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Singers’ Gut Health

“All diseases begin in the gut.” – Hippocrates

Fair enough. But the most surprising thing of all is that this wasn’t fully researched until 2006 (are you kiddin’ me!? – I get so frustrated 😦 ), when O’Hara and Shanahan recognised the gut bacteria as a living organ and said it was responsible for all the major health issues of the human body. Oh finally. I can’t believe that humankind (and I suspect this is one of those glitches in Western history) has been living without allowing this to be common knowledge (because then, where is all the information and good practice passed on down the centuries, throughout the civilizations? – go and check for example Dr. Sebi‘s research and all the other discredited/silenced wise people/witches/healers in history).

Anyway, what we’re addressing here is how important it is – think holistically – the connection between our gut and our brain/emotions/nervous system. We find – yet again – that nothing in this world, nothing in our bodies, is isolated. When we come to life our gut is sterile, and as we grow it changes with habits, food, surroundings, making our gut as unique as the individuals we become. So what’s good for me might not be as good for you. Also, the gut functions as another brain called the Enteric Nervous System. This is actually one of the main divisions of the autonomic nervous system, and it consists of a network of neurons that governs the gut. Thanks to it, the gut sends messages (see vagus nerve) to the brain via our hormones. So what happens in our gastrointestinal tract (i.e. what we ingest) directly affects our brain response/mood/emotions/chemical reactions. Therefore the quality of our bacteria will determine the quality of our mood and our illnesses!

flora-brain

As singers, our emotions are always on the surface. We have to make sure our digestive tract is healthy in order to cope with the massive amounts of adrenaline, serotonin, dopamine and the whole lot (see my article on Hormones here) that trigger the emotions we feel and project. As a mind-blowing fact, bear in mind that 95% of our serotonin is produced in the gut! no wonder we feel butterflies in our stomach when we are excited! 🙂  So feed yourself accordingly so that you don’t get depressed by eating wrong stuff. The better you eat, the quicker your body will get used to being healthy and the less cravings you’ll have for junk food. The wrong (or lack of) type of flora (i.e. bacteria) will also lead to inflammation (linked to insulin resistance), which is the response of the immune system to foreign invaders, and it is the leading driver of some of the world’s most serious diseases (diabetes, CV diseases, cancer, asthma, arthritis, Alzheimer, cholesterol, Parkinson’s…)

There are so many good articles on the internet where you can inform yourself and test what works for you and what doesn’t, but as a general guideline, to preserve your gut in good condition and to avoid inflammation (and you can also refer to my Pre-Singing Food article here), I recommend:

DO NOT EAT:

  • charcuterie / high fat meats / meats with unknown or dubious origin
  • sugars
  • cereals / grains
  • processed and fried foods
  • pulses (except for chickpeas)
  • peanuts
  • sweet fruits or unseeded fruits
  • canned foods
  • ice on drinks
  • natural juices from sweet fruits
  • dairy in traditional forms (butter, milk, cheese…)
  • do not use the microwave to heat your food – it will kill all the nutrients

DO NOT EAT - Singers' Gut

DO EAT:

  • bone broth (homemade)
  • apple cider vinegar
  • garlic
  • coconut oil
  • fermented foods like sauerkraut and cultured dairy
  • green veggies (all)
  • flax and chia seeds
  • turmeric, ginger and cinnamon
  • low fat organic, trusted meats
  • drink plenty of spring water (3-4 litres per day)

DO EAT Gut Foods Singers Yes

According to this medicine journal, the particular bacteria in the larynx (and the vast diversity of bacteria spectrum in each individual in general) hasn’t been properly researched in terms of its influence in the vocal cord function.  So we are still at nappies stage here. I can’t do it (mind you, I could, but then I wouldn’t be able to dedicate my time to singing, instructing fitness classes and writing these blogs), so could you all nice scientists/medical researchers out there help out a bit on this? 🙂 We need to stop doctors prescribing antibiotics to everyone with a mild bronchitis or flu and start tackling disease in the right way, from its root (food+emotions=energy). We should know better by now!

Recommended read: The Carb Sensitivity Program by Dr. Natasha Turner

More articles on the internet:

https://www.prebiotin.com/prebiotin-academy/what-are-prebiotics/prebiotics-vs-probiotics/

http://www.grassrootsphysicaltherapy.com/physical-therapy-treatment/2017/9/26/gut-flora-and-its-connection-to-our-health

https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/the-gut-brain-connection

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/feb/11/gut-biology-health-bacteria-future-medicine

https://yurielkaim.com/highly-alkaline-foods/