Did you know that stress can actually be causing your bloated stomach? Here are 4 ways you can reduce symptoms according to dietitians
You may be wondering how stress can affect your stomach and it is a fact that gut health and mental well-being are more linked than you think. 2020 is coming to its end and it was a year full of changes and crises, so if you feel stress you are not alone. Releasing stress is possible, try to stop worrying and look for things that make you feel happy, or that situation can end affecting your health.
How does stress affect the digestive system?
The digestive tract contains its own nervous system with nerve fibers and neurons that are influenced by signals from the brain. So it is evident that the brain can affect the gut function and vice versa. When you do not feel good, your body response results in a reduction in digestive secretions such as stomach acid which can lead to pain and bloated stomach.
The bacteria found in the gut respond to stress signals, which can lead to an imbalance in gut flora and other health conditions. Moreover, the gut bacteria supports the immune system. This means that when you feel stress, you are more prone to pick up colds and other infections.
These are some of the symptoms of possible digestive issues caused by stress:
- Stomach cramps
- Stomach bloating
What can we do to support the digestive system in times of stress?
Give your digestive system additional support in times of stress with these tips:
1. Eat mindfully
Eating mindfully is about eating enjoying the food without distractions such as the computer, phone, or TV. It is said that chewing food well will help stimulate digestive juices, so take your time to focus on the textures and flavors of your meal.
2. Increase your fiber intake
Fiber is beneficial for your gut bacteria and it is recommended to consume 30g of fiber per day. Consider eating a variety of plant-based foods rich in fiber like fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and more. These foods also contain vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients required to support a healthy stress response.
3. Stimulate digestion
There are several home remedies that can help stimulate stomach acid, digestive enzymes, and bile. Bitter leaves with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar are beneficial for your stomach. In addition, you can also support your digestion system with herbal/Swedish bitters and digestive enzyme supplements.
4. Take a live bacteria supplement
Stress can affect bacteria in our gut flora by reducing the number of beneficial species such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. For that reason, there are live bacteria supplements that are proven to help reduce digestive symptoms.