Stress and How it Affects Your Gut
Stress and your gut…you know excessive amounts of stress are bad for you in general. They can also cause serious gut health issues you may not be aware of. Here are some things to know about how stress can be related to your gut health.
How Stress is Linked to Gut Health
When you experience a lot of stress, the brain enters what’s known as “survival mode” which affects how much blood goes to your gut. Over time, long periods of reduced blood flow can lead to the good bacteria in the gut being weakened or damaged. This weakening of the good bacteria allows bad bacteria to multiply in this part of the body. The end result is the weakening of the intestinal lining, which leaves you more susceptible to illness and to nutrient deficiency.
Signs of a Stressed Gut
When your gut is compromised due to stress, it manifests in a variety of ways. Symptoms can include difficulty sleeping, constant upset stomach, diarrhea, lethargy and an increase in cardiovascular issues. Stress can also lead to esophageal spasms, which can lead to nausea and vomiting. Constipation is also a major issue for people with lots of stress. Contrary to popular belief, stress does not cause gastric ulcers or inflammatory bowel disease. Stress can aggravate them though because your gut system can’t maintain the lining it needs to be healthy.
What You Can do About it
Whether or not your gut health is leading to your level of stress, it is time to figure out what you can do about it. The key here is to not only help improve your gut health, but to lower your current stress level as well.
To begin, improve your stress by finding ways to relax and unwind. This might be as simple as taking a warm bath in the evenings, using relaxing essential oils like lavender and chamomile, or simply practicing “self-care” more often.
For your gut, take a close look at your current diet. Remove sugary, fatty and processed foods from your diet, and replace them with healthier options like healthy fats, fruits, and veggies. It’s in your best interest to include more fermented foods in your diet, which provide excellent probiotics. Fermented foods are foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, tempeh, kombucha and yogurt.
For additional probiotics, or if you don’t care for fermented foods, you can also take a supplement each day like Jarrow Probiotics. I also take a prebiotic which helps the probiotice do a better job. Prebiotics are insoluble fiber which feed the probiotic. This is a good idea especially if your current diet is less than optimal.
Consult your health care professional if you feel you need assistance with your gut health or if your stress is severely affecting your quality of life.
Helping you achieve Major Wellness in your life!
Cheryl A Major
Cheryl A Major lives in Westford and is a Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant. Her TV show, Thin Strong Healthy, airs on WestfordCat and is an offshoot of her blog http://ThinStrongHealthy.com Cheryl offers ongoing information, live and online courses and personal health coaching to help you feel better and be healthier. Follow Cheryl on Twitter @CherylAMajor. She is also a full time residential Realtor with Coldwell Banker with more than 25 years experience.
In January, 2020 (that’s now!), Cheryl’s book, “Eat Your Blues Away” will be available in Whole Foods!