Gut health is closely connected with anxiety, depression and other neurological and psychiatric disorders such as Affective disorders, autism spectrum disorders (ASD), Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and chronic pain.
Your gut is your second brain via the gut-brain axis. It is a bidirectional link between the central nervous system (CNS) and the enteric nervous system (ENS) of the body. This occurs primarily through neuroimmune and neuroendocrine mechanisms, often involving the vagus nerve. This communication is dictated by what’s going on in your gut. For example, short-chain fatty acids (SCFA’s) are part of this communication process and they are the main source of energy for the cells lining your colon. You can find SCFA’s in fibre rich foods such as fruit, vegetables and legumes and in foods containing resistant starch such as cooled potatoes, rice and pasta.
Don’t forget that the gut-brain axis is a two-way communication highway. If you have anxiety and/depression or chronic stress, this is going to have an impact on your gut (signals from your brain to your gut) and the health of your gut is going to have an impact on your brain (signals from your gut to your brain).
What are the signs of an imbalanced gut microbiome?
- Irritable and moody.
- Interrupted sleep.
- Allergies, intolerances and/or food sensitivities.
- Difficulty in losing weight.
- Depression and/or anxiety.
- Behavioural issues.
- Low energy and fatigued.
- A ‘foggy’ brain.
- Hormones out of whack.
- Constipation, acid reflux, diarrhoea, bloating.
- Skin conditions.
Given how closely the gut and brain interact, it becomes easier to understand why you might feel nauseated before giving a presentation or feel intestinal pain during times of stress. Stress (or depression or other psychological factors) can affect movement and contractions of the gut, make inflammation worse, or perhaps make you more susceptible to infection.
There is strong evidence that exposure to stress may be responsible for the dysregulation of the brain-gut axis, thus leading to the different diseases of the gut. What can you do about it? Repair your gut and de-stress!
Repair your gut
You can start by removing the following:
- Common reactive foods – usually dairy, eggs, gluten. If you’re not sure which foods don’t suit you and don’t want to follow a strict Elimination Diet, click on the link for more information about the Biocompatability Hair Test which tests for 500 foods, personal care and household products that you may be reacting to https://www.wholefoodnutrition.com.au/product/bio-compatibility-hair-analysis/
- Refined carbohydrates and sugar
- Artificial sweeteners
- Unhealthy fats
- Additives and preservatives
- Environmental toxins
- Excess caffeine/alcohol
- Unnecessary medications
- Chronic stress
To help with reducing stress, treat yourself and have a massage. If this isn’t your thing, go for a walk, try a yoga class, chat with a friend. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Do anything that you enjoy and it’s away from work and home.
If you need help with improving the health of your gut and your mental wellbeing, contact me for a complimentary 20 minute chat at [email protected] or 0412 370321 or click here to book an initial consultation https://wholefoodnutrition.youcanbook.me/.