Meditation could help improve your gut health

We’re often told how much meditation can benefit our mental health – from calming anxiety to reducing stress. But it seems the practice might have a noticeable

physical impact on our guts, too. A study, recently published in BMJ General Psychiatry, studied Tibetan Buddhist monks as well as local residents and found that those

who practiced regular meditation had ‘significantly enriched’ gut bacteria. This means those who did meditate had a better gut microbiome than individuals who

didn’t. The two good forms of gut bacteria – Megamonas and Faecalibacterium – found in the study are linked to a lower risk of anxiety, depression, and heart disease,

and have also been associated with an ‘enhanced immune function.’ Blood samples also showed the monks had lower cholesterol levels than the control group. As a

result, researchers for the study concluded: ‘Long-term traditional Tibetan Buddhist meditation may positively impact physical and mental health. ‘Overall, these results

suggest that meditation plays a positive role in psychosomatic conditions and wellbeing.’ This also supports previous studies (such as a 2017 meta-analysis) which showed

that while stress can disrupt gut function, meditation can help regulate the body’s response to stress.