Digestive troubles? The answer may be beyond what’s on your plate…
Have you ever been so stressed that you feel a knot in your stomach?
The link between the brain and our stomach or our gut is not a new discovery. New research has suggested however that the effect of stress on our digestion is even more significant than we would have thought.
The connection lies in our nervous system. When we enter a period of intense stress, our body does everything it can to prepare for fight or flight. Whether the stress comes from a looming due date, financial troubles or being confronted by a lion, our body reacts in the same way. Our sympathetic nervous system activates, and prepares us for action. All energy is put towards the organs we need to survive in such a situation; our cardiovascular system and respiratory system. This means that our heart often starts beating faster, and our breathing becomes more shallow. Since this state requires a lot of energy, our body slows down our digestive system.
Of course what we eat has a profound impact on our digestion, it’s also necessary to look at how we’re eating, to make sure we’re in a state that allows our body to digest in the first place.
Here are a few tips to improve your digestion:
We hear it all the time, but eating too quickly can negatively affect digestion. Try to put your fork down between each bite and chew mindfully.
Drink your water about 10 minutes before eating, since drinking while eating can disturb digestion.
There’s a lot of messaging about taking a break from work or distractions to eat meals, however when we go straight from a high-stress situation to our meal, that’s where our digestive system can struggle. Try take 10 deep inhales and exhales before starting your meal.
Avoid putting yourself back into a situation of stress right after eating. Instead try to take at least a few minutes to give your digestive system a chance to get to work.
The issue isn’t always necessarily what we eat, but the combination of the foods we eat together. Meals with fewer different ingredients and food groups are often easier to digest. Fruits in particular should always be eaten alone. Avoid eating your fruit as dessert but instead have it first thing in the morning or as a snack during the day.
The first step when dealing with digestive issues is to look at what’s on our plate, however it’s possible that digestive issues can stem from beyond that. Naturally a knot in your stomach won’t make the flow any easier….