Happy tummies, happy minds: Power of meditation and diet on your gut and mood

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A Peek into Your Gut

Have you ever heard about your gut being your “second brain”?

It might sound weird, but scientists are finding more and more clues that the bacteria in your gut might be talking to your brain and affecting how you feel.

These tiny critters produce things called metabolites, which are like little messages sent from your gut to your brain.

The Power of Peace: Meditation

People have been meditating for thousands of years. Meditation is a practice that helps people stay calm and focused.

It has been known to help reduce stress, anxiety, and feelings of sadness. But can meditation also help the bacteria in your gut? That’s a question scientists wanted to answer.

The Study: Meditation, Vegan Diet, and Your Gut

In this experiment, scientists studied 288 people. Half of them were preparing for a big meditation program called “Samyama”.

This involved two months of daily yoga and meditation, along with eating a special diet. This diet was vegan (meaning no animal products at all) and 50% of it was made up of raw foods.

The other half of the people didn’t do anything special. They just went about their daily lives as usual.

The scientists asked all these people to give stool samples (yes, poop!) at three different times – two months before the meditation program, right before the program, and three months after the program.

They used these samples to study the bacteria in their gut.

What Did They Find?

When the scientists studied the bacteria, they found some interesting things.

They noticed that the type of bacteria didn’t change much between the people who meditated and those who didn’t. This is called alpha diversity.

But they did notice that the overall makeup of bacteria, or what’s called beta diversity, did change in those who meditated.

They had different types of bacteria living together in their gut after the meditation program.

They also found changes in the little messages, or metabolites, that these bacteria were producing.

In particular, they saw changes in certain types of metabolites called short-chain fatty acids. These are important because they provide energy for our gut and help keep it healthy.

What Does This All Mean?

This study showed that practicing meditation and eating a vegan diet could change the bacteria in your gut.

Even three months after the big meditation program, people still had beneficial bacteria in their gut.

So, what’s next? Well, scientists think this is pretty cool. But they also know they have a lot more to learn.

They want to keep studying this to better understand how our diet, our thoughts, and our gut bacteria are all connected.

They’re especially interested in how this might affect our mood. So, stay tuned for more exciting discoveries in this field!

The study was published in BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies.

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