Healthy Digestion Reduces Stress
Stomach aches are uncomfortable and gas at an inopportune moment can be embarrassing. But did you know your digestive health affects you in so many other ways?!
In this blog, I'm going to teach you about your "Second Brain" and how your digestion affects your whole outlook on life.
You'll learn about the brain-gut connection, four signs of a weakened digestive system, how to test yourself for food allergies, and a simple strategy for repairing your digestion.
You deserve to feel great, happy, and energized and these secrets might just crack the code. Ready?
I am sure you know your physical health is directly impacted by what you eat.
But did you know that your mental health is also affected by what you eat?
Or that your relationship is directly impacted by what you eat?
The great news is that you can dramatically improve your relationships by changing what you eat and adding natural supplements to your diet!
In this blog, I explain how your mood — especially your stress — is influenced by the food you eat and the warning signs of a weak digestion system to watch out for so that you can enjoy better relationships in your life!
The Brain-Gut Connection
If you are not eating healthy, then your mind is probably not healthy, and your relationships are probably not healthy either.
I am not alone in this thinking.
In fact, ALL members of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research agree that diet is "as important to psychiatry as it is to cardiology, endocrinology, and gastroenterology."
These same researchers also pointed out several studies that revealed the vital role of omega-3s, vitamin D, B vitamins, zinc, iron, and magnesium in brain health.
Our modern diets are lacking many of these important nutrients — which is contributing to more stress in our lives.
Many neuroscientists (and one relationship author) also believe that chronic stress, anxiety, and depression are directly linked to our digestive system, specifically the microbiome.
The microbiome is a collection of trillions of bacteria and other microbes in your gut.
Recent research from Oxford University has proven it. They discovered that people with healthy amounts of gut bacteria had less anxiety when confronted with negative stimuli. They also found that those same people had lower levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) in their saliva when they woke up each morning.
Your gut is literally your second brain — created from the identical tissue as your brain during gestation -- and contains larger amounts of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is associated with mood control.
When you have weakened digestion, the toxins build up in your body, affecting your mood-altering neurotransmitters and attacking your immune system.
When you are stressed, your "fight or flight" system gets activated. Your heart pounds, your hair stands on end, and adrenaline floods your body to give you extra strength and speed to fight off or avoid danger.
Unfortunately, our stress response doesn’t distinguish between mental and physical distress, so your physical reaction is largely the same whether you are being chased by a bear or are late for a meeting with your boss.
When your body is under stress, it is the "friendly bacteria" in your gut that helps your immune system release inflammatory cytokines to keep your immune system on high alert. This bacteria in your gut has also been shown to interact on a hormonal level to turn your adrenaline response on and off.
If you aren’t digesting your food properly, you also aren’t giving your brain the amino acids necessary for the brain to produce more serotonin to keep you from getting even more stressed. As you feel more stressed, you begin to experience stress reactions in the brain and body that inhibit digestion.
It’s a nasty cycle.
If your digestive system is weakened, then you are more likely to have a weak immune system and experience hormonal imbalances and increased stress levels.
4 Common Signs of a Weak Digestive System
How do you know if your gut is affecting your mood?
Constipation, diarrhea, and other digestion problems are obvious signs, but sometimes there are other subtle symptoms.
1. You feel extra tired after a meal.
When your digestion is weak, you can’t push food through your digestive tract effectively. Your body reacts by stealing energy from other parts of your body to get the food down. With less energy circulating throughout your body, you feel tired.
2. You get cold easily.
When you don’t produce enough digestive enzymes or acid to break down food into small enough bits to absorb its nutrients, your body senses this lack of nutrients. It compensates by diverting circulation from less vital body parts (such as your hands and feet) to supply more crucial parts (like your brain and heart). With less circulation to your extremities, you get cold more easily.
3. You experience declining memory or “brain fog.
Weak digestion can lead to digestion-related food allergies — a leading cause of “brain fog.” In addition, your brain and your digestive system are intimately connected neurologically. And when your digestion is weak, it affects your brain, clouding your mind. It may even eventually lead to dementia.
4. You are stressed out.
It is also important to recognize how your digestive health is related to your stress level. When you are stressed, your body doesn't produce the right amount of enzymes to fully digest your food. When you aren't digesting your food properly, you aren't giving your body and your brain the adequate vitamins and minerals to reduce your stress. It's a bad loop to be in, but I can help.
What to Do
Digestive enzymes are an easy and very helpful addition that everyone should add to their diet. Even more important is getting predigested proteins into your body that can give you the nutrients you need — even if you are having digestion problems.
What I suggest is my Mars Venus Super Foods Shake. It contains cold-processed, undenatured whey proteins and added digestive enzymes. To activate the enzymes, simply add 2 scoops of the powder to 8 ounces of water, blend it well, and let sit for 30 minutes. This allows the enzymes to predigest the proteins so when you drink it, it goes right to the brain.
It’s important to take a good mineral supplement with digestive enzymes. Minerals help activate the enzymes that help us digest our food to make the brain happy and feel less stress. That is why I include minerals with my protein shakes in the Mars Venus Wellness Solution.
And since it is the good bacteria in our gut that helps fight off stress, it is important to take a high-quality probiotic. Bravo Probiotics is the best probiotic that I have found anywhere in the world.
And while I am suggesting things to add to your diet, it’s important to consider removing things from your diet.
Elimination diets can be very helpful in improving your digestion. Stop eating processed junk food, pasteurized dairy, soy products, and gluten products — particularly bread — for two weeks and see if it makes a big difference.
Then you can begin reintroducing one food each week and see what is causing the biggest problems for you.
Take your digestion seriously if you want to enjoy a more stress-free life. It’s highly important that you're digesting your food to get the nutrition for your brain to function and encourage all the great communication skills and behaviors to enjoy loving relationships.
For updated protocols and John's best recommendations for healthy digestion, grab your free wellness guide here.
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