As I grow older, the more I notice the correlation between my physical state and my mental state. I believe it is something that most people do not think about at all, which is totally understandable since their passions and awareness does not lay within the health and wellness category. However, the interest in gut health has grown rapidly over the years, as people are starting to realize that their gut has a direct effect on ones mental health. Anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and more can be linked to gastrointestinal disorders.
Do you find yourself becoming irritable, anxious, or groggy at times? You may want to be paying attention to your tummy! It tells you more than you know about your well-being. I could digress on the technical terms and how the brain is connected to the gut, but I will keep it short and sweet; basically, the gut and brain are connected through the central and enteric nervous systems, which work together to create a cognitive and emotional function that links with peripheral intestine functions. Your body has millions of neurons lining the gut wall, which are essentially telling your brain what your gut is feeling subconsciously.
Many of us are familiar with serotonin, or the “happy” neurotransmitter. Serotonin helps you feel good mentally, but it also has a huge role in your gastrointestinal motility. More than 90% of serotonin in the body is actually found in the gut. Happy tummy = happy thoughts.
I have struggled with gut health and gastrointestinal issues for years, and yeah it’s kind of embarrassing and uncomfortable to address, but in the end, it is your body that you need to take care of. I had no idea that it was immensely effecting my mental health every day. I would become so insecure and upset when my tummy would become irritable or bloated, but can you blame me? It is so uncomfortable! Obviously it is going to alter my mood if I am having insane cramps and my jeans feel like they’re two sizes too small. I know I’m not the only one who has felt that way, especially being a woman and having to deal with monthly gifts (lol).
Despite my challenges with my gut health, I have improved it over the years through proper nutrition, exercise, and consistent de-stressing exercises. I highly suggest doing your own research from credible sources as well, or even reaching out to a holistic doctor to see what options you can explore to improve your gut health.
Tips for Better Gut Health
1.) Find a good probiotic that also has essential prebiotics to help balance your gut flora.
2.) Consume fermented foods such as kimchi, kefir, or yogurt.
3.) Exercise often! Even going for a 15 minute walk after meals can help with digestion more than you’ll realize!
4.) Drink water like crazy baby. Aim for half your body weight in ounces per day.
5.) De-stress! Stretch, do yoga, get a sports massage, or get outdoors.
6.) Massage your tummy for a few minutes every night.
I hope this post gave you a little more information about gut health and how important it is! 🙂 What do you do to keep your gastrointestinal health in check? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts!
-The Positive Peanut