Tag Archives: gut health

Mindfulness and Meditation-Do they really work?

Well…yes, they do really work. The fact is, science shows definite health benefits for people who use mindfulness and meditation.

Before we dive in, let’s just make sure we’re on the same page when we say “mindfulness” and “meditation.”

“Meditation” is the ancient practice of connecting the body and mind to become more self-aware and present. It’s often used to calm the mind, ease stress, and relax the body.

Practicing “mindfulness” is one of the most popular ways to meditate. It’s defined as “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.”

Mindfulness meditation is well studied in terms of its health benefits. I’m going to talk about a few of them below, and refer to it as “mindfulness” for the rest of the post.

The link between mindfulness and health = stress reduction

Listen to the full post here

Have you heard the staggering statistics on how many doctors’ visits are due to stress? Seventy-five to ninety percent!

So, if you ask me, it makes a ton of sense that anything that can reduce stress can reduce health issues too.

Mindfulness reduces inflammation, reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and improves sleep. All of these can have massive effects on your physical and mental health.

I’ll briefly go over the research in three main areas: mood, weight, and gut health. But know that the research on the health benefits of mindfulness is branching into many other exciting new areas too.

Mindfulness for mood

The most immediate health benefit of mindfulness is improved mood.

In one study, people who took an 8-week mindfulness program had greater improvement in symptoms according to the “Hamilton Anxiety Scale.” They were compared with people who took a stress management program that did not include mindfulness. It seems that the mindfulness training was key to lowering symptoms.

Other studies show that mindfulness has similar effects as antidepressant medications for some people with mild to moderate symptoms of depression.

While mindfulness isn’t a full-fledged cure, it can certainly help to improve moods.

Mindfulness for weight

Studies show that people who use mind-body practices, including mindfulness, have lower BMIs (Body Mass Indices).

How can this be?

One way mindfulness is linked with lower weight is due to stress-reduction. Mindfulness can reduce stress-related and emotional overeating. It can also help reduce cravings and binge eating.

Another way it can work for weight is due to “mindful eating.” Mindful eating is a “non-judgmental awareness of physical and emotional sensations associated with eating.” It’s the practice of being more aware of food and the eating process. It’s listening more deeply to how hungry and full you actually are. It’s not allowing yourself to be distracted with other things  while  you’re eating, like what’s on TV or your smartphone.

With the metabolic Balance method, the individualized nutrition plan comes with 8 guiding principles that support you through the process to achieve long term weight loss success.

People with higher mindfulness scores also reported smaller serving sizes of energy-dense foods. So it seems that more mindful eating = less junk.

Mindfulness about food and eating can have some great benefits for your weight.

Mindfulness for gut health

Recent studies show a link between stress, stress hormones, and changes in gut microbes (your friendly bacteria and other critters that help your digestion).In theory, mindfulness-based stress reduction could be a way to help prevent negative changes in the gut’s microbes.

Also, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) seems to be linked with both stress and problems with gut microbes. In one study, people with IBS who received mindfulness training showed greater reductions in IBS symptoms than the group who received standard medical care.

The research here is just starting to show us the important link between stress, gut health, and how mindfulness can help.

Conclusion

Science is confirming some amazing health benefits of the ancient practice of mindfulness meditation. For moods, weight, gut health, and more.

Do you regularly include it in your life? If so, have you seen benefits? If not, would you consider trying it?

Let me know in the comments below.

And try this, it works for me.  When bad feelings visit, and they will, sit with them, let them be, acknowledge, give the feeling space, don’t judge it, don’t condone it.  Do it some more, be grateful and observe as the sensation moves to the outer edges of your thoughts and becomes less.

Recipe: (Relaxing Teas): Relaxing Herbal Teas

There are many relaxing herbal teas that would be great after meditation.

Try any of these by steeping in boiling water:

  • Green tea (has a bit of caffeine, or you can choose decaffeinated green tea)
  • White tea (also has a bit of caffeine, or you can choose decaffeinated white tea)
  • Rooibos tea
  • Peppermint tea (or steep fresh peppermint leaves)
  • Ginger tea (or steep slices of real ginger)

Serve & enjoy!

BONUS Guided Meditation “Recipes” (videos, apps & podcasts)

Calm App

https://www.calm.com/

Daily Meditation Podcast

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/daily-meditation-podcast/id892107837?mt=2

Hay House Meditations Podcast

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/hay-house-meditations/id955266444?mt=2

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meditation

https://nccih.nih.gov/health/meditation/overview.htm

https://authoritynutrition.com/mindful-eating-guide/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3341916/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4454654/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26186434

Medical Disclaimer The information contained herein is NOT intended as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the care of a qualified health professional. Always consult your doctor for all diagnoses, treatments, and cures for any diseases or conditions, as well as before changing your diet, taking supplements or making any changes to your health care regimen

Support your good health

Concerns are still growing around the coronavirus pandemic .  To stop the spread, it’s important that we follow the guidelines set out by the public health authorities.  Not only to protect ourselves but also to protect others.

Along with frequent hand washing, social distancing and self isolation, support for the immune system is vital. What we eat and drink on a daily basis makes a big difference in helping us fight infection.

Read on or listen here.

immune system support

These are my top pick 5 picks for  your kitchen:

Vitamin C rich foods-you probably knew this one already but sometimes a little reminder helps, particularly during times of stress-like what we are going through right now.

The best source are fruits and vegetables so include plenty, and a variety in your daily meal plan.  There is clear evidence that vitamin C rich foods are  supportive to our immune system and  Vitamin C also protects against free radical damage and viruses.

An added bonus of vitamin C, it’s great for skin. It is essential for collagen production, the glue that holds the body together and keeps skin youthful and supple.

Zinc rich foods.  Zinc is an important trace mineral, that we often don’t think about in relation to immune health.  And a little goes a long way.  This mineral  acts a an antioxidant and is known to lower infection rates  

Zinc is also involved in a multitude of body functions, including the metabolism of many enzymes used for digestion and nerve function.

Zinc is most abundant in animal foods but can also be found in pumpkin seeds, mushrooms , chickpeas, hemp seeds and seafood, particularly oysters.

Protein rich foods are important for making antibodies that fight infection. Inadequate protein lowers immunity and your body’s ability to fight infection. Aim for 30-50 grams per day.

Eat mushrooms!  Long known for their medicinal properties, mushrooms  contain beta-glucans which support the immune system.  They enhance macrophages and natural killer cells.  Mushrooms have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, Selenium and vitamin D

Keep your digestion healthy as much of our immune system lives in our gut.  Eat prebiotic foods such as oats, onions, leeks, flax legumes, cruciferous vegetables,  these foods feed the good bacteria.

Include Probiotic foods which maintain  the good bacteria.  Kefir, youghurt, sauerkraut, miso are good sources of probiotics. Read here for more on how you can support gut health.

Join my community and get my quick guide to pre and probiotic foods. It’s free!

Additional tips

If you enjoy tea,  Rosehip and Elderberry tea are a good source of flavonoids and Vitamin C.

Oil of Oregano or Oil of thyme are anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial. My go to right now is Black seed oil which I mix in with a little Black Cherry Juice, Vitamin D Drops and Omega 3 oil.

Please note these oils contain powerful compounds so are very potent.  Follow the directions on the bottle/packaging very carefully and only use for a limited time.  Better yet get advice from a trusted health and wellness practitioner.

Want more information on how to choose a supplement?  Read here.

And remember to  drink plenty of water.

Conclusion

While we are in the midst of the Coronavirus, we must all follow the advice of the public health agencies, wash hands frequently, self -isolate and practice social distancing.

In addition to managing stress, prioritizing sleep and breathing in clean air,  eat well, whole natural foods with plenty of fruits and vegetables are your best bet.

Medical Disclaimer-The information contained herein is NOT intended as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the care of a qualified health professional. Always consult your doctor for all diagnoses, treatments, and cures for any diseases or conditions, as well as before changing your diet, taking supplements or making any changes to your health care regimen.