How does stress affect your digestion?
You know those crazy deadline days at work? And what about those times when plans fall through, and you have to pivot fast? Or your absolutely-have-to-do-today list is ridiculously long?
Whatever your stress-of-the-day may be, it’s wise to consider the impact it’s having on your health and well-being.
Your gut health often pays the price for these frantic episodes, leaving you with digestive distress of all ilk. That’s because your stomach and emotional state are linked, so any change in everyday stress can impact your digestive health and the complex microbiome that lives in your gut.
In fact, according to Scientific America, the enteric nervous system – AKA gastrointestinal tract (GI), is often referred to as the “second brain.”
So how does this gut-brain connection work? You see, much like your brain, your GI tract depends on the same types of neurons and neurotransmitters to complete specific functions, as well as maintain communication with the central nervous system.
What exactly happens when you’re having “one of those days”? Bad bacteria start to flourish, and good bacteria begin to die off. This changes the way foods you eat are digested.
In turn, this may lead to occasional digestive woes, which could include upset stomach, gas, cramping, bloating, irregular bowel movements, and more.
Below are four tips to help improve your gut health to help restore balance to the gut-brain axis when occasional bouts of stress occur.
1. Yoga for digestion
Regular physical exercise is recommended to boost and support digestion. But did you know that certain yoga poses can also help promote a healthy gut? Poses focusing on alignment and posture may help manage those uncomfortable GI symptoms brought on by normal stress.
According to Healthline.com, bridge pose, supported prone, and supine twist all may promote healthy digestion. And chances are they’ll help you calm down a bit, too! Ask your favorite yogi to show you how!
2. Just breathe
We get it. You’re so busy you don’t have a spare moment, especially for a full mindfulness practice. But you may want to give it a try, as scientific research[i] shows that it may help quell your daily stressors and, in turn, your overtaxed digestive system. And it doesn't have to be complicated.
Try this technique – called box breathing -- before your next meal. Sit up straight, away from distractions, and take 2 to 4 rounds of deep breathing. Breathe in for a 4-count, holding for 4, and exhaling for a 4-count. This is an uncomplicated, short mindfulness practice that may help your body relax and get ready for proper digestion.
3. Eat healthily
Remember your last chaotic day? Chances are it wasn’t your healthiest eating day. According to Harvard Medical School that’s because when occasional stress strikes, the body releases hormones called cortisol, insulin, and ghrelin, which can ramp up hunger and cravings for less healthy foods. Instead, opt for foods such as whole-grain carbohydrates, leafy greens, oranges, fatty fish, and plenty of water.
And while you're at it, consider foods that help promote good gut bacteria, like prebiotics and probiotics. Fruits and veggies, such as asparagus, garlic, and bananas, contain prebiotics. Probiotic-rich foods include fermented foods, like yogurt, kombucha, and sauerkraut. Additionally, certain natural botanicals and digestive enzymes can help balance the bacteria in the gut microbiome and create the optimal environment for good bacteria to flourish and support digestion.
4. Supporting supplements
Managing occasional stress can help lower inflammation in the gut and ease GI upset. In turn, your body will thank you because now it can focus on absorbing the nutrients you need.
When normal stress rears its angry head, consider adding targeted dietary supplements.
AVA-Certified Vegetarian Zenwise® DigeSTRESS™ features Zenwise & Chill and Digestive proprietary blends to help keep mind and tummy at peace.†
This product includes DE111®, a clinically studied Reliably Alive™ probiotic that supports normal gut health, bowel movement, and immune function.† Plus, a second probiotic, LactoSpore®, works to support gut flora. DigeSTRESS™ also includes Sensoril® Ashwagandha that may help promote focus, clarity, and relaxation from external stressors.†
The right blend of botanicals and digestive enzymes may also help to promote a balanced microbiome. NoBLOAT™ supports the breakdown of lactose and provides support for gas and bloating. In addition to DE111®, botanicals like dandelion extract, ginger and turmeric to support normal digestion, and a healthy GI tract.†
Importantly, this product also includes digestive enzyme support from BioCore.® which helps support indigestion, gas, and bloating, in addition to promoting nutrient absorption.
In the end, it’s not about living with zero everyday stressors. It’s about changing your response to these situations so stress and digestion can both be managed.
Are you looking to start a daily gut health routine designed just for your busy life? Our knowledgeable customer service team is here to help! Reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org or M-F from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST at (800) 940-1972.
And as always, all Zenwise® products are backed by the "Eat Freely...or it’s Free" guarantee!
Zenwise®. Then Eat.™
† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
[i] Ann N Y Acad Sci 2016 Jun;1373(1):13-24.