Psychobiotics: Healthy gut, happy mind?

StomachOur health and nutrition expert Anu Paavola asks if counting calories is less important than the capacity to digest our food.

I recently picked up New Scientist magazine and came across some very interesting articles, including one that explored the concept of psychobiotics.

This is a fairly new area of research, which studies the role of the gut’s bacteria in treating psychological disorders. I am highly intrigued and glad to find this kind of research in a respected scientific journal as it validates what ayurveda – the complementary and alternative medicine I practice – has known for thousands of years.

This is not the only article I’ve been happy to read lately. Recently in Daily Mail and The Guardian I found articles about research that looks at how counting calories is found to be of less importance than the capacity to digest.

In other words, if you want to lose weight it is best to check how strong your individual digestive fire is. This is another area where mainstream medicine is coming very close to the knowledge of ayurveda. It all depends on the individual capacity to digest food rather than what is eaten.

These two research results are hugely important from a public health point of view.

Balanced bacteria can make you happy

Through psychobiotics, it is now scientifically proven how gut bacteria affects our mood. Not only do balanced bacteria make people happy, but happy people are more likely to make conscious positive choices as regards their health and wellbeing.

Imagine if we could get rid of emotional eating? We would also reduce the intake of pharmaceuticals for mood alteration, which often are a cause of further weight increase.

All we need to remember is, and this part falls under the second research result of the strength of the individual digestive fire, that everyone’s gut bacteria is different and that the health of the bacteria depends on the power of digestion.

The power of probiotics 

Probiotics can give great relief but if the digestive power in the body is low, probiotics might not be of help at all.

If your digestive power is slow or irregular you are likely to harvest a colony of harmful bacteria, gathered around undigested and fermented food particles in your digestive system.

This is of course unless you have a diet that respects your slow capacity to process food. If your digestive power is strong you are likely to have a healthy colony of different bacteria in your gut.

Check for digestive complaints first

Before taking those probiotics, which can be hugely beneficial to you, make sure you check your digestive capacity first.

Start by observing if you generally have any digestive complaints, for example gas, bloating, heaviness, nausea, acidity, diarrhea, constipation, or unexplained stomach cramps.  You can also check your tongue. A coating will indicate a bad bacterial balance. An unexplained bad breath and fatigue are also good indicators.

Our digestive power depends on a variety of factors primarily of our individual constitutions. Once we understand what kind of food items and eating habits our bodies respond well to we can enjoy life with a colony of happy bacteria inside us.

If you are interested more in understanding your individual gut needs, come and see Anu for a consultation at Jivita Ayurvedaрестораны на ленинском проспекте