We often think of the gut-brain connection as some kind of extended metaphor which bridges the gap between our physical bodies and our mental state. It is easy to forget that we can truly see this connection as something active and present. This invisible realm linking the mind and body has real benefits that only in recent times we have recognised: A healthy gut allows for a healthy mind.
In this post, we explore the true extent of the gut-brain connection through uncovering the impact of digestive health on one’s mental health. Recently, research has exploded in this field, with numerous nutritionists, academic researchers and even doctors altering their approach to mental health to give a far greater emphasis on the physical relationship, approached through the digestive system. It doesn’t stop here. After uncovering the link between digestive health and mental health, we explore the true super-powers of Aloe Vera within this matter.
The Gut-Brain Connection
The true link between the state of our digestive health and our mental health is only becoming more potent as scientific research in this field expands. If we feed our body with toxins or don’t feed it with enough essential nutrients, we cannot expect our mind or sense of being to feel overly positive. Although this sounds quite intuitive, it is surprising at how recent a phenomenon this approach is.
At its core, this comes down to the real power and influence of our digestive system. The gut is not only at the centre of our bodies, but at the centre of our functioning. Producing more than 20 hormones, holding thousands of different species of bacteria, and having its own nervous-system, the gut is complex and rivals our brains in intricacy and standing to the overall functioning of our bodies. (1)
A troubled intestine can send signals to the brain, in the same way that a troubled brain can send signals to the gut (Harvard Medical School). Therefore, the intestinal distress that an individual experiences can be the cause OR product of anxiety, stress or depression (2).
Largely, this is to do with the bacteria living within our gut and our intestinal tract. Many of us without necessarily being aware, are suffering the physical and mental impact of bad gut flora fostering through our digestive systems. These are what can cause or present themselves in the form of intestinal discomfort and other bowel difficulties. This bad bacteria in turn can be directly linked to depression and anxiety. Which is the cause and which is the product is difficult to determine. What we do know, is that this chain can be broken. Whether gut health is the cause or product of difficulties in mental health, we know that improving gut health can lead to a huge relief in mental health symptoms and a healthy gut can allow for a healthy mind.
This is where Aloe Vera can help!
Our very own nutritionist Libby Limon expertly explains the role of Aloe:
“Aloe Vera also contains fibres that feed our beneficial gut flora, allowing them to populate and thrive, working against any dysbiosis that may be occurring. Taking Aloe Vera orally every day, can be a vital nutritional support and defence for your digestion, rebalancing it to healthy state where food intolerances and digestion symptoms become a thing of the past.” (3).
Well, this is where it all gets really interesting! It is simply amazing that one plant can have such an impact on our gut health, that it can cause mental transformation and mood improvements.
On a more indirect level, these effects of the consumption of Aloe can lead to less fatigue, higher levels of cognition, as well as an ability to experience a greater stability of emotions. The high polysaccharide content and its prebiotic nature allows supreme absorption of nutrients and minerals from what we consume. Our bodies become more resilient and have a steadier balance of hormones over time. This in turn will contribute to a stronger, stable and healthier mind. (4)
The wider picture
As you can see, we cannot have enough Aloe! Diet is an extremely important factor in overall well-being. If we allow our gut health to flourish, and feed our immune system with all the good bacteria it needs, we create an open space in our bodies for a flourishing connection between the body and mind. A healthy gut allows for a healthy mind.
It does not just end here though. This is what we must strive for – creating the best space for our bodies to flourish. This does not guarantee mental stability. It is important to mention how vital it is to focus on other areas too. Physical exercise, emotional openness, mindfulness and support networks are all vital in keeping that balance healthy. It is great to allow yourself to have the foundations for a healthy body & mind, through a selective diet and intentionality, but don’t let it end there.
See our blog post on wellness wisdom for tips and insights into our recommendations for the most effective living.
So is the Mind- Body connection really just a metaphor?
We think not.
Aloe is a vital ingredient for health and well-being and has been shown to greatly improve digestive health, allowing for a flourishing mind. Ancient Egyptians referred to it as the Plant of Immortality yet it has been somewhat disregarded in modern society. Take note of the physical benefits, the mental benefits and the link between the two. Most importantly, remember to #AloeEveryday