Heal your gut
As we have seen in gut issues, many mental health problems can come from problems in the gut, which is known as the second brain.
In order to address mental health issues which might stem from the gut, follow the guidelines below to heal your gut.
The first and most important step you can take to heal your gut is to eat the right foods, eliminate the wrong foods, improve your digestion, and take gut-healing supplements. Read more about how to correct your nutrition and supplement to heal your gut by clicking on the links below.
Chronic stress can have a negative impact your gut health:
- It can slow your digestion, preventing you from absorbing brain-healthy nutrients
- It can weaken your gut lining, contributing to leaky gut
- It can harm healthy gut bacteria, contributing to gut dysbiosis Hawrelak JA, Myers SP (2004), The causes of intestinal dysbiosis: a review, Altern Med Rev. Jun;9(2): 180-97, Avaible at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15253677 [accessed February 2018]
It is important to manage your stress and make sure your stress hormones are balanced for optimal gut health.
Balance your stress hormones, improve your digestion and absorption, and contribute to healing your gut lining and balancing your gut bacteria by practicing relaxation techniques regularly.
In order to heal your gut, it is important to detoxify from addictive and toxic substances (alcohol, cigarettes, recreational and pharmaceutical drugs, such as benzodiazepines, NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) all of which can damage the gut lining). It’s also important to detoxify your environment, replacing common household chemicals with more natural products.
Read more about how to detoxify by clicking on the links below.
Hormone imbalances, for example lowered levels of estrogen in peri-menopause and menopause, and chronically elevated levels of cortisol and/or insulin, can contribute to inflammation in the body and damage the gut lining.
Ensuring optimal hormone balance can be helpful to heal and protect the gut.
Healthy breathing patterns, especially abdominal breathing, can reduce your stress levels, balance our nervous system, and improve digestion, all of which can contribute to a healthier gut.
Certain mind-body therapies can help you to relax, balance the nervous system, and enhance hormonal and neurotransmitter balance, aiding in healing your gut lining, and ensuring a better balance of bacteria in your gut.
Meditation can enhance gut healing by calming your nervous system, balancing your hormones and neurotransmitters, encouraging better breathing, thereby improving your digestion, healing the gut lining, and ensuring a more balanced micro-biome.
Mental therapy, whether self therapy or with a therapist, can help relax your nervous system, reduce anger and anxiety, and help to heal your gut.
Indeed, a more relaxed nervous system can help rebuild your gut lining, improve digestion, and optimise the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut.
Exercise is important for gut healing, as it:
- Can enhance blood and lymph circulation, improving digestion and absorption of nutrients (as long as you wait at least 60 minutes after your last meal)
- Can aid in the removal of toxins, which as we have seen above, can be helpful for gut healing
- It can be relaxing and balancing for the nervous system, which is helpful for the balance of good and bad bacteria, and also for the gut’s integrity
The vagus nerve is one of the main nerves that connects the brain to the body. It is the physical conduit for the mind-body connection, and handles communication between the brain and gut.
It is crucial to balancing our nervous system, regulating heart rate and breathing and has many other functions which impact mental health. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318128.php Poor function of the vagus nerve can lead to anxiety, insomnia and mood issues.
Certain exercises can be helpful to tone the vagus nerve, and therefore helpful to the gut-brain connection and mental health.
- Drink several glasses of water per day and gargle each sip until you finish the glass of water
- Gargle long and deep enough so that it’s a challenge
Sing as loud as you can when possible
- This works the muscles at the back of your throat
- Singing or gargling is like doing vagus-nerve-sprints Kharrazian, D. (2013). Why Isn’t My Brain Working? Carlsbad, CA: Elephant Press, p.169.
- Lay a tongue blade on the back of the tongue and push it down to activate the reflex
- To gag is like doing a pushup for the vagus nerve