Neurons have been identified in the Enteric Nervous System, also known as your GI system—at least a million. That’s one reason some scientists refer to the ENS as the ‘second brain.’ This stance is also changing perspectives on functional gastrointestinal disorders or FGID. For example, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is now being referred to as an enteric neuropathy: enteric referring to the bowel and neuropathy indicating that the nerves are functioning sub-optimally. Patricia Raymond, MD, assistant professor of clinical internal medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, points out that fiber can function like an on-off switch for IBS. Soluble fiber can slow down movement in the digestive tract, helping with diarrhea. Soluble fiber-rich foods include fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, apples, avocado, dried figs and prunes, oranges, and mango; and veggies such as asparagus, edamame, broccoli, green beans and peas, carrots, plus legumes, oats, barley, and psyllium. Insoluble fiber can speed up movement, alleviating constipation. Insoluble fiber can be found in zucchini, broccoli, cabbage, leafy greens, grapes, root vegetables, whole grains, brown rice, legumes, oats, and nuts. And what does that matter? Neurons in the gut communicate regularly with neurons in the brain. A healthier gut often means a more well-functioning brain. More tomorrow.