According to Faith Dickerson, our brain and gut are more in synchronization than we may realize. The gut is often referred to as ‘the second brain’ of the body. For instance, the very thought of food can cause the stomach to produce digestive juices. The brain and gut are in constant communication with each other. This direct relationship sensitizes our gastrointestinal system to emotions and its reactions such as stress. The condition of the gastrointestinal tract and therefore a person’s overall digestive health can often be traced to their state of mind. In fact, emotional stress can wreak havoc on our digestive systems.
How does stress affect digestion?
High stress changes digestive secretions, increases acid in the stomach, results in malabsorption of nutrients and causes intolerances and allergies in the digestive tract. In serious cases, stress decreases blood and oxygen flow to the stomach leading to cramping, inflammation, etc.
Stress also causes Leaky gut syndrome which allows passage of harmful substances (like gluten) into bloodstream through pores in the digestive tract.
High stress adversely impacts microbiome in the gut. An ideal microbiome ratio consists of 80:20 of good and bad bacteria. Continuous and high level of stress creates an imbalance in the Microbiome count by terminating the good bacteria and letting the bad bacteria flourish.
Stress makes the brain send signals to release chemicals like adrenaline, serotonin (a hormone in the digestive system that affects mood) as well as the stress hormone, cortisol which causes adverse reactions in the digestive tract. So many millennials today indulge in overeating cause of high levels of stress causing obesity and an unfit lifestyle.
How to Manage Your Stress to Improve Digestive Health?
Regular exercise and physical activity relieve tension and stimulate release of endorphins, a natural pain killer in the brain. Endorphins improve sleep, relieve stress and maintain healthy digestive system. Yoga and Meditation techniques also significantly reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), a psychological technique to replace negative, distorted thoughts with positive ones also work on reducing anxiety and stress. Having a balanced diet and good gut health are the key pillars in beating stress.
Improving Gut Health via Fiber
Besides managing stress levels, Fiber can be used to improve the resilience of the gut for adverse impacts caused by stress. A well balanced fiber rich diet not only efficiently handles energy requirement of the body during stressful times but also promotes overall digestive health.
Prebiotic fiber also help good bacteria to flourish in the gut system. Prebiotics are carbohydrates that ferment in the gut and act as food for probiotics.These days prebiotic supplements like Myfy are considered a reliable and easy way to improve gut health.
Myfy fiber is a wheat dextrin and hydrolysed Guar gum based prebiotic fiber supplement that works on improving gut health and ensuring the person stays fit and active. It is all the gut!