Increasingly we know that gut health is central to our overall wellbeing. The gut is inextricably linked to the brain, and when our gut health is bad our mental health often follows suit. But the truth is also the same the other way. When we’re stressed and our mental health is under pressure, it can have an affect on our gut health. Hence the phrase ‘nervous stomach’.
Experts talk about the ‘gut-brain axis’. It is a direct communication between the liver, gut and how brain chemistry is managed via the vagus nerve. There are studies proving that our gut bacteria has a direct impact on anxiety levels and stress resilience. This communication only happens however, when we’re not in stress mode. When we’re relaxed we can digest well, but we can’t when we’re in fight or flight mode. We need a healthy vagus nerve, which requires healthy gut bacteria. In turn that will help us manage the hormones that manage stress.
On the dietary side of things we can:
On the stress relief side of things, we can also take measures to help relieve or manage our stress levels:
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