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The Second Brain: Why We Should Invest in The Gut

The brain works wonders. It is the centerpiece that controls thought, memory, emotion, touch, motor skills, vision, breathing, temperature, hunger, and every process that regulates our body. For authors, it is where their imagination and creativity lie, two ingredients of good literature. It is specifically located in their frontal cortex where the hub or center of creativity is located as it seems to be responsible for many of the functions that contribute to creative thinking. But did you know that our gut is scientifically considered to be our second brain?

Our gut is our second brain, scientists claim. This is because the enteric nervous system relies on the same type of neurons and neurotransmitters that are found in the central nervous system. The enteric nervous system is a network of nerves, neurons, and neurotransmitters that extend along the entire digestive tract - from the esophagus, through the stomach and intestines, and down the anus. The important message we can derive from this is that since our gut is our second brain, it must be taken care of in order for an author’s creativity and imagination to function.

Here are some health tips to care for our gut:

Eat a Healthy Diet

A combination of different foods including fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains is a must when eating healthy. An adult must at least eat 400 g or five portions of fruits and vegetables per day. By eating healthy, a person can reduce the chances of malnutrition and non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer which are top lists for causes of mortality in humans.

Consume Less Salt

Many people are consuming twice as much salt as the recommended amount of sodium. People who incorporate too much salt will likely suffer from hypertension or high blood pressure. Hypertension can increase a person’s risk for heart disease and stroke. A healthy amount of sodium intake is 5 grams per day, equivalent to about one teaspoon. If you are having a hard time limiting intake, just reduce your soy sauce, fish sauce, and other high-sodium condiments from your meal table.

Consume Less Sugar

A person taking excessive amounts of sugar increases their risk of tooth decay and unhealthy weight gain. The intake of free sugars should be reduced to less than 10% of total energy intake, an equivalent to 50 grams or about 12 teaspoons for an adult.

Reduce Harmful Fat Consumption

Prevent unhealthy weight gain by consuming fats less than 30% of your total energy intake. The World Health Organization recommends reducing saturated fats to less than 10%, trans-fats to less than 1% of total energy intake. WHO advises people to replace both saturated and trans-fats with unsaturated fats.

While gut care is important, these are additional things to do in order to lead a healthy lifestyle: avoid harmful use of alcohol, avoid cigarette smoking, exercise daily, monitor blood pressure, getting vaccinated, covering the mouth when coughing and sneezing, drink safe water and clean hands properly.

While not everything an author does in order to be successful in his/her craft depend on creativity and imagination (as grit and perseverance are unique to each individual), however, one should not neglect the importance of taking care of both brains: the one located in the head and the one located in the gut.

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