Has your digestive system recently seemed off? Or has it been like way for some time? Have you been feeling stressed out or burned out lately? If the answer to both of these questions is yes, your digestive system may be out of balance due to stress. Also, you might be considering ways to enhance digestion.
According to studies, stress can have a negative impact on both your health and mind. Stress can negatively impact your body’s health in a variety of ways, but one of the most significant is by impairing your digestive system’s functionality.
How Stress Affects Digestion
Heartburn, acid reflux, ulcers, diarrhea, and indigestion are some of the most typical digestive conditions brought on by stress. By influencing your immune system, stress can potentially directly cause the onset of irritable bowel syndrome.
Also, studies have shown that people with IBS frequently experience flare-ups of their symptoms when they are under a lot of stress. Stress-sensitive disorders are conditions like IBS and other gastrointestinal tract problems. Successful treatment typically involves the patient developing coping mechanisms and stress management skills.
1. Increase Your Level of Physical Activity
Regular moderate physical activity is one strategy to improve digestion while simultaneously lowering stress levels. As a result of improved blood flow to the muscles that carry food through the digestive tract as a result of physical exercise, food can travel more easily through the digestive tract.
Peristalsis is the term for this movement of food through the digestive system. Constant diarrhea and constipation are common symptoms of impaired peristalsis, as are motility disorders in some severe cases. Exercise and movement are also crucial for releasing endorphins, which reduce stress and are thought of as natural painkillers. In addition to improving sleep quality, which is important for reducing high levels of stress, endorphins are also highly beneficial in this regard.
Regular running, walking, and biking are among the physical activities that are believed to help digestion. Furthermore beneficial in reducing and eliminating gastrointestinal distress and serving as a powerful stress reliever are yoga poses that emphasize bettering posture and alignment.
2. Consider Foods That Are Natural Stress Relievers
Also, researchers have shown that some foods inherently have mood-enhancing qualities. Such foods can help reduce your stress symptoms while still giving your body the essential nutrition it needs to function at its best.
For instance, almonds are rich in magnesium, a mineral that has been shown to assist in controlling cortisol levels in the body. Moreover, almonds are rich in vitamin B, which works with magnesium to promote the synthesis of serotonin, a potent mood stabilizer and hormone of well-being. Low serotonin levels have also been associated with bloating, cramping, constipation, and diarrhea episodes, as well as GERD, duodenal ulcers, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Another sort of snack that helps improve digestion and lower stress levels is dark chocolate. Although it is regarded as a highly effective mood enhancer, it also directly affects your body’s digestive system. To begin with, dark chocolate contains a lot of flavonoids, a key antioxidant.
Due to the high cocoa content utilized in the manufacturing of this chocolate, it also contains a lot of fiber. Anti-inflammatory substances are generated when the gut flora ferment the dark chocolate’s fiber and antioxidants. These substances serve a critical role in enhancing cardiovascular function and preventing inflammation-related diseases throughout your body, in addition to being helpful in reducing inflammation in your digestive system. Besides enhancing your digestive system, cocoa has been demonstrated to stimulate the colon’s development of more beneficial microorganisms. Eating meals strong in probiotics and prebiotics is also highly advised. These substances play a key role in the development of healthy gut microbes.
3. Try Probiotic Supplements
Moreover, probiotics can aid in bettering digestion. Try a probiotic pill if you discover that you dislike probiotic meals or find them challenging to find. Probiotics have been scientifically proven to significantly improve immunity, stress levels, digestion, and many other factors. To ensure that the probiotic bacteria are securely delivered past your stomach acid, look for a probiotic that uses time-release capsules. Before they can reach your intestines, the majority of probiotics in capsules are harmed or destroyed.
4. Avoid Foods That Can Impair Digestion
There are foods that can harm your digestive system, just as there are healthy foods that can aid in digestion while also relieving stress. Keep in mind that when you are under a lot of stress, your hunger increases and you are more likely to eat things that have a lot of (added) sugar and fat. Both of these substances are known to worsen digestive system inflammation in humans, which can lead to a range of GI problems like persistent bloating, diarrhea, and exorbitant gas.
Processed bread, white chocolate, coffee, and extremely acidic foods are some other big food offenders that might impair your digestive system.
5. Identify and Avoid Your Stress Triggers
You may discover these causes of high levels of stress by looking into them, which will also enable you to lessen their negative effects on your physical and mental health. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that enables you to identify the root of your negative thoughts as well as the stress-inducing events. It’s been demonstrated that CBT helps people with IBS feel less stressed. As a result, these people experienced fewer IBS symptoms. This indicates the value of therapy in reducing stress, which in turn improves a person’s digestive health.
You may lower your stress levels by using strong strategies like meditation and mindfulness. According to studies, these behaviors can also reduce inflammation throughout the body, particularly in the gastrointestinal tract. Before a meal, you can relax by practicing some breathing exercises and/or meditation to assist your digestive system work at its best.
6. Quit Smoking and Excessive Consumption of Alcohol
Our methods for managing stress can seriously harm how well our digestive system works. When you use alcohol or cigarettes to relieve stress, you unintentionally introduce a number of hazardous compounds that will harm your digestive system.
Many GI conditions, such as heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease, peptic ulcers, gallstones, pancreatitis, liver disorders, and Crohn’s disease have been associated to smoking and alcohol use. You must seek out healthy ways to deal with stress, such meditation and exercise, to prevent subjecting your digestive system to harmful substances.