Spring Clean Your Gut, Better Your Brain
Your home is not the only thing that needs some spring cleaning… your body does, too! Damage or disruption to the gut can cause changes in the brain leading to lower mood, difficulty concentrating, and cognitive difficulties. Whether you want to unlock improved memory and thinking or obtain better focus and mood, the key is in the health of your gut.
So, what can you do to support gut health? How about a little spring cleaning?!
- Eliminate damaging foods like refined carbohydrates, sugars, and artificial sweeteners which alter the microbiome and increase inflammation.
- Eat foods rich in fiber like leafy greens and other vegetables, legumes, beans, whole fruits, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Fiber acts as a prebiotic feeding the beneficial bacteria in the gut.
- Include fermented foods which contain probiotics like miso, kombucha, real sauerkraut, and kimchi.
- Explore food sensitivities and “trigger foods” that can damage the gut lining and cause an immune reaction. Food sensitivities often go unnoticed because symptoms greatly vary from migraines to brain fog and loose stools. We suggest food sensitivity testing that looks beyond IgG reactions, such as MRT (Mediator Release Testing).
- Incorporate stress management into your daily routine. Stress can weaken the intestinal barrier, impact digestion, alter what nutrients are absorbed, and inhibit signals to the Vagus Nerve. Exercise, deep breathing, meditation, and journaling are just a few ways to manage stressors.
Although it may not be obvious, the health of the gut and brain are connected in many ways. If you’ve ever felt “butterflies” in your stomach when you are excited, or GI upset during stressful times, you’ve experienced this connection. The gut and brain communicate back and forth through both physical and biochemical ways that include:
- The Vagus Nerve: This “wandering nerve” runs from the brain stem to the colon and serves as the primary information connection. This connection is bidirectional, meaning the brain talks to the gut, and the gut talks to the brain.
- The Enteric Nervous System: The ENS, nicknamed the ‘second brain’, is made up of more than 100 million neurons that secrete key neurotransmitters, like 90% of the body’s ‘feel-good chemical’, serotonin.
- The microbiome is home to trillions of good flora (beneficial bacteria and other helpful microbes) that communicate with the immune system, brain, and gut.
At Kemper Cognitive Wellness, we believe you can push back against Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Whether you are newly diagnosed or are just looking to prevent, there are many things you can do to decrease your risk, optimize your brain, and even slow cognitive decline. If you want to learn more about your individual risk factors or would like to explore the testing we have available at Kemper Cognitive Wellness, give our office a call at 216-337-1400 or visit our website: kemperwellness.com
-Nikki Gould, RDN, CLT, Nutritionist at Kemper Cognitive Wellness
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Thank you so much for the loving care and compassion you showed to our mother and to us during her stay and death. We know, she was not the most compliant person, buy you showed her the same loving care no matter what. We were blessed to have her in your care. You are truly all angels. Thank you again!
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Thanks to the staff for your ongoing care of my Dad. Your patience, kindness and caring for Dad help my Mom and I rest easy knowing he is in good hands at all times. Thanks for everything you do for him!
Every time my family visits each week for their porch visit mom looks FABULOUS! You and your whole organization really understand what to do with the residents and I have seen an amazing change. You are a blessing to our family.
Thank you also for the very touching and beautiful memorial service and luncheon honoring Mom and Dad. It meant a lot to us to have all of you share your remembrances of them.
Marianne & family
We greatly appreciate all that you have done for my Dad and for us. Your compassion, dedication, and gentle ways were a tremendous help. No one ever said to us, “It will be okay,” instead you said “We’ll help you.”
Alzheimer’s and dementia are formidable foes and they strip the individuals stricken of all of their dignity, yet you and your staff work diligently to reinstate the dignity and you do it quite successfully.
This is to thank you and all the Kemper staff who organized the memorial service last Friday. The content was perfectly appropriate and many of the participants expressed compliments to the kitchen staff for the great luncheon.