Mention you have a "gut feeling" about something, & everybody will know what you mean. For centuries language has honoured the role of the gut in processing feelings & "intuition". "Butterflies in the stomach", "stomach churning" & "gut instinct" are all familiar phrases.
In the chakra system the solar plexus chakra relates to the gut & is the energy centre of feelings, processing raw emotions. Stress, unhappiness, anger & fear all go straight to the gut. No wonder the gut in now being referred to as the "second brain".
The vagus nerve connects the brain stem directly to the stomach, ensuring rapid relay of information between the two organs. The stomach & intestines are richly supplied with millions of nerve cells, produce the vast majority of our smiley happy serotonin, & our gut flora comprise about 80% of our immunity. So keeping your gut in tip top condition is a great way to contribute to your overall health & wellbeing.
At birth, & during our formative months, the gut becomes populated with a wide & balanced range of beneficial bacteria. However, these can be disrupted by chlorinated or fluoridated water, antibiotics consumed directly or via secondary ingestion from foods, chemical pesticides & herbicides, & processed foods containing too much sugar & too few nutrients.
All these factors can upset the delicate harmony of the gut flora, letting the bad boys take over. And once they've gatecrashed your gut they'll invite all their mates, party non stop & leave you to clear up the mess. So if your gut is host to unwelcome & troublesome guests, then it's time to send in the bouncers.
Before the invention of fridges excess food had to be preserved to prevent spoilage, & natural fermentation was one of the methods used. Traditionally fermented foods include sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, yoghurt, lassi & natto, & the bacteria & yeasts they contain help to keep the bad boys in their place.
Drinking kefir is an ideal way to help restore the balance. Kefir grains are a symbiotic culture of yeasts & bacteria in a polysaccharide matrix, & can be fermented in either milk or sugar water, depending on their type.
These little beauties are water kefir grains, happily digesting organic sugar with a bit of lemon for added zing. In return, they'll produce numerous strains of lactic acid bacteria, the "lactobacillus" you see on the label of probiotic yoghurts, plus other beneficial bacteria & yeasts. A few days in a warm kitchen will unlock their magic & produce a probiotic drink with real clout.
Those bad boys won't know what's hit them!