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How to Manage Anxiety through Gut Health

It’s normal to become anxious when there is something you fear or when you face an unfamiliar situation (like this pandemic!). Your fight-or-flight response gets activated and so your breathing quickens and gets more shallow, your heart rate increases…these 2 reactions alone can lead to feeling anxious!

While this anxiety response is normal every now and then, anxiety disorder is a whole other story. It happens when a person stays in fight-flight and fails to go back to the rest-and-digest response. When this happens, the feeling of anxiety interferes with a person’s daily life so much that it feels very challenging to maintain even basic well-being and productivity.


 
There are a lot of things that can trigger anxiety: A traumatic experience, health problems, work or personal relationships, financial stress, or school challenges are common triggers. When we experience anxiety, inside your brain, a chemical imbalance occurs. The hormones that are responsible for mood, energy, and how we handle stress (neurotransmitters) can get thrown out of balance.
 
Cutting-edge research tells us another culprit plays a role in anxiety: Your gut microbiome.
 
Yes, your gut and nervous system are interconnected.
 
Have you experienced “butterflies in your stomach” during a presentation?
 
A “gut-wrenching” experience?
 
A “knot in your stomach” when facing an uncomfortable situation?
 
Well, your gut and brain are in constant communication.
 
In fact, the gut has this mesh-like network of neurons along its walls, called the enteric nervous system (ENS). It receives and sends signals from and to both the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). It sends signals to the brain via the vagus nerve.
 
So how does your gut microbiome cause anxiety?
 
Consider your ENS as your second brain.  It has profound influence on your emotions. How? It produces and moves serotonin, the neurotransmitter that maintains mood balance.
 
95% of serotonin is produced by the gut microbiome.
 
The health of your gut microbiome definitely influences your mood, how you deal with stress, and in the development of anxiety disorder.
 
So how do you keep your gut microbiome healthy so that it becomes a source of happiness and ease?

Boosting Your Gut Health

The goal is to increase the good microorganisms in your gut while decreasing the bad ones. Your diet plays a key role in helping you achieve this.
 
Your diet is not only a source of nutrition for your body: It also feeds the trillions of bacteria, fungi, and other microbes in your gut.
 
Here are some changes you can apply to your diet to improve your gut health:

  1. Eat varied foods with plenty of good quality protein and plants at each meal.
  2. Reduce or totally get rid of highly processed food.
  3. Eat fiber (because your gut bugs eat it too!).

Please note that an abrupt switch to fiber-rich foods can make your stomach bloated, so just take it easy by doing it gradually and drink more water.
 
Since antibiotics are hard on your gut microbiome, make sure to compensate by eating more plant-based food if you are on antibiotic therapy.
 
Taking probiotics is also important for gut health, especially ones containing Lactobacillus (L.) rhamnosus. Studies show that this particular strain of probiotic greatly lessened anxiety on test subjects. This bacteria is naturally occurring in Parmesan cheese.
 
Your gut is at the root of your health. Today we focused on the gut/mental health connection and I hope what I shared here is helpful for you.
 
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. http://bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!

~Rebecca

The mouth-gut connection

The idea of having bacteria in your mouth might not be new to you. But did you know that there is actually a community of bacteria other than those that cause plaque and tooth decay? Yes, you’ve got good bacteria in our mouth, too!
 
While your gut has its own microbiome, the oral microbiome is part of this intricate system. And the status of your oral health is a reflection of your gut and vice versa.

Problems with the gut may manifest in your mouth. For example, if you have a red, swollen tongue, it can mean you have an immune imbalance in the digestive system or you lack folic acid and vitamin B12, that might be caused by a poor diet or absorption problems.
 
Oral bugs (as they are called) can also prevent tooth decay and bad breath, and they manufacture beneficial nitric oxide.

Nitric oxide relaxes (widens) the blood vessels and increases blood flow to your tissues. And because of this, it can boost your circulation, exercise performance–and for men, even solve erectile dysfunction.

How to boost beneficial oral bugs


Knowing how good these bugs are to your health, I have compiled 6 tips to help you to keep them thriving! As always, customize according to your unique needs and check with your health practitioner first.

  1. Eat organically grown green, leafy veggies and beets – These foods contain nitrates that are converted by bacteria in your tongue into nitric oxide. Fresh raw vegetables such as lettuce have beneficial soil-based microorganisms inside the leaves, so it can serve as a probiotic that can establish a good oral microbiome.
  2. Eat small amount of fermented foods every day – Because they are good probiotics, too, these foods contain enzymes and beneficial bacteria that you need not only for the mouth but for the overall gut microbiome (this is contraindicated if you have certain conditions such as SIBO).
  3. Avoid sweets and refined carbohydrates – Bad bacteria thrives with these “foods”, and the more they increase in your mouth, the less your good bacteria thrive. So ditch anything that has to do with artificial sugars, chips, cookies, and sodas. Not only do they erode your teeth, but they also increase the growth of those bad microbes we don’t want hanging out in your mouth.
  4. Oil pulling – This is an ancient practice associated with the traditional medicine system in India which involves swishing oil in your mouth that are believed to “pull” bacteria from your mouth. Oil pulling can kill harmful bacteria, reduce bad breath, prevent cavities, and improve gum health.
  5. Choose your mouthwash and floss – If you cannot get rid of mouthwash, at least choose the less harmful ones. Be particular with those brands that contain alcohol, chlorine dioxide, chlorhexidine, formaldehyde, saccharin, parabens, etc. because they are bad to your good mouth bugs. In using floss, avoid brands with perfluorooctanesulfonic acids (PFAs). Although PFAs are used for easy-glide flossing, they have been linked to many diseases including cancer.
  6. Use a toothpaste that promotes healthy oral microbiome – Choose a brand that is free from artificial flavorings, colors, and, most of all, sugar. Remember that the more natural the product is, the more it is favorable for the growth of your oral bugs–which is your goal in promoting oral health and overall gut health. I highly recommend using Dentalcidin Toothpaste by Bio-Botanical Research. It tastes great on top of all its other benefits!

 
The key to overall health and well-being is gut health, and gut health includes not only the intestinal flora but also the good bacteria in your mouth. As you swallow, bugs come along, too. And those that survive the journey becomes transient species in the intestinal microbiota that support your health.
 
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. http://bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!
~Rebecca