Updated: Aug 9
The weird feeling in the ‘gut’ before an important examination, the uncomfortable sensations in your stomach when you walk into a room filled with unknown people, the unpleasant feeling on a stressful day, I am sure you have experienced at least one of these on a regular basis. These sensations and feelings are not coincidental. They are based on pure science & i.e the gut and mind health and their connection with each other.
Our digestive system and nervous system are interlinked to each other in ways we cannot even imagine. In ancient times, disorders and diseases were looked in isolation, now we know that nothing escapes the digestive system, not even the brain. This two-way communication between the gut & mind has a great influence on our mood, our choices, our decisions, our eating behaviours, our movement & even our sleep. This communication in fact forms the basis of health & disorders.
Your health lies in your Gut.
You are what your Gut is, you Gut is what you feed it with Food, drinks, emotions, thoughts, behaviours, relationships....
Let’ s look into this connection & how can our lifestyle influences this.
What is Gut and why is it so important?
Gut is your digestive system. It starts from the mouth & ends at the anus. Earlier it was just considered to be a mechanical machine that is responsible for digestion & absorption. However, in the early 20th century is was discovered that the gut is actually involved in a lot of non-digestible functions such as:
1) Elimination of toxins
2) Secretion and synthesis of hormones and neurotransmitters 3) Excretion of harmful hormones 4) Immune cells
5) Our mood, emotions and decisions
6) Hunger & satiety
8) Brain health
If your Gut is stressed and unclean..all these functions are greatly comprised. The power of this was realised due to the onset of rise in chronic illnesses like PCOS, Diabetes, Hypothyroidism, Hypertension, Anxiety along with a correlation in increased episodes of gut related disorders like IBS, leaky gut, GERD 20th In fact the power of gut is so immense that it is referred to as the second brain.
What the makes the gut so unique is the presence of our body’s own ecosystem: ‘microbes’.
These microbiomes are like super computers. They have data storage of all our experiences, memories, foods, nutrient stores and sleep cycle. These microbes have their own set of neurones and connections that influence our hormones, energy levels, skin texture, hair quality, nutrient absorption, choices, decisions and mood. In other words these microbiota know everything and they play a role in our overall health and wellness: Both Physical and Emotional. Therefore the health of these microbes forms the basis of our health.
The gut and mind connection works both ways with our mind impacting gut & gut impacting mind.
How are Gut & Mind connected?
The enteric system(gut) and nervous system (brain) are the two most important systems. Gut and mind are like two best friends. Everything that happens in one, the other needs to know. This information is not limited to knowing, but there is always a response.
Example: Under a stressful ritual, our microbiota is altered and they trigger stress hormones and the brain to release more stress hormones. This impacts all organs from your heart, lungs to kidneys. However, the next minute if we calm down and focus on our breath, our microbes will calm down, the entire metabolism will calm down. This is how immediate the response of gut happens on mind & vice versa.
This connection happens via what we call as the vagus nerve. Take this like a telephone line between the two best friends. The secretion of neurotransmitters further gets involved in this process.
What influences this connection?
The Gut & mind connection influenced exactly by the same pillars of health that it impacts.
1) Food & Nutrients: Too much or too little of any particular food/nutrients has consequences for the gut and mind. If you have happy, healthy and nourishing foods that is how your digestion, thoughts and emotions are going to be. You food has a great power to even influence your mood. A diet that is rich in colour, flavour and variety is the way to go for your energy levels, hormone balance, skin and hair and even anxiety. Not just the quality or quantity, even the way you eat and when you eat determines your gut and mind health.
2) Movement: It is a fact that regular movement supports our digestion and emotions. Daily walk for 30-45 minutes is the best thing you can do for your gut and mind connection. It is recommended to customise your plan as per your health and fitness goals.
3) Sleep: Just one night of poor sleep can mess up with your gut and mood. Chronic sleepless nights or erratic sleep schedule can shift your microbiota form healthy to unhealthy and thus contribute to poor energy levels, headaches, acne, cravings, stress, sadness and also chronic disorders like leaky gut, PCOS, diabetes, hypothyroidism, hypertension , etc.
4) Emotions: This is a very direct as well indirect connection. Our emotions and experiences directly affect our microbes and at the same time they also have indirect effects via hormones and other organs. The more negative and stressful emotions we experience or indulge in, the more negative and stressful our gut will be. It is thus important fo all of us to pay more attention and acknowledge our emotions. This will further have impact on our metabolism creating a havoc in our health and wellness. Pay attention to your emotions through regular meditation practices.
The connection between gut and mind is an extremely powerful tool when it comes to working on disorders. When you begin to focus on your eating habits, patterns, nutrient absorption, emotions, sleep and movement: we are actually focussing on the base, the root causes of poor health and wellbeing.
How do you know this connect is not in place?
Most symptoms of poor health that we experience begin in the gut. No symptom can be random & no symptom can be looked at in isolation. We need to look at all symptoms from a holistic view point and identify its root cause.
Paying attention to your gut by incorporating anti-inflammatory nutrients, healing herbs, correcting circadian rhythm and paying attention to your emotions can revamp your health.
A free webinar on Gut and Mind health: https://namratamanyal8026.ongraphy.com/s/store/courses/description/Free-Class-on-Gut-Health--Emotions
In the meantime, comment below and tell us what more do you want to know about healing Gut?
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