The Mind-Brain-Gut Connection
The brain is the physical organ that characterises the mind. Both are synonymous. The brain is a tangible neural system. The mind is an elusive virtual field which is a function of the brain. When we are studying the mind-brain connection, you have to look at feeding and looking after the brain. Therefore it is natural that you can’t divorce eating from the mind-brain connection. Hence, it is important to understand the gut as well. The gut and brain are also connected through neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters produced in the brain regulate emotions and feelings.
The intestine can send signals to the brain, in the same way, the brain can send signals to the gut. Therefore, a person who has depression, anxiety, and stress finds it difficult, or do not have the appetite, to eat because the brain and the gastrointestinal (GI) system are very well connected.
Mind specialist has found out that as you detox your body, you also need to detox your mind, brain, memory. Studies have found that 80% of what you are thinking at the moment, determines the nutritional benefits of every mouthful of food you put in your body. So your mindset in the moment of food consumption determines how much nutritional benefits you gain from that food. Thus, you may be eating a super healthy organic food, but you may be very irritated about something, you are losing about 80% of the nutritional benefits the food offers because of the state of your mind at that moment (Dr. Caroline Leaf). Your mind drives your digestive system also, so you need to get your mind involved in food consumption.
The gut-brain connection is a two-way communication which is controlled by your thoughts and saturated with emotions. What you put in your gut affects your mind and what you put in your mind affects your gut. 95% of serotonin and 50% of dopamine (a neurotransmitter associated with the brain’s pleasure and reward system) are produced in the gut. Healthy gut bacteria produce benzodiazepine-like substances that calm the mind.
Thoughts, emotions, and choices affect digestion. Research shows that increased thinking and emotional awareness improves food choices and eating habit and makes it more effective. There is a great connection between your gut and the mind. It tells your digestive system the state that you are. The Pancreas secretes twenty different emotionally laden peptides (response to your emotion) that tell us when we are full and help in digestion.
Your digestive system has many parts to it, and your mind in connection with the brain drives these parts of the digestive system. Research shows that 2 out of 3 people gain weight back after a diet because 90% of them focus on the physical aspects like diet and exercise without involving their mind, one of the most important factors when it comes to weight loss and healthy eating. Until you bring in the mind, you are not going to get the weight off.
Mindfully considering the emotional components of eating is the best way to keep weight off for a long time and stay healthy.
Read more in Dr Caroline Leaf’s book, “Eat and Think Yourself Smart“