More and more research is finding that the brain and the gut communicate directly. That means emotions and cognitive function affect the intestine and vice versa. Thus, stress can wreak havoc on your gut, and your gut health can affect stress levels, which brings up the question: how can you keep both your gut and your stress levels healthy? Here are four things that the people over at Mindbodygreen say you should do to improve the stress-gut connection.
First: Remove inflammatory foods. Begin with an anti-inflammatory diet that removes the primary irritants: corn, soy, gluten, dairy, and sugar. If you are still dealing with symptoms of digestive stress or inflammatory response, consider an elimination diet or advanced blood testing.
Second: Rest your gut. When you are in a state of stress, your body functions in the fight-or-flight response rather than rest-and-digest. Beyond the influences already covered, this can mean fewer digestive enzymes are produced, leaving the gut prone to large particle impact as well as gut permeability. If you have a big life change or high-stress event, consider resting your gut and doing a day of bone broth with optional cooked protein added.
Third: Incorporate more therapeutic foods. Focus on healing your gut lining by adding therapeutic foods to support the absorption of nutrients and reduce inflammatory reactions. These include fermented foods such as kombucha and others that are rich in gelatin and collagen.
Fourth: Try a mantra. Work with mantra and mind state. Focus on being present and releasing what “is not” what “should be” or what “might be.” Even beginning with, “I am safe” or “I am” while practicing breathing can send a signal to the vagus nerve to support gut health and microbiome balance.