Nurturing your gut microbiome is a powerful tool in supporting your health.
The bacteria in your gut help regulate multiple mechanisms in your body, including blood sugar regulation, cholesterol levels, vitamin synthesis and assimilation, metabolic function, inflammation, immunity, mental health, cardiovascular health and more!
Nutrition is a powerful tool to support your gut health, particularly with the addition of a variety of fermented foods that are packed with probiotics, as well as fibre rich foods that feed microbes to enhance microbiome diversity.
What is often less discussed, is the way in which stress negatively impacts your gut health.
Just as the gut influences the brain, the brain also influences the gut. Findings have shown that stress can reshape the gut bacteria composition in a similar way to food, where chronic stress is associated with significant reduction and shift in composition of diversity in the microbiome.
How Does Stress Impact the Gut?
Both the brain and the gut communicate bidirectionally. When the body is in a constant, ongoing state of “fight or flight”, the body’s production of cortisol significantly increases which causes a number of changes to occur throughout the body. One shift is to direct the body’s energy away from digestion, which decreases stomach acid production as well as a decrease in mucus which protect the gut lining. Over a long period of time, this can cause a multitude of imbalances, growth of unhealthy bacteria and chronic inflammation.
Ways to Reduce Stress and Nurture your Gut Health
Yoga, Pilates & Meditation Practices
These are all incredible practices to support the decrease of cortisol production in the body, and assist in alleviating stress which will positively impact your gut health. This is not only due to the cultivation of presence which is calming to the nervous system, but also due to the focus on breathing that these practices provide.
What’s more, consistent movement and exercise has been shown to impact the composition of gut microbiota, with an increase in short chain fatty acids (SCFA) as well as certain strains that are beneficial for your health. SCFA’s assist with mucus production, intestinal barrier integrity, reduction of inflammation and certain cancers.
Natural Therapies for Nervous System and Mental Health Support
Often unresolved conflicts, trauma and unhealthy thought patterns can also act as a form of stress that can disrupt your gut health. At Qi we have multiple therapists that can help disengage the fight or flight systems of the body, assist in rewriting cognitive patterns as well as provide counsel and support in difficult life situations.
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