Is your gut microbiome okay?
Author: Linda Sinden Date Posted:13 April 2019
Popular science is confirming what Ayurveda has known for thousands of years - our digestive system is central to our physical, mental, emotional experiences and our overall well-being.
It is fascinating to learn that our gut microbiome is made up of trillions of gut bugs or micro-organisms and their genetic material. Ayurveda explains that keeping the digestive system balanced and functioning well is essential. The flow-on effects of the health of your gut microbiome include healthy metabolism, weight, immunity, emotional regulation, brain function and much more.
A healthy microbiome reduces the build up of ama or impurities from the partial or incomplete digestion and helps in the production of ojas - the life giving substance that supports life, growth and the experience of higher states of consciousness. Ojas is considered essential for life and life cannot be sustained without it. Are you starting to understand how important your digestive health is for creating ojas to sustain your life, vitality and enjoyment?
What is really fascinating is that there is a nervous system actually within your gastro-intestinal tract called the enteric nervous system, which begins in the esophagus and extends down to the anus. When stressed, the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) dominates and the enteric nervous system involved with the digestive process and organs down-regulates digestion (they are considered less important if we are about to be attacked by a tiger!) As the tiger of today is the constant next, next, next pace at which we live, our digestive system often does not get enough recovery time when the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) dominates, leaving us weakened and at risk of enteric nervous system damage from inflammation and pressure.
This understanding explains why our level of stress directly impacts our digestion, causing gas, bloating, acidity, lack of appetite or nausea. Have you noticed that these digestive symptoms often coincide with emotions such as anxiety, anger, low mood, sadness or depression, depending on which dosha is most imbalanced? This is due to the connection between the gut and the brain through the enteric nervous system.
The enteric nervous system contains as many neurons in it as your spinal cord has and losing or impairing function of the enteric nervous system has devastating effects, just like a spinal cord injury. For example when the spinal cord is damaged the ability to move hands and legs can be impaired or lost completely. Even though it is not so obvious as damage to the enteric nervous system, it occurs within and although not so easily ‘in sight’ it can have a devastating effect upon you.
The first stages of disease arise predominantly in your gastro-intestinal system and later start to affect other organs. The health of the nerves within the gut will ultimately impact the health of the nerves in the brain, so understanding what is going on in the gut is key.
5 Steps to Gut Health
- Take Digest tone 1-2 tablets at bedtime. This herbal helps to heal the gut, helps to reduce inflammation in the gut and helps to get rid of accumulated toxins in the colon. In this way it encourages the repair of the gut mucosa and the growth of damaged nerves in the enteric system. It is the one herbal that helps all levels of gut health.
- Practise Transcendental Meditation to increase resilience and to provide the enteric nervous system with regular experience of ‘down time’ in order to rest and digest.
- Sit to eat with full attention when you are hungry. Aim to be hungry at main meal times. Take 2 tablets of Herbal Digest prior meals. Have a lassi drink after lunch to support gut health.
- Take 1-2 tablets of Stress Relief prior breakfast and evening meals or prior meditation. Take 1-2 tablets of Brahmi Organic after meals 2-3 times a day.
- Get adequate sleep and daily exercise for 30 minutes or more.
[Lassi recipe: quarter cup of freshly made yoghurt; 1 cup of water; half teaspoon organic raw sugar. Blend all together until smooth. Drink at room temperature].
Wishing you the bliss of balance