The Guts of Feeling

in Brain

Everyone knows that the brain is for thinking and interpreting our feelings and our world. It's sort of like the boss, the mastermind that looks after things. People think of it as the hub of our mental abilities and connects to our spinal cord and thus our nervous system. What is not so obvious, but has been proven by scientists, is the fact that there are nearly one hundred million nerve cells in that 26 foot long tube called your gut. That is approximately the same number of nerve cells that are in the spinal cord.

Nerves give us the capacity to feel, among other things, so when one-half of all of your nerve cells are in your gut, you tend to get "gut feelings" about things. Of the functions of the nervous system, notably, thinking, feeling, doing and processing, the gut seems to be responsible for feeling and emotional processing and expression. In is no accident that the small intestine looks like a brain and when you add up all the nerve cells in the length of the gut, there are more nerve cells in the entire digestive system than there are in the peripheral nervous system, which is responsible for touching and feeling.

New research is showing that it is the gut that influences whether we are happy or sad and processes the majority of our feelings of mental well-being, much more so than the brain. Because the gut processes our food, it stands to reason that it should also process our feelings and emotions. That's why when you get nervous you get butterflies in your stomach or intestinal cramps. It is also why millions of people who are on brain targeting antidepressants get gastro-intestinal upsets. There are literally two brains - one in your head and the other in your gut and they are so interconnected that when one gets upset, the other one does too.

This second brain can actually run independently of the first brain, remembering past actions, events and experiences to produce a gut feeling that can and will influence your actions. It does this through a complex network of messenger proteins, neurotransmitters and neurons that are embedded in the tissue lining the gut. And if your gut is clogged or upset by what you've put in it, you won't be able to think, period.

To get the most of your thinking and feeling capacities, it is so important to watch what you put down the hatch. The first thing that happens is that you taste and smell whatever goes in to your mouth and that either motivates you to have more or repels you from ever trying it again. The 'taste nice' sensation has changed our eating habits to a more refined and sugar loaded diet with more fat and less fiber. There are young people in their 20's who have short term memory problems. Could it be that what they eat and drink is clouding their ability to utilize their gut feelings and to think and remember efficiently?

Certain foods are brain food so you would be wise to include them in your diet, so that no matter which brain is functioning at the moment you can optimize both of them efficiently.

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E. Jean Perrins has 1 articles online

Jean Perrins is a retired nurse and an alkaline, ionized water specialist. She has been field testing the effects of structured water on health in her clinic with sometimes astounding results. It is clear that water has an affect on health that we, in the West are just beginning to understand.

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The Guts of Feeling

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This article was published on 2010/03/30