Everyone knows how stress can manifest itself physically, particularly in our guts, just by virtue of the fact that we get “butterflies” in our stomachs before giving a speech. But here’s a new idea for you: Research suggests that our guts could be the source of anxiety or depression. A growing body of gut microbiome research is establishing an undeniable link between gut bacteria and our mental health.
According to a study in Nature Microbiology this year, when researchers looked at the microbiomes of more than 2,000 Belgian people, they found that those who had depression (who had scored low on a quality-of-life survey) were more likely to be missing two specific types of bacteria in their guts. In another study, published in March 2020 in the Human Microbiome Journal, lower microbiome diversity was associated with higher levels of stress and anxiety.
In other words, your gut is healthiest and happiest when it’s in balance and displaying a diverse set of microbiota. The more “good” bacteria you have the better. When your microbiome diversity is lower and out of whack, which can happen for a variety of reasons ranging from poor diet to antibiotics or illness, it could possibly influence your body to experience higher levels of stress or anxiety, according to this research.
The gut-brain connection has been established for quite some time. “We have more microorganisms in our gut microbiome than in our entire body,” says Michael Chen, MD, a board-certified internal medicine physician at Parsley Health in New York City, in a recent parselyhealth.com blog entitled “4 Ways to Reduce Anxiety Through Your Gut.” “Variations in these microorganisms influence many of the normal processes in our bodies and may contribute to diseases like chronic inflammation and obesity, according to a 2012 review in Nature Reviews Neuroscience.”
So, how can you achieve better gut health? Nutrition experts recommend doing a few clinically-proven things:
1. Eat foods your gut loves, including green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains and lean proteins.
2. Conversely, avoid the foods that disrupt gut health, including sugar, processed foods, dairy and alcohol.
3. Exercise regularly and get enough sleep!
Last, but not least: self-care is another vital way to lower stress and boost your overall health! To schedule a self-care treatment with us, please call 415.887.8718, email email@example.com or send us a quick message on our virtual chat feature, Podium, today!
Sources used in this blog:
4 Ways to Reduce Anxiety Through Your Gut