‘Listen to your gut’ – all of us have heard this phrase many times in our lives. But what is our gut all about? How is it important? Why should we be concerned about it? All these questions about gut health are being extensively researched by medical practitioners now. But Ayurveda has always emphasized the importance of gut health to our overall well-being. A healthy gut is an indication of a good life.
What makes up our gut?
The gut refers to our entire digestive system. The mouth, throat, oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum, and anus constitute our gut. Millions and millions of bacteria exist in these parts of our body – a number large enough for it to be collectively labelled as a ‘microbiome’. They play a crucial role in ensuring the digestive processes occur. However, it does more than just make sure that our gut can process all the food that we eat.
How does gut health affect us?
The gut flora, as it is also known, is very diverse. This diversity is also reflected in its various functions. These bacteria are very sensitive to the external environment. Even mild stress can affect the gut. The slightest change in the environment or the emotional well-being of the person changes the composition of the gut flora. This, in turn, leads to a change in brain chemistry which alters our moods and perception. This indicates a profound connection between our gut and our brain.
Thus, a healthy gut enables you to stay in a better frame of mind, have a more optimistic outlook towards life, function better on a day-to-day basis, and keep you from falling sick too often. These microbes also help in keeping diseases at bay. They can be physical or mental. Having a healthy gut can limit the number of harmful bacteria that stays in your body and this ensures that you fall sick less often and are more productive in the long run.
Additionally, a healthy gut is also related to a good night’s sleep. The effects of a restless night of sleep are known to all of us. It makes the day more challenging than it is and has a very negative effect on the person’s mood. So, if one eats healthy and takes the necessary precautions to nurture the good bacteria in the gut, it significantly improves the quality and duration of sleep. Good sleeping habits help the body to heal and prevent more diseases.
Why should we be concerned about our gut health?
With the fast-paced lifestyles that most of us have and the increased adoption of processed food, our gut health is suffering. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough awareness about the crucial role gut health plays in maintaining our health and wellness. Making mindful choices about what we eat and taking care of our mental health will help us to live more fulfilling lives.
But sometimes it is understandably hard to make the right choice. For those instances, Ayurveda suggests Hingavastaka Choorna. Made with ingredients like asafoetida, cumin, carom seeds, and more – these ingredients aid in bowel movement, resolve constipation and reduce indigestion. It also manages the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. This, along with the consumption of fresh fruit, vegetables, and prebiotic and probiotic food can go a long way in ensuring a happy and healthy gut.