Mindful Eating and the Gut
There is a connection between your gut health and the practice of mindful eating. Let's take a deep dive into this.
What is mindful eating?
Mindful eating is a specific eating practice where you take special thought about what and how you eat. It involves increasing your body awareness and thought about how you feel before, during, and after each meal. It is important to be non-judgemental with your awareness and to trust your hunger and satiety cues. Basically, just listen to what your body is telling you! If you are still feeling very hungry after a snack, take note and think – why? If your stomach is feeling bloated after a meal – think about what in the meal is not making your digestion happy.
After implementing a mindful eating practice, you should have a better understanding of what food, and eating times make you feel best mentally and physically.
Mindful eating also involves being fully present while eating (put those screens away!) and eating your meals with others and/or in an enjoyable environment. Eat slowly and cherish each bite!
How does it connect to the gut?
The mindful eating processes of eating slowly, being calm and mindful, as well as paying attention to bodily cues can have a big impact on your digestion.
A study in the Integrative Medicine: A Clinician's Journal showed how mindful eating practices regulate the body’s stress response. This allows for improved digestion through a variety of functions such as better awareness to eating practices and hunger and satiety cues and maintained activation of the parasympathetic nervous system (which is needed for optimal digestive function).
Also, mindful eating involves eating slowly and a tip to do so is chewing each bite very well. Better chewing results in your food being broken into smaller pieces which are then easier digested.
In another study, improvements with functional dyspepsia were found in those using a mindfulness-based intervention. Functional dyspepsia is chronic indigestion, where you have constant bloating, fullness, or stomachache.
Try implementing some mindful eating practices into your life and see how your gut health improves.
Mindful eating is a big part of our Eat by Alex mindfulness philosophy. Food is medicine and if you understand the power of your eating practices you will unlock the full potential of your health!
Read more about our philosophies here.