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Your Gut is a Key Indicator of Health

Doctors now know that gut health is the key to overall health and even wellness. The discovery of the gut microbiota’s effect on human health has completely revolutionized how we understand diseases. 

Our gut health is largely determined by the composition of the gut microbiota. The microbiota is defined as a collection of microbes, over a trillion microbes actually, which live in our large intestine, rent free! These microbes break down undigested foods, such as fiber, and turn them into fuel for our bodies. They can also help defend against viruses (COVID, who 😉), aid in the absorption of micronutrients and minerals, and even produce hormones. The gut microbiota is home to 150x more genes than the entire human genome and represents 80% of our immune system. It is so substantial that modern scientists and doctors now consider it to be a vital organ! Well, knowing all of this, how could we live without it?

The connection of our microbiota to our health is seen through the quality and composition of the gut microbes. Decreases or abnormalities in microbial diversity have been reported with several inflammatory diseases, including colon cancer, depression, diabetes and cholesterol. These associations indicate that the health of our gut can influence or even contribute to the development of chronic diseases.

 

Healthy gut = Healthy Mind

Perhaps one of the most researched aspects of gut health is its relationship to mental health. We've all experienced the “butterflies in the stomach” feeling before a big life event and have probably used the term “gut-wrenching” before to describe how we’re feeling. Well, just as our gut feeling had it, scientists speculate that our gut and brain are in direct communication through the “gut-brain axis”.  

You may be thinking what is the gut-brain axis, and how does it connect the brain and gut? Well, our brain and gut directly communicate through various channels such as the microbiota, the nervous system and the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis. 

The brain sends signals to the gut via the sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system and the parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system. The balance of signals from these systems can affect how quickly food moves through our digestive system, the absorption of nutrients, secretion of digestive juices and the level of inflammation in our gut.

Meanwhile, the gut houses its own nervous system, the enteric nervous system (ENS), which is home to over 100 million nerve cells. The ENS communicates directly with the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. It sends information to indicate when the stomach is bloated, or if infection is present. These communications show that the gut and brain “talk” in both directions! 

Another way that our gut and brain communicate is through the microbiota. The microbes in our gut play a key role in creatingdopamine and serotonin, which are key messenger chemicals that dictate our mood. 

Serotonin is known as the “feel good” or “happy” hormone, and more than 90% of it is synthesized in the gut! Imbalances of serotonin are associated with psychiatric conditions like anxiety and depression

Dopamine is known as our “reward” hormone and is associated with positive feelings and reinforcement that motivate us to continue tasks or activities. Dopamine levels are closely associated with mental health conditions. In fact, low levels have been linked to Depression, Parkinson’s disease and Schizophrenia

Because of this strong gut-brain connection, stress, anxiety, fear, depression and anger can all affect the gut. These triggers can speed up or slow down the movements of the digestive system and the food within it, make it overly sensitive to bloating and pain, activate the immune system, increase inflammation in the gut and even change the composition of the gut microbiota. The same has proven to be true in the other direction, when the digestive system is upset, it can send back messages that trigger mood changes.

Using that same logic, when your gut is happy, it can keep you in better mental spirits. And when your mind is happy, it can help keep your gut happy!

Through this recent influx of important information about gut health, more interest and research than ever before has been directed towards better understanding the gut’s relationship to health, physiology and disease.

 

Nurture your mind, through feeding your gut

Given this strong gut-brain connection, mind-body tools such as meditation, breathing exercises, yoga and mindfulness can improve GI symptoms and mood while decreasing anxiety. 

We can also promote good gut health by ensuring our gut is working smoothly. One of the best ways to achieve good gut health is through maintaining an abundant and diverse gut microbiota. Emerging evidence shows a strong influence of both diet and gut microbiota on emotional behaviour and brain processes, and because the gut microbiota is strongly affected by diet, those two factors are linked. Meaning, when we fuel our bodies with the right food, we can nurture our gut and mind! 

The “western” diet, consisting of sweet and fatty foods, refined sugars, processed foods, red meat, and low fruit and vegetable intake, is associated with higher depression and anxiety. On the flip side, studies show less depression/anxiety in those who follow a “healthy” diet, packed with loads of fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and pulses. These effects may be attributed back to our gut microbiota.

The Mediterranean diet has proven to reduce amounts of “bad” bacteria in our gut that trigger inflammation, while increasing “good” bacteria which make energy to fuel the body. Plant-based diets have been shown to have the same effects on bacteria, while decreasing gut inflammation. Many of these effects are likely seen due to the fiber found in fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. Fibre essentially acts as food for our gut, keeping it healthy and running smoothly.

Another nutrient that can affect our gut and mind is omega-3 fatty acids. Studies show that omega-3 supplementation can positively affect mood. Also, people with depression are clinically more likely to have lower levels of omega-3’s in their cells, supporting the notion that omega-3 levels can affect depression. While it is likely that omega 3 can directly affect mood, they also decrease inflammation in the gut, which we now know is directly related to our mood.

So, to sum it up, to keep your gut and mind happy, some of the best ways to change your diet is through adding more fiber, and omega 3 fats. Holy Crap cereals, with a base formulation of chia seeds, hulled hemp hearts and buckwheat, was formulated to create a happy gut, and a happy mind.

The chia seeds, hulled hemp hearts and buckwheat in all Holy Crap cereals are packed with prebiotic fiber, which feed and nourish the “good” microbes in our gut. Also, these Superseeds and oats (found in Maple & Oats) are a great source of soluble fiber, which slows digestion and promotes regularity and laxation. Chia seeds and hulled hemp seeds also provide an optimal level of omega 3 fats, helping to keep inflammation low, and your mind and gut at ease.

All ingredients in Holy Crap cereals are FODMAP-friendly (as per MONASH databases) so friends with IBS can eat with ease! Don’t believe it, well, the proof is in the poop!

 

The Proof is in the Poop

Money can’t buy you happiness, but it sure can buy you an evidence-based, superfood cereal that feeds both your gut and your mood! For us, the effects of Holy Crap cereals are best described by our customers. Peep these reviews 👀 

 

“Incredible Cereal” by Jennifer K

I have had the blessing of having "Holy Crap" Cereal as my breakfast every morning, and I have noticed an immense boost in my overall health! The health benefits are incredible and on top of the cereal being so healthy, it also tastes fantastic! I highly recommend "Holy Crap" Cereal to anyone who is looking for a vegan, healthy, tasty breakfast to try it! I have been eating this wonderful cereal every day for about half a year and am madly in love with it! I always look forward to this healthy breakfast every morning and it puts a smile on my face knowing I am putting healthy ingredients in my body with it also tasting fantastic”

“Thank you” by Dr. Raza

“Just a quick note to thank you so much for the package of Holy Crap products; it was such a nice surprise at the end of a long clinic day. I do indeed recommend it to many of my patients (I'm quite surprised as to how you got that news!). My own health has benefitted so much from these products and I am so grateful to all of you for that.” 

“Body” by Nini U

“ OMG ! ! ! ! Results ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !  “

“Love the cereal, love this subscription” by Laura A

“We LOVE this cereal. I started eating it when it first came out (so long ago!) but stopped eating for some unknown reason. We rediscovered Holy Crap about a year ago when we were looking for a good tasting, low sugar, high protein, high omega-3 food to eat before workouts and as a bedtime snack. We now eat it every day and it fuels us for whatever we need to do, including a high-energy workout with the personal trainer. It is also good for lunch, supper, and bedtime snack. The subscription service is GREAT because we can get the flavours of cereal our local stores do not carry. And, they just show up at the house when we need them. Thank you. Really, thank you.” 

Try Holy Crap cereals to understand what everyone’s buzzing about, and get those good gut feelings for yourself!