Does your gut need a de-stress?

Does your gut need a de-stress?

28 August 2023

Ever wonder why you get “butterflies” in your stomach before doing something stressful? Or, why you feel like your stomach is “tied into knots” after an argument?

The gut is often referred to as “the second brain” due to the presence of an extensive network of neurons and neuro transmitters. The gut-brain connection is bidirectional, which means that our emotions can affect our gut, but our gut can also affect our emotions.

When we are stressed our bodies go into fight or flight mode and this has a profound impact on gut health. The body prepares itself for emergencies by releasing adrenaline and cortisol, which shunts blood away from the digestive system so that the body can divert all its energy to facing a perceived threat. This causes the digestive process to slow down or be temporarily disrupted, causing abdominal pain and other symptoms. The body’s response to stress also reduces the production of the protective mucus in the gut which could have a knock-on effect on nutrient production and bacterial populators.

Although stress is a normal part of life and impossible to avoid, the good news is that you can manage your stress so that it reduces its impact on your stomach.

Here are a few tips on how to reduce stress and support gut health:

  • Make a form of mindfulness part of your day. Stop what you’re doing when you’re feeling overwhelmed and do a minute of slow deep breathing. You’ll be amazed at the results. Your breathing should be slow, silent, and through your nose.
  • Just say “no.” Know your limits and when you’re close to reaching them, don’t accept additional responsibilities.
  • Include fermented foods that contain probiotics on a daily basis. Kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, and yogurt are good sources, or take a probiotic to boost good bacteria.
  • Include prebiotics. Cabbage, garlic and onions are good sources. Also, matcha has been touted for both its ability to reduce stress and support gut health.
  • Keep your sugar intake low. Bad bacteria thrive on sugar and refined carbs. Get your carbs from veggies and fruit. Eat lean proteins and healthy fats. Real foods will support the body in culturing good bacteria.
  • Be careful with food sensitivities. They will increase inflammation and damage the intestinal tract. The BIG FIVE culprits include: gluten, dairy, eggs, soy and nuts. If you’re chronically stressed you may find it difficult to eat high fibre foods, so increase fibre slowly alongside your probiotic not to overwhelm your system.
  • Boost and maximise your gutbrain axis. Include oily fish, blueberries, rosemary, cauliflower, pumpkin seeds, legumes and extra virgin oil to do just that.
  • Don’t overuse antibiotics. Antibiotics deplete all gut bacteria, including the beneficial strains.
  • Take care of your mouth hygiene. Everything that enters your mouth ends up in your gut. Keep your mouth healthy by flossing and brushing regularly. Stay away from aggressive mouthwash products or toothpaste that’s heavy on whitening.

Your gut is more than just a digestive organ. It is a delicate and diverse ecosystem that is an essential part of your physical and emotional well-being.

Isn’t it time to show it some love?


DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.

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