by Christopher Peacock, LAc, MS

The Gut-Brain Connection: How to Keep Your Gut Flora Healthy

Health fads – love ‘em or hate ‘em, they’re everywhere. Sometimes they can be beneficial and sometimes they can be straight up dangerous. With seemingly reliable articles popping up all over our social media feeds and news sources, it’s become more and more difficult to discern health news from fake fads. So how do we start to sift through the good and the bad? Our suggestion would be to do some digging and find out if this is this a brand new concept without much science behind it or if it’s an old health trick, dressed up to look shiny and new.

One hot topic we’ve seen more of lately is the Gut-Brain Connection. This has certainly gotten the attention of Chinese medicine practitioners because the importance of gut health has been a discussion for literally thousands of years.

An imbalance of intestinal flora can affect our physical health, as well as contribute to anxiety and depression. That’s why, from a Chinese medicine perspective, we try to emphasize the importance of having a healthy gut.

That being said, a healthy gut flora can be harder to maintain than it used to be. The triple threat of broad-spectrum antibiotics, food pasteurization and a modern diet with a reliance on processed foods, has taken a significant toll.

So when it comes to maintaining a healthy intestinal flora, it’s important to be proactive and take specific steps to combat a lifetime of exposure to antibiotics (both in foods and medicine) as well as exposure to the kinds of processed foods that deplete healthy bacteria.

One of the ways you can create a happy and healthy gut flora is by including both prebiotics and probiotics into our daily routine. Prebiotics are food ingredients that stimulate the growth of healthy intestinal bacteria. They differ to probiotics, which introduce new healthy bacteria to the gut. Prebiotics are found naturally in bananas, as well as in Jerusalem artichokes, oats, onions, asparagus and chicory root. That being said, it’s quite hard to get an effective dose through food alone, so there are prebiotic pills on the market and it’s a good idea to combine a prebiotic with a probiotic to give fuel and sustenance to the beneficial flora as you repopulate your gut.

When picking out a probiotic, we recommend finding one that needs to be refrigerated. You can usually find them at health food stores, but if you happen to be in the neighborhood we sell one that we absolutely love!

In addition to a good probiotic, the practitioners at Yinova are here to help. Together, we have decades of experience providing guidance to patients who want to maintain or correct digestive issues. We take the time to understand your unique needs and then develop a treatment plan, with tangible goals. By carefully tailoring the treatment to the individual, we’re able help every patient take their health in hand.