Stimulating the Vagus nerve can have transformative health benefits, from lifting stress to boosting digestion. Sounds good, right? Luckily, there are a number of ways to hack this nerve – and we’ll be sharing 3 of these ways to stimulate the Vagus nerve, plus a few dangerous ways sugar hijacks the system.
The Vagus nerve plays a vital role in regulating a number of bodily functions, from digestion to heart rate and respiration. It’s also a significant contributor to our mental wellbeing. So, if you’re keen to boost your health, here’s how to stimulate the Vagus nerve.
One of the simplest ways to stimulate the Vagus nerve is through deep breathing – and it costs nothing! You can do it anywhere and at any time. The Vagus nerve helps regulate our breathing, so when we breathe deeply, we activate this nerve and stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system – what this does is to help reduce mental health symptoms of stress and anxiety. Here’s how to do it: Sit in a comfortable position and take a deep breath in through your nose, filling your lungs. Hold the breath for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this process a few times, focusing on your breath.
Meditation is another effective way to stimulate the Vagus nerve, and we already know this activity can reduce stress and anxiety. It also activates the parasympathetic nervous system and relaxes our minds. To meditate, find a quiet place to sit or lie down and start by breathing deeply and focusing on your breath. As thoughts come up, acknowledge them and then let them go – contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to ignore thoughts. This can simply make you more stressed, instead, notice them and then move on.
Exposing your body to cold temperatures, like that of a cold shower, is another easy way to stimulate the Vagus nerve. When your body is exposed to cold temperatures, the nerve then activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps reduce stress and inflammation. Start with short periods of exposure and gradually increase the time as your body adjusts – you might also consider just dipping your face in cold water if a shower is too much.
But it’s not just about what you do, it’s about what you don’t do – or eat. Our diet can have a significant impact on the function of the Vagus nerve, and one particular food that can negatively affect its function is sugar. One of the most problems sugar creates for the Vagus nerve is its interference with the nerve’s ability to send and receive signals. When blood-sugar levels are unstable, the resulting inflammation can damage the nerve fibres and communication systems between the Vagus nerve and the corresponding organs, including those of the digestive system. Some may find they experience bloating, gas and constipation as a result. But excess sugar can also affect the Vagus nerve’s ability to regulate our mood as it plays a role in regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, both of which are essential to mental health. Consuming excessive amounts of sugar can cause a rush of these neurotransmitters, leading to a sugar high and then a crash, which can lead to mood swings, irritability and anxiety. But we know quitting sugar isn’t always as easy as simply saying we’ll quit. It’s no secret that a sugar habit is a tough one to beat – wherever you go, sugar is there. Unlike ditching alcohol, there are few places where sugar is unwelcome. From birthday parties and functions to the office pantry, Sunday markets and the supermarket. Is it any wonder that so many of us find it hard to quit the stuff? That’s why it can also help to join a program like ours – our 8-Week Program is based on accountability, support and providing the essential resources to set you up for success. We’ll help you change the way you look at food – and that doesn’t mean you have to follow restrictive diets or miss out on your favourite foods; we believe you can still enjoy delicious food without jeopardising your health.
With celebrity chef Sarah Glover on our panel of experts, you’ll have an array of fun recipes at your fingertips, along with our own exclusive armoury of simple, tasty and healthy recipes for everything from daily meals to impressive entertaining. We’ve also got nutritionists, personal trainers and naturopaths in our team of experts, and they understand what our bodies need and how to best arm ourselves against those cravings. So, if you’ve been having a little trouble keeping that sugar addiction at bay, we’re here to help. We know it can be hard to stick to your health goals – especially when you’re trying to manage it alone. When you sign up with us, you’ll have access to clear-cut meal plans, community support and exclusive access to our sugar-free content. Here’s what’s on offer:
- 8 weeks of meal plans and shopping lists.
- 90+ member-only recipes.
- Community forums to share your journey.
- Support and guidance from the I Quit Sugar team.
- Exclusive content from our panel of experts.
So, if you’re ready to ditch sugar and the host of maladies that come with it, it’s not too late to join. We’d love to help you get started on your health journey. Sign up HERE today!