If you're wondering whether or not deep breathing can help improve your digestive system and weight loss efforts, you've come to the right place.
The short answer is yes.
There are multiple reasons why a deep breathing habit can assist you in improving gut health and releasing unwanted weight.
1) Deep breathing takes us out of "fight and flight" and into "rest and digest" mode.
Many of us tend to be in a constant "fight and flight" mode. This can happen over time due to stress, anxiety, sedentary lifestyles, asthma, and COPD to name a few. The body's digestive system will slow down because it is trying to conserve energy and effectively deal with the external stresses that we are facing in life. This can result in digestive issues such as irritable bow syndrome, weight gain, gastro, and leaky gut.
On the other hand, when your body is in "rest and digest" mode, it allows your digestive system to function properly. A parasympathetic state (aka rest and digest mode) increases the flow of saliva and bile. When there is adequate blood flow, food is efficiently transported through the gut. Your metabolism will speed up and process food more effectively.
Rest and digest mode can be activated through deep breathing and will prepare your body to enter the optimal state for food digestion. Practice breathing for a few minutes before you sit down to eat. The Hā tool can aid you in activating the relaxation state and also serves as a reminder to slow down.
2) Deep breathing can help you interrupt the habit of overeating.
It's common to develop eating habits that don't serve us, for example, overeating. This can be due to emotional eating, mindless eating, stress eating, processed food malnutrition, or dieting cycles. Whatever the reason, breathing can be a tool for interrupting habits such as mindlessly eating or overindulging in food. While habits can be hard to interrupt at first, the more you practice breathing as an alternative to overeating, you will start to rewire the brain. The beauty of using the breath is that you always have it on you. If you need help developing a breathing habit, the Hā Tool is perfect for this.
3) Deep breathing helps decrease stress associated with weight gain.
When the body is under stress, several things can happen that make it more likely to gain weight:
- When your body is in a stressed state, a hormone called cortisol is released into the body which can increase your appetite.
- Stress can cause digestive issues which makes it difficult to recognise hunger or fullness cues, hence causing a person to overeat.
- Stress is also known to impact our food preferences. For example, research suggests that we are more likely to eat foods high in sugar and fat when we are stressed, which can also lead to weight gain.
Taking the above into consideration, it's important to be able to shift your state as quickly and easily as possible from stress to calm throughout the day. Deep breathing is one of the most powerful tools for calming the body and mind.
To find out more about how you can develop a breathing habit that will assist in improving your gut health and weight loss efforts, check out our website and learn how to practice a daily breathing habit for optimal health.