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Aug01

Is This Why You’re Still Not Feeling Your Best?

There's something I've been dying to share.

Over the years, I've learned a lot about the key role that a healthy, ancestral diet plays in disease prevention and vibrant health. And while diet is absolutely the cornerstone of a healthy life, there's also another important variable, called low vagal tone.

 

Low vagal tone is often implicated in things like:

  • Anxiety/depression
  • Food sensitivities
  • Brain fog
  • Inflammation
  • Reflux
  • Gut issues (IBS)

Now before you completely tune me out because you think I'm about to get super sciency on you, just know I'm going to keep it simple. Pinky swear. Because you NEED to hear this.

I'll also be sharing some little-known strategies you can implement today to transform your health.

So sit tight, because this information is life changing.

 

What Is Vagal Tone

 

Vagal tone refers to the functioning of an important nerve originating in your brain called the vagus nerve.

It's known as the "wandering nerve" because it travels from your brain, down your neck and through many of your vital organs like your heart, spleen, lungs, digestive system and liver.

 

Why Is The Vagus Nerve So Important?

 

The vagus nerve is important because its job is to calm your organs after a stress response. Basically, the vagus nerve tells your brain…..

“It is safe. You can relax.”

In other words, those with low vagal tone are more susceptible to chronic stress and those with higher vagal tone can roll with the punches.

Given that our modern lives are inherently stressful, and experts believe between 60-90% of doctor's visits are caused by unremitting stress, this is EVERYTHING.

 

Research has linked low vagal tone to poor health outcomes like:

  • Elevated blood sugar levels
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Digestive issues
  • Migraines
  • Autism
  • Cancer
  • Tinnitus
  • Alcohol Addiction
  • Leaky Gut
  • Heart Disease
  • Inflammation
  • Mental health issues

 

Research has also shown those with high vagal tone are LESS likely to suffer from the conditions above and more likely to experience:

  • Closeness to others
  • Altruistic behavior
  • The FLOW state

The best part? Even though vagal tone does have a genetic component, by stimulating the vagus nerve on a regular basis you can improve its function. Which means if you want to live a healthy, productive, connection-rich and uber fulfilling life, learn how to improve your vagal tone today!

 

14 Strategies to Increase Vagal Tone

 

1. Breathe Deeply to Increase Vagal Tone

Your head and neck contain neurons with receptors called baroreceptors that transmit messages about your blood pressure to your brain which travels through your vagus nerve to your heart. This lowers blood pressure and heart rate. The more sensitive they are, the more likely they'll be to set the “relaxation chain” in motion.

Deep breathing (in through the nose for a count of 5 and out through the mouth for a count of 5) keeps them sensitive. I've also noticed breathing solely through my nose (i.e. keeping my mouth closed) during workouts improves my vagal tone dramatically. Try it. It's tricky but oh so worth it.

 

2. Try Yoga to Increase Vagal Tone

During my self-experimentation I was SHOCKED by how profoundly yoga affects vagal tone. Even just a few minutes can have a dramatic impact, so rather than having an afternoon snack, find a quiet place and get your down dog on.

 

3. Leverage the power of COLD to Increase Vagal Tone

When your body adjusts to cold temperature it activates the relaxation response. Splash your face with cold water, take a cold shower, try an ice bath or join a Polar Bear Club and experience the benefits instantly.

 

4. Meditate to Increase Vagal Tone

Loving-kindness meditation has been shown to improve vagal tone. Search for it on YouTube and you'll find tons of videos to follow. The only way to fail at meditation is to NOT do it. So do it!

 

5. Consume Probiotic-rich Foods to Increase Vagal Tone

The vagus nerve surveys the contents of the gut for pathogenic bacteria. Therefore, a healthy gut = healthy vagal tone. Take a tablespoon of raw sauerkraut, or one of our 100% Grass Fed Beef Sticks, daily and eat your way to healthy vagal tone.

 

6. Get a Massage to Increase Vagal Tone

Neck massages and foot massages have both been shown to improve HRV. Is there really anything else I need to say? It's for your HEALTH. 

 

7. Gargle Until Your Eyes Water to Increase Vagal Tone

The vagus nerve activates the muscles in the back of your throat when you gargle. So the next time you take a sip, gargle vigorously for 30 seconds. You might also try it after you brush your teeth. It's harder (and more beneficial) than you'd think!

 

8. Fast to Increase Vagal Tone

Intermittent fasting has also been shown to improve vagal tone. So if you're NOT underweight or suffering from amenorrhea or adrenal issues sequester your meals to an 8 hour window (say 9am-5pm) and fast the rest of the day. Do this a few days each week.

 

9. Sleep on Your Right Side to Increase Vagal Tone

Research has shown that lying on your right side increases vagal stimulation while lying on your back decreases it. So at the very least, start your night on the right side.

 

10. Eat Your Seafood to Increase Vagal Tone

The essential fatty acids found in fish lower heart rate and improve vagal tone. So add wild salmon, sardines, and shrimp to your diet a few times each week.

 

11. Consume Fiber to Increase Vagal Tone

Fiber stimulates a hormone (GLP-1) that stimulates the vagus nerve and makes you feel full. Win. Win.

 

12. Poop and Laugh to Increase Vagal Tone

Tensing your stomach muscles stimulates the vagus nerve so do some sit-ups, have a good laugh and keep yourself regular.

 

13. Make some NOISE to Increase Vagal Tone

Using your vocal chords improves vagal tone because they're attached to the vagus nerve. When you're on your way to work find your favorite song and belt it out like nobody's watching. Humming, laughing, talking and chanting will also do the trick.

 

So there you have it! 14 Simple ways to improve your vagal tone and take your health to the next level. And just in case you missed it, our 100% Grass Fed Beef Sticks are a great place to start as they contain 1 billion gut-friendly PROBIOTICS per stick! f you haven’t tried them yet, NOW is the time. And if you have I personally challenge you to a cold shower tomorrow morning.

It’s really not as bad as you’d think and you’ll feel like you just had a STIFF cup of joe:)

Let me know how you feel if you try it!

Happy Paleo-ing!
Autumn Smith & The Paleovalley Team