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Why is the gut known as the "second brain"?

Your gut and brain are more intricately connected and interdependent than you think.

Do you know that your gut and brain are intricately connected and interdependent systems?

Here's a summary of the gut-brain connection in this article by Healthline:
  • The 500 million neurons in your gut are connected to the brain through nerves — one of which is the vagus nerve. Signals are bidirectional: You might feel discomfort in your gut when you're stressed, while irritation to the gastrointestinal system can also impact mood!
  • A significant portion of neurotransmitters like serotonin (also known as the happy chemical) are made in the gut.
  • Your gut microbes are also responsible for other chemicals that impact the brain, for example, those involved in forming the blood-brain barrier which protects the central nervous system from toxins.
  • A healthy gut is crucial for a healthy immune system. When your gut health is impaired, it can lead to inflammation which is in turn linked to neurological disorders like Alzheimer's.

So what does this mean?

Although often overlooked, it's clear that taking care of our gut is more important than we know. One way we can do so is by consuming foods rich in beneficial bacteria — this includes fermented foods like kimchi which are nutrient-dense, full of probiotics and fiber.

Our gut health is interconnected with numerous aspects of our mental and physical wellbeing. A little more intention with what we eat can go a long way!

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