I want to talk with you today about how important your gut health is for having a healthy, balanced mood and easing anxiety.
Quick reminder first that I’ll be co-hosting a free online class on Natural Solutions to Inflammation with Maverick Chiropractic & Wellness Sept 21st. You can find the details and sign up link here.
You may be familiar, from past newsletters of mine, with the gut-brain axis. Your brain and gut communicate with each other through neural (nerve), endocrine (hormones), and immune pathways.
In fact, the enteric nervous system (ENS) is also known as the body’s “second brain.” It controls certain gastrointestinal functions and constantly keeps in touch with the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).
Your brain affects your gut and your gut affects your brain.
When you are anxious, whether due to a frightening event or chronic stress, stress hormones cause a disruption to your digestion. Stress hormones lead to destruction of friendly flora and overgrown of pathogenic flora in your gut microbiome, causing dysbiosis and a number of gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea.
The other way around, since the gut and brain talk to each other, your mood and behavior and how you manage stress and anxiety depend on your gut health, particularly the health of your gut microbiome. Studies have led to the emerging concept that modulating gut microbiota may be a strategy in curing disorders of the nervous system.
There’s still more to research involving this connection, but in the March 2020 issue of the Human Microbiome Journal, a new study in humans found that a lower microbiome diversity and altered composition is linked to increased levels of stress and anxiety.
That is evidence speaking for itself–that if you want to reduce stress and anxiety, one way to do it is through your gut. Treat your gut better by doing these four basics. Yes, these are pretty basic (I bet you know them already!), but basic they may be, they are often taken for granted and therefore are powerful when done consistently.
1. Sleep well and exercise.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, you need at least 7 hours of sleep every night if you want to get its maximum benefits. Since it powers the mind, restores our depleted energy, and fortifies every system of the body, it is essential for health and keeps your gut healthy, too.
Don’t miss exercise as well. Keep moving. Those who exercise have more diverse gut microbiota, and that is our goal.
2. Manage stress and anxiety.
Stressors are constantly in our lives. It seems that they’re not going anywhere. However, we can choose how to deal with them so that they won’t damage our gut microflora, which in turn increases anxiety.
HeartMath, yoga, journaling, painting, talk therapy, and meditation are some of the techniques that ease stress. Doing one daily can help you cope with stress and anxiety.
3. Take probiotics.
Did you know that your gut microbes also make neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) that regulate your feelings of fear, anxiety, and stress?
But if your gut microbiome is thrown out of balance, the production of these neurotransmitters is affected and results in high anxiety and stress levels. This is where probiotics enter the picture.
Probiotics–either through supplements or food such as yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha–will help restore the diversity your gut microbiome.
4. Eat the food your gut loves.
Remember that you are what you eat (and absorb–digestion matters!). So if you want a healthy gut, eat foods that make the gut happy: fresh, local, colorful, fiber-rich produce (vegetables, leafies, and fruits) and a mixture of high quality protein and fat. Cut back on alcohol and processed and sugary foods since they destroy your gut microbiome and lead to mood imbalance.
I hope that this newsletter reminds you how powerful these basics are and that by taking action to integrate them, you experience more ease in your day to day.
It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.
If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!
Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).
Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!