Yes they certainly can be, it is also true the other way around; your gut health or lack thereof, can and does affect your physical and mental health, stress and anxiety. Today we are focusing on how stress affect’s the gut. Those of you with IBS are very familiar with this concept!

Stress can lead to the following changes in the gut:

  • Changes in gastrointestinal motility (either running to the loo, or delayed digestion, where food just seems to sit in your stomach for ages).
  • Increased tummy cramps and pain.
  • Reduced secretion of digestive enzymes (which can cause reflux and indigestion).
  • Increases in intestinal permeability (leaky gut syndrome).
  • Reduced regenerative capacity of gastrointestinal mucosa and mucosal blood flow (poor healing in the digestive system).
  • Negative effects on intestinal microbiome (the wrong mix of gut bugs, overgrowth of the wrong kind of bacteria – this often causes big sugar cravings).
Some tips to manage your digestion when you are stressed:
  • Bitters before meals (eg apple cider vinegar or lemon in warm water – use a straw to protect your teeth).
  • Easy to digest proteins (fish and chicken; or meat that has been slow cooked such as soups or stews with a range of colourful veggies).
  • Eat calmly and slowly, chew food thoroughly.

Of course this is something we would love to help you with! We help our clients with digestion issues and stress management all the time. We do this through one on one Telehealth video consultations, and in group programs such as our online Stress Less program and online Love Your Gut program.

Fiona Kane is a Nutritional Medicine Practitioner, Mind Body Eating Coach, Holistic Counsellor, Professional Speaker and writer on Health and Nutrition and the founder of Informed Health.