Stress & Your Digestive Health: What Your Gut Is Trying to Tell You! by Susan Bowerman, M.S., R.D., CSSD, CSOWM, FAND
Life stressors combined with unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise can affect the health of your digestive system – also commonly known as your “gut.” If you frequently experience bloating, heartburn or irregularity it’s always best to check with your doctor to make sure there’s nothing serious going on. If your doctor attributes your symptoms to diet and lifestyle, it’s probably time to start making some changes. Here are some things you can do:
- Listen to your gut. The key to maintaining good digestive health can be achieved by adding more fiber to your diet (25 to 30 grams a day) and drinking plenty of water, as it helps to aid digestion. Also, eating “good” bacteria (probiotics) from fermented foods like yogurt or probiotic supplements can also support the immune system.
- Manage your stress. Stress impacts the health of our inner ecosystem in the gut, called the microbiome, where about 80 percent of our immune system lives. So, when you're feeling stressed take a timeout and breathe deeply and reset.
Remember, small and gradual lifestyle changes lead to long-term success.
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