What story is your belly telling you? If we listen closely, we can often hear what is deep within our guts and into what our “intuition” is telling us. It is easy to disregard this deep knowing in such a fast paced and distracting world, but it is a vital part of our personal evolution. Two systems that guide this gut response are the nervous system and the immune system. How and why are they connected to the gut?
Our Central Nervous System travels from the brain down through the spinal cord. Radiating out of the spinal cord are more nerves that branch off, called the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS), these extend to all parts of the body including our organs. The PNS houses two systems, the first being the Autonomic Nervous System (involuntary such as digestion, heart beat and breath) which is broken down into the Parasympathetic (rest and digest) and Sympathetic Nervous Systems (fight or flight or freeze). The second system is the Somatic Nervous System (SNS responsible for voluntary actions such as muscular movement). The entirety of the nervous system is deeply affected by sustained stress from injuries, environmental pollution, emotional triggers, or this bizarre year 2020 that we find ourselves deeply embedded.
The Immune System begins in the bone marrow and is everywhere throughout the body in the skin, lymphatic system, bloodstream, lymph nodes and spleen. It has been found that it is highly affected by the health of our bellies. The immune system is also deeply affected by the fight, flight or freeze response of the sympathetic nervous system, again insert 2020 and all its chaos here.
Dr Chopra is a neuroendocrinologist ( a medical doctor that specializes in the study of brain chemistry) and for years studied the connection of the consciousness with the physical body. His beginning research was around the molecules of emotion, made in the brain, such as oxytocin (love), serotonin (mood regulator), and dopamine (happiness). It was found that the immune systems T, B and Macrofage cells have receptors that make these exact same peptides/chemicals. The idea that there is this similarity between the nervous system and the immune system, lead by emotional chemicals, thus influencing our ability to make a decision ties into what we know in our guts to be true. The “gut”, and immune system being easier to listen to because it has not evolved enough to doubt choices, like the brain/nervous system has. Mind blown!! If I am not doing this information enough justice I highly recommend reading Dr Chopras book Quantum Healing.
With information such as this, we might be able to better understand how developing the practice of listening to our “gut instinct” is an important part of listening deeply within. Calming the mind and then asking it a question, while pausing, and really deeply listening to your body can help you to get clarity in the pureness of silence.
What does this have to do with nutrition? A gut filled with healthy nutrients can support the immune system, better support the nervous system and can open up the channels to hearing what your gut has to say. I myself have in the last four years, recovered from a spinal cord injury and have really felt the effects of an injured nervous system. I also am a person without a spleen, and have constantly worked to build an immune system that is supporting my body. Something that has helped me to heal my gut health from these two “healing crises” has been smoothies and herbal teas. Why not put them together into an herbal smoothie that can both bring nutrients to the gut, while supporting the immune system and calming the nervous system. All this to support our bodies in sifting through the external noise, helping us to go inward, to successfully listen to our intuition!
Follow this link to recipes and you will find 3 delicious smoothies!