The saying ‘the way to a man’s heart is though his stomach’ couldn’t be more befitting for this month’s blog post. In actual fact this isn’t gender specific as we ladies can just as easily be wooed with a delicious meal…just saying chaps. Since its Valentine’s day love might very much be on the brain but as per this old saying there is much to say about how our gut likes a bit of adoration. We do know that there is a two-way relationship between the gut and the brain. Yes those butterflies in the tummy for that anticipated date are real! And whilst you might not think of the gut as having much sex appeal, from a hormonal perspective it has a pretty significant influence there too. Let’s just say your gut has its own sexy side as well so if you want to play the true romantic this Valentine’s, then give your gut some love back too!
Speak the language of love
Believe it or not the gut can also react to the internal monologue we give ourselves. There is nothing new in the fact that stress and anxiety have been strongly associated with conditions such as IBS, whereas creating positive thinking through practises such as meditation may have benefits on reducing symptoms. Therefore, the more we are in negative thought patterns this can have an impact on our gut just as much as the foods we are eating. Quite often we can have a very different voice in our heads to the one that we might project to the outer world. Some of the hurtful and downright brutal things we might say to ourselves in any given one day we wouldn’t dream of saying to another person. In the theme of the language of love, let’s try to use that also on our self-chat to one that is positive, caring and thoughtful. It isn’t easy to start with because it might be changing very old behaviour traits but try to catch those negative thoughts and beating up oneself before they spiral and become incessant. Instead focus on what you like about yourself and celebrate that DAILY. Even one positive self-affirmation a day can soon add up and in turn makes for a general overall better self-worth. Try to also focus on what you do want and not what you don’t want. You’ll be surprised on how many of us can list off what we don’t want but have to think long and hard about what we REALLY want. Try it and see how you feel. Real love starts with appreciating ourselves first and it has the gut somewhat swooning too believe me.
Cherish your time
Rushing has become synonymous with our fast-paced lifestyles, which is part of the excitement and exhilaration of life more generally. Of course, we all enjoy and indeed need a bit of that to give us the mojo and the motivation to get things done, but there is also a need to have the flip reverse of that too. Essentially having time to wind down, rest and value time to ourselves and loved ones too. Meal times used to be for that very purpose in many ways but we have somewhat lost that part of our routine, and to the detriment of our gut health too. Inhaling food without even looking at it a lot of the time with zero chewing action can create gut symptoms such as reflux or bloating irrespective of the foods that we are eating so taking a bit more time, care and attention to our meals can have a marked impact on how we digest. Switching off the devices and spending your energy on other people’s Instagram feeds rather than focusing on yourself and the plate in front of you is one significant way to avoid the stream of incessant info that invariably makes you feel pretty down beat afterwards. Instead make your mealtimes a celebration of sorts so if you are at home then sit at a table, cutlery and even get a snazzy napkin involved. If you are at work then taking 10-15 minutes away from the desk or even just not engaging with emails and phones can give you the time to sit and be present. Your gut will love you for it too.
Give some love back to your gut
It’s official eating and gifting for the gut can be amorous. Yup the gut loves a glass or two of bubbles, chocolate and its own type of roses. Albeit this would ideally be in the form of kombucha aka “champagne for the gut” that through the process of fermentation creates its fizz and a host of beneficial bacteria. If that’s not your thing then you’ll be pleased to know that even champers and wine can be a hit for the gut too as they are thought to contain polyphenols that support gut health (in moderation of course!). Valentine’s Day also wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without a beautiful box of chocolates. In this case our gut is rather more partial to the dark chocolate due to the higher polyphenol content. Our microbes love the stuff and it can indeed help them to flourish too. Topping it off nicely would be receiving a nice bunch of flowers. In this case our gut ‘garden’ likes to culture an ongoing blooming bed of roses in the form of probiotic ‘seeds’ so think of your morning SYMPROVE shot as a daily romantic gesture for the gut too.
Aside from foods gifting the gut can extend to creating your own food to show your love and appreciation. That’s also a way to demonstrate to yourself that you are worth the effort. Now that’s not always going to be the case but we have all felt the positive satisfaction from having nailed making a dish and in variably it also tastes better most of the time too. We certainly tend to take a bit more time to eat and appreciate it. And if your partner is the lucky recipient it might also have them falling into your arms quicker than you think.