‘Pet saaf to sabkuch maaf’ is a popular adage that that many diseases are rooted in the gut. The title “The Gut Feeling” is not the exact translation of the Hindi adage, but it does sum up the story focus.

Many medical research papers have been published in the field of Mind-Gut connection that point to the importance of healthy bacteria in our gut. We are living a very connected existence.

Recipe For Wellbeing

India has a rich legacy of knowledge and food culture that has been passed down from generation-to-generation, which includes kitchen techniques that sustain one’s health and boost the immune system. For instance, we are aware of the benefits of curd as it contains healthy bacteria, which is good for the digestive system. Thus we consume curds and buttermilk in ample amounts. Moreover, fermented foods are also very popular like the traditional beetroot kanji containing healthy bacteria. And almost every household has its own recipe for pickles passed down from their great grandmothers. Even pickled vegetables are popular for the same reasons. Today, all these are popularly known as probiotics. South-Indian cuisine like idli and dosa are also a rich source of probiotics.

Our Second Brain: The Gut

There are over 100 trillion bacteria that are residing in our gut and are actively participating in digestion and breakdown of the foods we consume. There are country specific strains of Lactobacillus, suitable to people living in a country and eating foods grown in that environment. These days, people are traveling across the globe, eating foods grown all over the world. Even if they are not traveling, they are consuming imported foods, which cause disturbance in the microbiome or microflora that affects the count of the bacteria in the gut.

The Gut is also called as second brain. “Mounting evidence suggests that your gut’s health strongly influences your mood” as per the online magazine psychologytoday.com. Inside the gut, our nervous system actually communicates with these trillions of bacteria. These bacteria have evolved within our body since birth. They help us digest food and fight off harmful bacteria, viruses, fungus and so on. Those who suffer from anxiety or depression have disturbed bowel bacterial flora, as they are eating junk foods often or have taken strong antibiotics.

Your Life Partners

What are prebiotics then? Health of our gut is completely dependent on the quality of bacteria thriving in the gut. And quality of bacteria will depend on what food bacteria are getting to “eat”. Thus eating healthy foods that are rich in fibre, phytonutrients and fresh whole foods nourishes the bacteria. Ensure that besides feeding yourself, you also feed your friends, which are these trillions of bacteria, your partners for life. Food for these bacteria is termed as Prebiotics.

Colon Irrigation Centres

If we eat excessive junk foods, white sugar, maida (fine wheat flour), stale foods, healthy bacteria cannot thrive.  And as a result unhealthy bacteria start thriving because of the kind of food is available to them.

There are now a few colon irrigation centres thriving in the city, where  they introduce water under pressure in the large intestine and cleanse it of all the undigested foods. Usually, there are 3 or 4 sessions to clean up the gut and later, one annual session for maintenance. It is more than enema. Simple water enema also helps in some ways. Guidance on healthy food is given to restore bowel flora.

Resting Your System

Apart from this, fasting will be very beneficial to give rest to the system and allow deep cleaning. Fasting is resting time, so that body conserves its fire, or digestive energy and start using it for eliminating old stuff lying inside gut. Simple water fasting for a day is easy or even eating just fruits helps. Fasting during various times of the Indian calendar has much to do with this cleaning.

A simple overnight fast is for daily cleaning. Eating early dinner and allowing body to work on all the food eaten is the best way to stay in shape and good health.

Using Your Second Brain To Sustain Health

The popular adage ‘Jaisa anna vaisa man’–means that the nature of your thoughts and emotions are as per the food you eat. Connection between the type of food eaten, the type of bacteria that thrives in the gut and the link between gut and emotions finally makes sense. So, eat healthy, give healthy prebiotic foods to sustain our trillions of bacteria, fast regularly, pay attention to bowel cleansing, include traditional probiotics in our meals, avoid junk food–these are the new secrets for a healthy lifestyle.