We know that mediation has a positive impact on mental and emotional health. But a new research show that meditation may help to improve the gut microbiome.
The study collected blood and stool samples from 56 Buddhist monks in three Tibetan temples and a control group of neighboring residents. These samples showed that the monks’ guts had significantly more beneficial bacterial strains.
According to the study, “The microbiota enriched in monks was associated with a reduced risk of anxiety, depression and cardiovascular disease and could enhance immune function. Overall, these results suggest that meditation plays a positive role in psychosomatic conditions and well-being.”
This suggests that meditation can influence certain bacteria which can help our mental health. They also found that cholesterol levels were significantly lower in the monks versus the control group. So, if you needed some inspiration to meditate, this is good reason.
Gut Brain Connection
We know from other research that there is a strong gut-brain connection. The bacteria in the gut sends signals through the nerves to the brain. One of these is the neurotransmitter, serotonin, “the happy hormone,” which 95% is produced in the intestines.
The gut and its microbes also affect other hormones, the immune system, and control inflammation. Having a healthy microbiome in the gut is vital to overall well-being.
Improve Gut Health With Foods
I wanted to know how I could improve my gut and here is what I found. To increase the beneficial bacteria in your gut, according to Dr. Tom O’Bryan, here are some simple things you can do every day:
Eat organic. Pesticides stay in the body, which throws off our microbiome.
Eat one root vegetable. These fibers feed the good bacteria in your gut. Some examples are turnips, radishes, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, and carrots.
Eat two prebiotic foods, such as bananas, onions, and garlic, to feed the good bacteria and improve gut health.
Eat probiotics, like fermented vegetables, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, or fermented beets. Dr. O’Bryan says to eat one tablespoon a day because fermented food will increase the microbial count by 10,000-fold.
Drink one cup of homemade bone broth. It’s high in gelatin tannate and acts like a seal over the leaky gut to help the cells heal quicker.
Eat one tablespoon of homemade applesauce a day. Applesauce is one of the most potent foods to feed the strongest enzyme in your gut, called intestinal alkaline phosphatases (IAP). IAP heals the gut, increases the good bacteria, fights the bad bacteria, reduces cholesterol, reduces triglycerides, stabilizes blood sugar, and more. Just one tablespoon of applesauce increases the IAP dramatically. Pectin that feeds IAP. Just don’t add sugar.
More Things You Can Do
Add houseplants. NASA discovered houseplants are good at capturing harmful toxins from the air.
Get restorative sleep. It’s the quality of the sleep that matters more than the amount.
Try and lower your stress levels. I know, it’s easy to say but harder to do. You can do some deep breathing, getting fresh air, exercising, gratitude laughing, and of course, meditating can all help to lower stress.
Finally, pay attention to the body when you eat to see if you have a sensitivity to it. Foods like wheat, corn, soy, and dairy are some of the big culprits.
Of course, do what feels right for you. We all have different bodies and microbiomes, and the microbiome in our gut is always changing. What may work today may not in the future. Listen to your body. It knows best.
Making a few minor changes can help improve the gut microbiome, which leads to better health. Everything in the body is connected and research is showing that the gut may be one of the best places to increase your overall well-being. There may be more to the saying, “Listen to your gut.”