The Brain-Fiber Factor

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A plant-based diet is essential in building up your microbiome, YOUR GUT. Plants contain fiber- this is a part of the plant that does not get digested. Yes, you do not absorb or digest fiber, but instead your friendly and unfriendly gut bacteria munch on the fiber for fuel. When the bacteria break down that fiber, it creates chemical compounds that are literally sent to your brain and into your bloodstream. These chemical compounds are signals sent both from the brain to the gut and back up from the gut to the brain. The main driver of this gut function highway, referred to as the parasympathetic nervous system, which is part of your “automatic” autonomic nervous system, is called the Vagus Nerve. 

The most important function of the vagus nerve is communicating information of the inner organs, such as gut, liver, heart, and lungs to the brain. “This suggests that the inner organs are major sources of sensory information to the brain. The gut has the largest surface toward the outer world and might, therefore, be a particularly important sensory organ,” Vagus Nerve as Modulator of the Brain–Gut Axis in Psychiatric and Inflammatory Disorders” (nih.gov). 

With a focus on foods high in fiber, and those foods composed of butyrate, a short chain fatty acid, helps to build up your microbiome and decrease inflammation in your gut. Overall is combo of vagal nerve nutrients and short chain fatty acid consumption, is the ultimate gut health success for anyone trying to take control over their overall gut health and immunity. Butyrate also acts as a defense barrier to the gut lining, like fiber, giving your gut the protection, it needs against foreign invaders. It also aids in intestinal motility. There are other short chain fatty acids (SCFA) but butyrate is a well- documented SCFA with a multitude of healthy gut beneficial aspects. Potential beneficial effects of butyrate in intestinal and extraintestinal diseases (nih.gov).

How do you increase fiber? Consider these foods:

Beans (Why and how should I soak beans?)

Lentils

Broccoli

Berries

Avocados

Apples

How do you support your vagus nerve? Consider foods high in tryptophan:

Spinach

Seeds

Nuts

Bananas

Poultry

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