there’ll be. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but the important thing is to get started in helping your gut converse positively with your brain! Best of all, you will discover how delicious these nutrient-dense and fibrous foods are!
To help jumpstart your microbiome, take Kenzen® Digestion Complex 4-20 to assist in processing the additional fiber you eat. Containing a combination of ingredients that tackles fats, proteins, carbohydrates and fiber, Kenzen® Digestion Complex 4-20 supports the assimilation of all types of nutrients.* And to help your circulatory and immune systems work optimally with your gut, take Kenzen® Immunity and Kenzen® Lactoferrin 2.0!
* This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.