“Our gut health determines the health of everything in our body”
– Deepak Chopra
The food as a medicine movement has gained traction in recent years particularly because of its impact on gut health. Organic foods and holistic approaches to medical problems are yielding incredible results. This isn’t something new that has been discovered, doctors and nutritionists have been saying for years; that gut health plays a significant role in our overall well-being. We want to suggest 3 simple ways to improve your gut health. Indians have long been tuned into the frequency that herbs and spices are an active part of a healthy diet, with Indian masala spices such as holy basil, as well as cardamom playing a large part in their nourishment and daily nutrition. Another key aspect in cleansing the gut lies in its connection to manipura, the solar plexus chakra and how when our stomach bacteria are reduced, our 3rd chakra can connect to the other 6 chakras. This type of reset also reduces any excess pain in the chest and abdomen, giving us a lighter feeling and increased energy flow. Polyphenols in black and green tea also readily decrease inflammation and work to modify and manage the gut microbial balance of our body. This creates a prebiotic effect in our body that allows for better digestion, because of an increase in fibre. Probiotics further feed on the bacteria and yeast that make up these microorganisms, so nutrients can be better absorbed into our system. This trend of what we put in our body effects the way we feel is growing faster and faster every day. Nourishing our body mindfully with intentions like creating a healthy body are ancient practices being reintroduced to a world filled with processed foods. We have identified three simple ways to improve your gut health by simply adjusting your diet.
1) Introduce more polyphenols into your diet
2) Build your flora by trying probiotics
3) Try consuming more holy basil
1.) Introduce More Polyphenols into Your Diet
Think of polyphenols as equalizers that help to reduce inflammation and stress allowing our immune system to function at a higher level. Polyphenols affect gut health in that they are easily obtainable since they occur naturally in many spices, as well as black and green tea, and help to ease digestion. Catechins which belong to a subgroup of polyphenols called flavonoids, are commonly found in fruits and vegetables as well as these teas and work to reduce cell damage caused by free radicals that seek to erode our immunity. These flavonoids offer us phytonutrients that help to protect our cells against oxidative damage. This damage can lead to oxidative stress, which elevates reactive oxygen species and can cause a myriad of diseases from inflammation to ulcers and can even create cancer cells. While not quite as high as green tea, black tea also contains catechins, meaning most types of chai are useful in preventing inflammatory bowel and gastrointestinal diseases. Furthermore, our Mindfully Green tea which is a jasmine green tea is very high in catechins. All of this means that the polyphenols found in any of these teas and chais do the work of antioxidants, as their chemical compounds lessen the damage to our cells and electrons, keeping our DNA intact. By optimizing digestion through the strengthening of the cells in our stomach lining, we are also better able to prevent blockages in our solar plexus chakra. When this chakra is balanced, nutrients we take in are better able to assimilate in our gut, allowing for a smoother digestive pathway, as well as clearer vision and mental health. Polyphenols further boost important vitamins and minerals, such as A and E, that improves holistic health and well-being. The overall result is a happy and healthier body. For these reasons, introducing more polyphenols into your diet through tea and other holistic foods is an easy way to improve your gut health and your overall wellbeing.
For further information on the interconnectedness of what we put in our body’s check out our previous Chai Guide.
2.) Build Your Flora by Trying Probiotics
You may often see the word probiotics displayed heavily on various food and drink items while shopping at the grocery store. Prebiotics, found in fibre rich foods such and bananas and probiotics, common in most fermented foods work together so that microorganisms in our body can multiply. This works to create good bacteria that helps speed up our ability to breakdown nutrients. Flora is bacteria that is found in the intestine and helps to breakdown and digest food into vitamins and biotin. Probiotics are vital in controlling the bacteria that make up our body’s gut microbiome. Along with bacteria, the gut microbiome includes fungus and other microbes. In a healthy body, symbiotic, promoting healthy cells, and pathogenic, creating disease, microbiota work together in ensure that our body’s immune system is properly balanced. To regulate and recover this eco-system within our body’s it is recommended that we consume fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut and kimchi that contain high amounts of these micronutrients. Probiotics also work to lower the body’s pH levels, for faster, healthier bowel movements. Tea that contains kombucha, the symbiotic fermentation of bacteria and yeast, is another way to increase digestion. Likewise, chai that features a mixture of beneficial masala spices can positively affect our gut health by increasing salivary amylase (saliva) and bile production. We recommend Om Chai for this. The good types of bacteria that regulate our gut health have a better chance to grow and improve the way nutrients are cycled in and out of our body. When our digestion system is functioning properly we feel better not only physically, but mentally and spiritually as well. Therefore, building your flora through probiotics is a very easy way help strengthen your gut health.
3.) Try Consuming More Holy Basil
Holy basil, also commonly known as tulsi, is a spice that is key to increasing overall health and vitality; though one that is perhaps less widely looked to when we try to improve our well-being. Holy basil contains vitamin k, a fast absorbing mineral that works to improve heart and bone health, along with digestive function. Stomach or gastric ulcers can develop in the lining of our stomach because of acid that attacks a decreased layer of mucous. Holy basil can protect our stomach by increasing this mucous layer, which decreases ulcers and improves gut health. Holy basil further decreases stomach acid, by working to control acid reflux and balance the body’s internal pH levels. Since it also eradicates toxins from our body, holy basil helps to regulate our metabolism and thus can be a great ally in weight loss endeavors. Chai Ghai’s own Belly Dancer Buy Belly Dancer - Tulsi Black Masala Chai | Chai Ghai contains a number of useful herbs and spices that are strong components in aiding proper digestion and reducing bloating; including holy basil, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom. These ingredients work together to boost immunity, cleanse our chakras and soothe our tummy with their calming vibrations and tranquil aroma. This how it got its name Belly Dancer, as it was designed to improve gut health and fight nausea and indigestion.
Holy basil contains eugenol, found in a number of ingredients, such as cloves, used in making chai. Eugenol works to breakdown the biofilm, bacteria in our system that causes infections. This can help to decrease the amount we get sick by slowing down how effectively bacteria in our stomach and intestines can spread out to the rest of our body. Many chai recipes in India are centric around these masala spices and designed to target gut health. Ginger chai gained popularity in India centuries ago for its ability to fight off colds and help with nausea. Tulsi tea, also gained immense popularity for its many gut health benefits. Our Belly Dancer chai contains both tulsi and ginger to generate benefits from both of these important spices. Consuming more tulsi will dramatically improve your gut health, and further aid in digestion and weight loss. It is the final piece we recommend to improving your overall gut health.
For further information on the benefits of ginger, cardamom and cloves check out our previous Chai Guide.
“The road to health is paved with good intestines”
-Sherry A. Rogers
Just as the 7 chakras form a bond to regulate the energy that flows through out mind, body and spirit, the nutrients we consume connect and emanate out from our stomach. The solar plexus chakra works to improve self-esteem, giving us feelings of confidence that permeates our entire aura. Taking in spices such as holy basil, paired with the benefits that probiotics can create within our gut, works to alleviate the stress caused by harmful bacteria we accumulate through improper nutrients, which produces an imbalance to our metabolism. This kind of detox can recharge and energize us so that we are able to properly cure the symptoms that prevent us from achieving stability within our gut. Polyphenol antioxidants found in many teas and chais also make an effort to better manage our immune system. By taking back control of the way we introduce nutrients into our body we can affect all aspects of our being. The interconnectedness of these aspects begins in our gut, with what we choose to consume and how it can have a long-lasting effect on our relationship with ourselves. Making good, healthy choices goes a long way in our self-esteem, ability to function at a high level as well as the sustained energy we can achieve when we are tuned to a higher frequency.