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The mind gut connection – How does stress affect the gut?
Discover the surprising connection between stress and digestion and learn how stress can impact your gut. Explore ways to help ease digestive problems and improve your overall well-being. If you are suffering from incontinence, we have a wide range of incontinence pads and incontinence pads for women available on our website.
If you can answer yes to any of the above questions, you are already familiar with this connection. But how does stress affect the digestive system? Understanding the mind gut connection can help you to ease digestive problems, help a variety of ailments, increase your energy levels and feel your best.
In this article:
What Is The Mind Gut Connection?
The gastrointestinal system is very sensitive to our wide array of emotions. It is very common for people to experience intestinal distress when they feel sad, anxious, stressed, or angry. Therefore some people tend to feel nauseous when they are grieving or lose their appetite completely when stressed.
Our thoughts and emotions have a direct and clear effect on our stomachs. When we begin to think about eating, our brain sends signals to our stomach so that it can begin to prime and release acids to break down our food. If you are troubled mentally, your brain can send the wrong kinds of signals to your stomach at the wrong times. The result is intestinal distress when we feel depressed, stressed can’t stop overthinking.
There are many instances where an individual has symptoms of a stomach upset that have no clear-cut cause. While they might spend years of their time searching for the source of the issue, the answer might be in their mind.
Physical and Mental Symptoms Associated With The Mind Gut Connections
These are just some of the physical and mental symptoms that you might experience if you’re stressed:
- Trouble falling asleep, or staying asleep
- Painful and prolonged recurrent headaches
- A sudden gain or loss of weight
- A lack of concentration or focus
- Feeling extreme hunger or experiencing a loss of appetite
- Withdrawing from social interactions
- Feeling nervous and being unable to relax
- Memory loss and difficulty remembering things
It's important to note that the mind-gut connection is a two-way street, meaning that not only can stress impact our digestive system, but our digestive system can also impact our mental health.
Six Tips for a Gut Health Diet
- Eat a broad range of plant-based foods – In order to have a healthy gut, you need to consume a diverse number of microbes, all of which come from different healthy foods.
- Consume more probiotic foods – Eat a high amount of probiotic foods.
- Up your fibre intake – While you might think you are eating enough fibre, you can always stand to consume more nuts, fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. Just remember that if your current diet is low in fibre, an increase can cause you to experience wind and bloating. Add more fibre gradually and boost your water intake.
- Use extra virgin olive oil as your fat of choice – Extra virgin olive oil is packed full of microbe-friendly polyphenols and should be your ‘go-to’ fat.
- Stay away from highly processed foods – Sure, highly processed ‘fast’ foods taste good and pack a big punch of flavour, but they can wreak havoc on your gut health. They can hinder your good bacteria, and help your bad bacteria flourish.
- Change up your diet when taking antibiotics – Antibiotics are a necessary medical intervention, but they work by killing your ‘good’ bacteria right alongside the ‘bad’. If you need antibiotics, make sure you eat lots of foods that boost your microbes afterwards.
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