Nature Seychelles’ Green Health Program was designed by Dr. Nirmal Shah, Nature Seychelles’ CEO, who ensured that a blend yoga, outdoor exercise, eating organic vegetables and fruits, as well as exposure to nature were included in the program because he believed this cocktail would be beneficial to a wide range of people. Now in an interesting twist some unusual new studies are validating this point of view.
New research suggests that the right bacteria in your gut could brighten your mood and perhaps even combat pernicious mental disorders including anxiety and depression. The wrong microbes, however, might lead in a darker direction.
Our microbes (known collectively as the microbiome) are “so innate in who we are,” says gastroenterologist Kirsten Tillisch of UCLA. It is easy to imagine that “they’re controlling us, or we’re controlling them.” But it is becoming increasingly clear that no one is in charge. Instead, “it’s a conversation that our bodies are having with our microbiome,” Tillisch says.
If it turns out that bacteria can influence our brains and behaviors, even if just in subtle ways, it does not mean we are passive vessels at the mercy of our gut residents. Our behavior can influence the microbiome right back.
One of the easiest ways to do so is through eating good healthy food such as yogurt that contain good bacteria and choosing a diet packed with “prebiotic” foods, such as fiber and garlic, onion and asparagus. Prebiotics nourish what are thought to be beneficial microbes, offering a simple way to cultivate the microbiome, and in turn, health.
“My father (Kantilal Jivan Shah) used to make his own yogurt and eat tones of the stuff. He was also a lifelong vegetarian eating a lot of fiber and greens. Of course all his cuisine contained onions and garlic. No wonder he lived a disease free life until he was almost 89,” Shah says. “The new studies shows that we are on the right track with our Green Health Program” he concludes
Combating stress may be another way to change the microbiome, Tillisch and others suspect. Mouse studies have shown that stress, particularly early in life, can change microbial communities, and not in a good way.
She and her colleagues are testing a relaxation technique called mindfulness-based stress reduction to influence the microbiome. In people with gut pain and discomfort, the meditation-based practice reduced symptoms and changed their brains in clinically interesting ways, according to the unpublished work. The researchers suspect that the microbiome was also altered by the meditation.
Nature Seychelles Green Health Program now combines three types of yoga techniques and green exercise all embedded in a natural environment at The Sanctuary in Roche Caiman plus access to organic vegetables and fruits which Green Health members can purchase.
“I am sure that this unique program is stimulating beneficial microbes in the bodies of all the participants just as the new studies seem to indicate, Shah says.