The Gut-brain Axis: A Hidden Key To Success For Business Leaders
In the fast-paced world of business, it’s easy to think that long hours, skipped meals, and minimal sleep will help you achieve your goals. However, research reveals that the secret to success lies in a healthy gut, optimal nutrition, and restful sleep. The gut-brain axis, a powerful connection between our digestive system and our brain, holds the key to unlocking productivity, creativity, and performance.
The gut microbiome, home to trillions of bacteria, fungi, and viruses, plays a critical role in all aspects of our physical and mental health.
It helps digest food, produces essential nutrients, and protects us from harmful pathogens. However, when factors such as poor diet, stress, or lack of sleep disturb the gut microbiome’s balance, it can lead to health problems, including inflammation, chronic diseases, and mental health issues.
Unlocking Business Success: Prioritising Gut Health, Nutrition, And Sleep
To excel as a business leader now and to ensure your longevity, it’s crucial to prioritise your gut health, nutrition, and sleep. Here are six of my favourite tips to help you on your journey:
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet: Focus on consuming a diverse range of foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, which promote a healthy gut microbiome. Minimise processed foods, refined sugars, and artificial additives as these can disrupt your gut health.
- Get enough sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night, allowing your body to repair and restore itself. Insufficient sleep can disturb the gut microbiome and increase the risk of chronic diseases. You may wish to monitor your sleep with a wearable, like an oura ring or whoop band.
- Manage stress: Chronic stress can disrupt the gut microbiome and cause inflammation, increasing the risk of chronic diseases. Having a variety of stress management techniques in your toolkit that work for you, such as meditation, breathwork exercises, yoga, journaling, grounding or mindfulness (not all, but a few that work for you).
- Harness the power of prebiotics: Prebiotics are non-digestible fibres that nourish beneficial gut bacteria. Prebiotic-rich foods include onions, garlic, green bananas, asparagus, and oats, which can improve digestion, strengthen the immune system, and boost mental health. They produce short-chain fatty acids that are particularly protective of a healthy gut.
- Consume probiotics: Probiotics are live bacteria that help restore the gut microbiome’s balance. Fermented foods are good sources of probiotics like kefir, fermented yoghurts, sauerkraut and kimchi.
- Stay hydrated: Proper hydration is essential for maintaining a healthy gut microbiome. Guidelines recommend 2.1L per day for women and 2.6L per day for me. For a high-performing corporate I recommend this as a starting point given the important role hydration has on your cognitive performance, but more on that in future weeks.
As a business leader, prioritising your gut health, nutrition, and sleep is essential for your success. This powerful trio not only improves physical health but also enhances mental well-being, leading to increased productivity, creativity, and performance. By taking care of your gut, you’re investing in your success as a business leader both now and in the future too.
Ready to take your performance to the next level? Consider me your nutrition expert, cheerleader, logistics coordinator, sounding board, motivator, accountability coach and number one supporter.
Send me a message to find out how I am working with high-performing executives (just like you) to boost their energy, productivity and overall health. Or visit my 1:1 Premium Coaching page here.