And why bitter is good!
Did you know that as our bodies transition through menopause our guts naturally produce less stomach acid? Falling oestrogen impacts our bodies in so many ways. And the changes that can occur in our gut can be responsible for new food intolerances, gassiness, bloating, IBS-symptoms and acid reflux too.
How we digest stress can present additional pressure on our stomachs in midlife. It can inhibit our ability to absorb nutrients. It can impact our ability to maintain a healthy weight. Critically, our gut, when it functions optimally, is responsible for up to 95% of the production of serotonin. Changes in our serotonin level can have a significant impact on how we feel, how we sleep - low serotonin levels may even contribute to the reduction of bone density in our bodies.
So, how can we support our guts in menopause?
1. Be bitter!: The tastes on our tongue send messages to our central nervous system. And bitter tastes prime our bodies for digestion. When we taste something bitter, our saliva production increases, as a result of the nervous system triggering the release of the stomach hormone gastrin. This in turn tells our internal organs to perform and wakes up movement in our intestines. All of these actions help us extract maximum nutritional value from what we’re consuming.
Those of you that have introduced the MPowder nutritional foundational range into your routines will know that these functional blends have a bitter taste. For some, the functional flavours of Peri-Boost and Meno-Boost can get a little bit of getting used to.. But by blending our whole foods, botanicals, vitamins and minerals in their pure form, without flavour masks or artificial sweeteners, we’re able to ensure your body gets the most back. So start your day bitter! Your body and mind will thank you for it.
2. Up your intake of probiotic and prebiotic whole foods: There has been a large and valuable focus on probiotics in the last 2 years. And it’s becoming easier to find great fermented options that deliver a great probiotic punch on our supermarket shelves. Many, like kombucha and kimchi, are surprisingly easy to make at home. But it is also important not to neglect prebiotics in your diet. For a prebiotic boost, look to leafy and cruciferous vegetables as well as olive oil.
Cacao, one of the key ingredients in our Peri-Boost blend, is considered to be a prebiotic -as well as containing probiotic qualities in its raw form. We blend it with Moringa, which also contains prebiotic qualities. Meno-Boost is also a great source of prebiotic goodness. Blended with slippery elm it ensures your body can extract optimal goodness from the other ingredients in our blend.
3. Chew more than you want to!: In Ayurveda, slow and thorough chewing is seen as a cornerstone of good digestive health. By chewing more, we break down our food, but we also let our digestive enzymes do their job well.
Chewing more can have the halo effect of making us take more time with our food, and more time experiencing it. Mindful eating is having a moment - and like all moments, has many meanings depending on who you talk to. But, by staying present when we’re eating, we have the opportunity to listen to our body and what it needs. We’re more likely to reach for nourishment than convenience. And we’re more likely to hear when it’s full.
Interestingly, there is also growing research that a scheduled moment of meditation, before a meal, can calm our minds and also support our gut. This weekend, why not give it a go? A first step in nourishing your gut. Before you pick up the cutlery, simply sit. Shut your eyes. Focus on your breath. Take a body scan and establish how you’re feeling. Then return to the breath as it slows. Feel it nourish you from within before the food touches your lips. Then…open your eyes to the colours and textures on your plate. And allow yourself to enjoy every bite.
With love, the MPowder Team.