By Meilinda Sutanto
Certified Health Coach
Institute of Integrative Nutrition, New York
If you’re stressed, so is your gut. Stress negatively impacts many aspects of our health including physical, mental, and even gut health.
Your microbiome doesn’t just affect your intestines, it influences other organs, including your brain. If you’re feeling stressed out, your microbes can feel it too. It can even decrease the abundance of important probiotic bacteria like Lactobacillus.
Keeping beneficial bacteria at healthy levels can even improve your resilience to adversity. That’s because your gut microbes influence stress levels and mood hormones. Alleviate your stress by avoiding unnecessarily demanding situations, and try some techniques like breathing exercises and meditation.
Do you know that If you have unresolved trauma or stress, you are more likely to have a gut disorder. The vagus nerve is the 2-way communicator between the gut and the brain. 80% of it fibres run from the stomach up to the brain. Chronic adversity & trauma inhibit the stress-reducing effects of the vagus nerve, impacting your gut & your ability to regulate your emotions. When anxiety activates the fight-or-flight system, digestion slows down. This leads to poor gut motility and constipation. Anxiety also makes the stomach more acidic and unhealthy microbes thrive in this environment.
During self-isolation / stay home period, feeling anxious, worry and fear will add to our pre-existing triggers that will jeopardize our health. (emotions bottled up, denied or suppressed) If left unchecked, this condition can lead dangerous disturbances in bowel movement such as constipation or diarrhea among others. Learn to self-diagnose your health from home through your daily bowel movement and poop profile. Learn practical tool to care for your digestive and emotional health. Sometimes sh*t happens in our lives in order for shift to happen
Chewing is the first step of digestion. Mindful eating helps digestion. Reminder for the fast eater & multi-tasker eater out there. When we are busy or rushing, we tend to eat while working or watching tv, as a result, foods are not chewed properly and we tend to overeat because we are not aware of the signal our bodies send us when they are full. Want to improve your digestion? Chew your food, eat slowly and take 4 deep breaths before you start eating to signal your body to relax.
Also another tip for you, being healthy is also as simple as reading the ingredient on the back of your grocery. Rule of thumb: if you cannot pronounce and recognize the ingredient, put it back. Stick to as much as non-processed food. Fresh is always best, organic is better.