Prevailing logic and countless antacid commercials suggest that high stress and a bad mood will lead to an upset stomach. But it might be the other way around. In this month’s issue of Whole Living, the magazine writes that your gut and what you put in it have a bigger effect on your brain than you may think. According to Michael Gershon, a professor of pathology and cell biology at Columbia University, who was consulted for the article, the two systems are linked in intricate ways: “Given all of the neurotransmitters in your gut, it’s equally likely that it’s happening from the bottom up.” he explains. Whole Living suggests some easy, hippie-dippy ways to keep the works — and, by proxy, your mind — running smoothly. To start, make sure you’re keeping a healthy amount of microbes and other bacteria in your digestive system. So avoid processed foods and go easy on the antibiotics if possible. Also, consume leafy greens to get sufficient fiber, and try to eat a couple of tablespoons of ground flaxseed each day, to keep things, you know, moving along.
Eugenia Bone, an award-winning food journalist and cookbook author, has a love affair with fungi. Mushrooms, to be specific. In “Mycophilia,” Bone, co-president of the New York Mycological Society (that city’s mushroom fan club), recounts her experiences searching for and supping on various types of fungi, and she explores the kooky culture of fungi fanatics. But there’s also a healthy helping of info on wild mushrooms and their value for consumption. For instance, Bone points out the ones you shouldn’t eat, such as destroying angel (Amanita bisporigera) and death cap (Amanita phalloides), which can be fatal if consumed. Benign ones turn out to be very good for you, however. Once thought to be generally devoid of nutritional value, mushrooms are now considered a superfood: They’re cholesterol-free, low in sodium and full of potassium and Vitamin D. Some even have healing properties. Fungus-derived components are used in everything from Beano (the anti-flatulence supplement) to baby formula (to encourage brain development).