Combining cutting-edge neuroscience with the latest discoveries on the human microbiome, a practical guide in the tradition of The Second Brain, and The Good Gut that conclusively demonstrates the inextricable, biological link between mind and the digestive system.
We have all experienced the connection between our mind and our gut—the decision we made because it “felt right”; the butterflies in our stomach before a big meeting; the anxious stomach rumbling we get when we’re stressed out. While the dialogue between the gut and the brain has been recognized by ancient healing traditions, including Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, Western medicine has by and large failed to appreciate the complexity of how the brain, gut, and more recently, the gut microbiota—the microorganisms that live inside our digestive tract—communicate with one another. In The Mind-Gut Connection, Dr. Emeran Mayer, professor of medicine and executive director of the UCLA Center for Neurobiology of Stress, offers a revolutionary and provocative look at this developing science, teaching us how to harness the power of the mind-gut connection to take charge of our health and listen to the innate wisdom of our bodies.
My Thoughts on The Mind-Gut Connection:
I know … two posts in one day. What is the world coming to?
(No need to answer. I kind of hate thinking about what the world is coming to these days.)
So I read The Mind-Gut Connection because Trish at TLC Book Tours sent me the description and it looked like something I’d be interested in. And while I’ve been wrong before (and oh, have I ever been wrong before!) I was right about this one.
If you’re interested in that colony of bacteria that resides in your gut and how it affects your life, The Mind-Gut Connection is the read for you.
What colony of bacteria, you ask?
If you put all your gut microbes together and shaped them into an organ, it would weigh between 2 and 6 pounds–on par with the brain, which weighs in at 2.6 pounds.
This “forgotten organ” is quite incredible, and The Mind-Gut Connection goes into detail about exactly why it’s so incredible.
In addition to references to lots of scientific studies that back up how these microbes in our gut affect our brain, this book also has a bit of a holistic feel to it. There’s an entire chapter on intuitive decision-making that makes you want to recognize the next time you’re relying on your intuitions so you can “go with your gut”. And I wished the author had talked a bit more about working with dreams (although that doesn’t have much to do with your gut microbes. But still: interesting!)
Science has shown that chronic stress has a very detrimental effect on the interaction between your gut bacteria and your brain, and I found myself wishing science would also spend a bit more time on exploring the effect positive emotions have on this interaction as well. I mean, it would be good to have some solid, scientific evidence pointing to what happens when we experience positive emotions.
After reading all about how the microbiome in our gut affects our brain, I was very happy to read the final section on how to optimize your brain-gut health. I was a little disappointed, though, to learn it’s very difficult to actually change your gut microbial diversity. But still, there’s more than enough reason to continue with the probiotics and fermented foods.
And I’m definitely leaning toward a Mediterranean diet now, big-time. Veggies, here I come!