Do Stress & Anxiety Cause Gut Issues? Follow These Diet Tips To Improve Gut Health

Short-term stress can lead to symptoms like decreased appetite or nausea

Stress and anxiety can cause various physical symptoms, and one of the most common among them is gut issues. The gut is a complex system that includes the stomach, intestines, and other organs that help break down and absorb food. When we feel stressed or anxious, our body's stress response system is activated, leading to changes in our gut function.

For example, stress can cause the release of certain hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which can lead to increased muscle tension, decreased blood flow to the digestive system, and reduced secretion of digestive enzymes. These changes can cause symptoms like decreased appetite, nausea, abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhoea.

Similarly, anxiety can also lead to gut issues. Anxiety triggers a fight or flight response in our body, which diverts blood flow away from the digestive system and toward the muscles and brain. Moreover, anxiety also causes an overactive sympathetic nervous system that can lead to increased levels of stress hormones. Read on as we share tips  to improve gut issues caused by stress and anxiety.

8 Tips to improve gut issues caused by stress and anxiety:

1. Identify and avoid trigger foods

Certain foods can irritate the gut and exacerbate gastrointestinal symptoms, such as caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, and high-fat foods. Identifying trigger foods and avoiding them can help alleviate gastrointestinal discomfort.

2. Practice stress-reduction techniques

Stress and anxiety can worsen gastrointestinal symptoms. Practicing stress-reduction techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, and exercise can help reduce stress levels and improve gastrointestinal symptoms.

3. Get enough sleep

Sleep deprivation can worsen gastrointestinal symptoms and increase stress levels. Prioritising sleep and ensuring a minimum of 7-8 hours of restful sleep each night can help reduce stress and improve gut health.

4. Modify your diet

Eating a diet low in fermentable carbohydrates, such as the low FODMAP diet, can help improve gastrointestinal symptoms by reducing the amount of gas produced in the gut. Increasing the intake of fibre-rich fruits and vegetables can also improve gut health.

5. Chew your food slowly

Chewing food slowly and thoroughly can facilitate digestion and improve gastrointestinal symptoms. Eating quickly and not chewing food properly can lead to an overproduction of digestive enzymes, causing gastrointestinal discomfort.

6. Stay hydrated

Drinking enough water can help prevent constipation and improve bowel movements. Dehydration can worsen gastrointestinal symptoms and lead to inflammation in the gut.

7. Take probiotics

Probiotics contain beneficial bacteria that help improve gut health by aiding digestion, reducing inflammation, and boosting the immune system. Taking a high-quality probiotic supplement may reduce gastrointestinal symptoms associated with stress and anxiety.

8. Seek professional help

If gastrointestinal symptoms persist despite making these lifestyle changes, seeking the advice of a healthcare provider can help identify underlying gastrointestinal disorders that may require medical intervention.

In conclusion, stress and anxiety can cause gut issues by altering the functioning of the digestive system. Short-term stress can lead to mild symptoms like decreased appetite or nausea, while chronic stress can result in more severe digestive issues like IBS and IBD. Understanding the connection between stress and gut health is crucial, and managing stress levels through techniques.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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