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The importance of breath and its effects on digestion

The importance of breath and its effects on digestion

importance of breath and its effects on digestion

Breathing is literally at our core and is one of the most basic functions that we carry out.  Breathing is important for many reasons, from fuelling the body with oxygen to clearing a hazy mind.

That being said, how often do you actually stop and pay attention to your breath?  Probably not very often.  Studies have shown countless benefits of taking time to focus on your breath, so read on to find out more.

Benefits of focusing on your breath

Every part of our body relies on oxygen in order to function optimally.  Effective breathing can help you sleep better, provide enhanced mental clarity, reduce stress levels and can even improve your immune response.

Deep breathing is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress and relax.

How breathing affects gut health

Few people know of the link between breathing and gut health but it’s such a key pillar that’s important to be aware of.

Often when we’re stressed we will take short, shallow breaths and this is not ideal for our digestive system.  These shallow breaths are caused by the ‘fight or flight’ response, which is an evolutionary trait we still acquire and causes adrenaline to be pumped all around the body.  Breathing quickens to flow more blood throughout the body to the muscles, but this in turn compromises the blood flow to other body systems (like the digestive system).

Consequently, frequent periods of stress will hamper the functions of the digestive system and increase the chances of inflammation.  Gut health will be reduced and this has knock on effects to the immune system, our mental health and much more!

Therefore, deep breathing can be a great way to reduce stress, relieve anxieties and increase oxygen supply to all areas of the body.

Breathing tips and tricks

Breathing seems pretty obvious, right?  I mean we’ve been doing it since birth!  But it turns out that there can actually be a bit of a technique to the most effective way of breathing.  I’ve listed out some of my top tips and tricks below:

  • Firstly think about your posture – sitting up straight allows air to get deep into the lungs so that they can expand efficiently and quickly.  So when you’re sitting at your desk, think about your posture, sit up straight and notice the difference.

  • Interestingly, most people only exhale 70% of the carbon dioxide in their lungs.  Therefore, try exhaling all of this out and then take a deep breath in to replenish your oxygen supply.

  • Try out abdominal breathing as a way to destress and relax:

1. Sit or lie down with one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach

2. Breathe in through your nose for two seconds and let the air enter your stomach (your should feel your stomach hand rising and minimal movement to your chest hand)

3. Exhale slowly for two seconds (you should feel the hand on your stomach lower)

4. Repeat for 10-15 minutes

Abdominal breathing can improve health by helping our organs take in more oxygen, but also through its relaxing effect, helping to relieve feelings of stress and anxiety.

We’ve got several breath work IGTVs which I really recommend giving a go – find them here!

Yours truly, 

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