It Takes Guts to Fend Off Loneliness and Welcome Wisdom.
You know I like to get geeky. Well, today is one of those days. MEA’s friend, Dr. Dilip Jeste, occasionally sends me some of his newest wisdom research. Here’s a hot-off-the-presses report on the relationship between the microbiome in our gut and loneliness and wisdom.
Here are some of the key takeaways:
- Loneliness and wisdom seem to be inversely proportional to each other.
- There is a gut-brain axis that has a significant influence on our emotions, social behavior, and decision-making.
- Microbial diversity in the gut is positively correlated to wisdom and inversely correlated to loneliness. This is particularly noticeable in older adults.
- A more diverse gut microbiota may be less susceptible to invasion by outside pathogens, which could contribute to and help promote better resilience and stability of the community.
So, how do we create micro-diversity in our guts? Here are three ways to do it with our diets:
- Eat a diverse diet.
- Consume fermented foods with live microbes; they have at least a transient effect. Kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, kombucha, kimchi, miso.
- Eat washed raw fruits and vegetables, which harbor environmental microbes (not recommended if you have difficulties digesting raw vegetables)
Author Philip Slater wrote "The Pursuit of Loneliness" 50 years ago, suggesting that our pursuit of happiness often created the collateral damage of loneliness. Unfortunately, he never looked at our diet to see whether that’s affecting how we socialize.
Maybe it’s time we gave as much attention to the functioning of our gut as we do the functioning of our brain and heart when it comes to creating a great life?
Go ahead, trust your gut. It will serve you well.