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Wellness Guide

Why Your Gut Health Matters and 4 Natural Ways to Support It

Why Your Gut Health Matters and 4 Natural Ways to Support It
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Anyone who has struggled with digestive issues can vouch for the importance of having a healthy gut. But good digestion and elimination, as important as they are, are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to gut health matters. Improving your gut condition can lead to all kinds of positive changes in your well-being and give you the energy, clarity and vitality to do the things that matter most to you.

In this article, you'll learn why your gut is so amazing, plus 4 tips to help you achieve a happy, healthy body and mind.

Why your gut is so amazing

Did you know that the gut is often called the second brain? There’s a good reason for this: Your gut is a powerhouse of neurons and nerves that directly link to the brain and all the major organs, arteries and hormonal glands. The intestines play a major role in the flow of blood, lymph, energy and neurological information throughout your entire body.

East Asian medicine recognizes major energy channels (meridians) that run through the abdomen, powering the entire body. Think of your abdomen as the battery center of your body; it’s the gateway to your fountain of health and vitality!

Here are four ways having a healthy gut can supercharge your well-being:

1. A healthy gut can strengthen your immune system.

Did you know that your intestines make up 75% of your immune system? Our bodies are constantly fighting off toxins and other invaders to maintain optimal function — it’s simply a part of life. A robust and diverse gut microbiome (the makeup of your gut bacteria) helps you be resistant to these stressors. That’s because the good bacteria in your gut not only help digest food, they also communicate with your immune cells. They’re the “good guys” you want on your side to fight viruses and infections, and reduce inflammation.

2. A healthy gut can give you increased energy.

Have you ever felt sluggish after a heavy meal? Then you've experienced the connection between your gut and your energy levels. This connection extends way beyond a momentary snapshot; people with a healthier gut tend to feel more energized overall.

Why?

When energy flows abundantly through your core, it flows abundantly throughout your whole body. A strong gut will efficiently digest food and convert it into the energy your body needs, and it will move what’s not needed through without delay, preventing toxic waste from re-absorbing into your cells.

3. A healthy gut can promote a clear and calm mind.

The gut and the brain are linked in a two-way communication line called the gut-brain axis, also known as the vagus nerve. It was originally thought that the brain did most of the talking on this telephone line, but according to research published in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, it turns out that gut bacteria is actually quite chatty — and even bossy, telling the brain how to behave! When you have more good bacteria doing the talking, your brain receives much kinder messages that affect your thinking.

Healthy circulation in the gut also leads to healthy circulation of blood and oxygen to the brain. So a healthy gut promotes a calmer mind that is ready to take on challenges, and more likely to think positively and creatively.

4. A healthy gut can balance emotions and improve your mood.

You’re surely familiar with sensations like “butterflies in the stomach” or “gut-wrenching”. More than just sayings, these phrases point to the strong connection between emotions and the gut.

In fact, your gut produces a whopping 90% of the body's serotonin, (the happiness hormone) and 50% of the body's dopamine (the pleasure and reward hormone)! A change in the gut microbiome has been shown to significantly impact mood, and restoring gut health can even help improve mental health issues like anxiety and depression.

Now that you know why gut health is so important, here are 4 tips to boost your gut’s condition:

1. Eat clean.

Clean eating reduces toxins in your system and creates conditions for healthy gut flora to flourish.

You can take supplements such as pre- and probiotics to support your gut biome, but to truly restore gut health, these work best on a foundation of eating gut health foods such as fiber-filled fruits and veggies, and fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir.

2. Practice mindfulness and other stress reduction techniques.

Remember the last time something really stressful happened. Go ahead, really visualize it for a moment. If you really tune into it, you might notice a queasy feeling in your gut.

Now let that go and visualize something that makes you happy.

Feel better? That’s the gut-brain connection at work. Your gut doesn’t like stress, but it responds favorably to stress reduction and positive mental states. Whatever you can do to reduce your stress and raise the quality of the thoughts that go through your mind can help heal your gut.

3. Get enough exercise.

It’s hard to overstate the positive benefits exercise has for the mind, body and spirit. But did you know that exercise also directly impacts your gut health?

The positive hormonal changes associated with exercise create an optimal environment for a well-functioning gut. The increased blood and energy flow through the core of the body nourishes the abdomen, and the increase in body temperature that happens when you exercise is a trigger for a cascade of healing effects. It has even been proven that people who exercise regularly tend to have more diverse gut microbiomes.

4. Try Belly Button Healing.

Belly Button Healing is is a simple energy healing method that can boost your wellbeing through mindful stimulation of the navel. It uses a special energy healing tool designed to reduce tension in the abdomen and activate the vagus nerve for stress reduction and energy circulation throughout the entire body.

Stimulating the navel for healing may sound unusual, but the navel is a powerful reflexology point that has been used in traditional East Asian medicine for thousands of years. If the abdomen is the doorway to health and vitality, then the belly button is like the keyhole!

Check out our Belly Button Healing Kits here and our course for how to use the kit here.
Written by Kris Washington-Carroll
Kris is a loving, creative soul with a deep personal healing story. Mindbody practices, energy work and meditation changed her life back in 2006, and today, she’s inspired to share these tools with as many people as possible to help them live happier, healthier lives. In addition to writing, teaching, and coaching, Kris is also a visual artist with a passion for using art to uplift, inspire, heal and transform.
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