Gut or the stomach is considered the second brain of our body and determines our mental and physical health. It is the epicenter of all our metabolic activity controlling every aspect of our physiology, metabolism, digestion, inflammation, hormonal function, and immunity. What we eat and how we nurture our gut determines our health.
It is considered the second brain as there is a strong link between a healthy gut and our immune system, mood, mental health autoimmune diseases, endocrine disorders, and overall well-being, though it is not the seat of any conscious thought process. The trillions of bugs in our stomach and the enteric nervous system do more than simple digestion. It expels the foreign invaders from our body and builds a strong immune system. It controls the metabolic process, appetite, inflammation and virtually every aspect of our physiology that determines our body weight and BMI (body mass index).
Our body has more bugs(bacteria) than cells and bad bacteria in the gut causes gas, bloating and inflammation, which is an underlying cause of obesity. Unless the inner ecosystem of the gut is healthy and the imbalance is restored, the appetite and metabolism will continue to frustrate.
How do we nurture a healthy gut to boost our good health?
Unless we restore balance in our inner ecology, our system will continue to play mischief. Before restoring balance and harmony in the gut’s flora, we need to do simple analysis as to what is harming the inner ecosystem.
How to discard and restrict the harmful agents and unhealthy food that foster the growth of bad bugs?
There are a few sequential steps to restore healthy gut flora.
Antibiotics: Restrict the use of antibiotics to minimal as it disrupts the gut flora. Any course of antibiotics kills the good bacteria along with the bad one and its effects last for months. Switch to alternative medical care, naturopathy, and home remedies. Antibiotics promote the growth of fat microbes. Antibiotic dose must always be complemented with probiotics.
Artificial sweeteners: Avoid sweets and artificial sweeteners as they decay the microbes in the gut, obstructs hormonal regulation and lead to obesity. Dietary fats can damage the stomach lining.
Processed food: Chemically processed food is heavily loaded with sugar or high fructose corn syrup which only add empty calories leading to obesity. The refined food is devoid of fiber which burns fat and fights inflammation.
Lifestyle: A healthy gut flora can always be reset by changing the lifestyle, food habits and cultivating good bacteria in the gut. Prebiotics and probiotics play an important role in cultivating a healthy gut.
How to Cultivate Healthy Gut Ecology?
We can nourish our digestive system with probiotics and fiber-rich food that contain non-digestible carbohydrates. They are found in whole grains, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, and chicory root. Include these in the daily meal and decreases irritable bowel syndrome. Fibrous food is filling and promotes the growth of good bacteria.
We have around 300-400 types of microorganisms in our intestine, some are harmful while some are incredibly healthy for the gut. Healthy bacteria are found in fermented food like yogurt which improves the absorption of minerals in the body. The healthy bacteria is destroyed in a ready-made artificially flavored processed curd. Go for homemade curd. Yogurt is more closely linked to weight loss but limit the intake to less than 15gm twice a day.
Variety on the palate
Having a variety of food on plate encourages diverse gut anti-inflammatory microbiomes which reduces obesity. The bottom line is greater the diversity in the gut bacteria, healthier for microbiota.
Water is the best detox
Minimum 8 glasses of water daily, it is a natural detox, flushes the system and cleanses the bowel. Adequate water intake along with a balanced diet will avoid constipation.
Stress Weakens our Gut
Stress is the germinating ground for unhealthy bacteria in the stomach, making the foreign invaders in the body to thrive, causing inflammation in the body. Control stress with yoga, meditation, and a healthy balanced diet. It is in our hand to change the microbiome in our digestive system for better or for worse.
Contact Jagadguru Kripalu Yoga and Naturopathy Hospital, one of the leading naturopathy hospitals in India, for treatment of chronic diseases, pain management and lifestyle consultation.
by Pragya Sinha