Anxiety and gut health
Seems to be an incredibly popular topic these days doesn't it? More and more people are noticing increased anxiety that interferes with daily life, accompanied by stress, worry and restlessness. It can make our lives feel unmanageable. So, what's a girl to do when that familiar feeling of anxiousness creeps up?
As per the usual, I'll bring it back to nutrition. I'm telling you, changing our eating habits can drastically change our lives. These days our foods are laced with enormous amounts of chemicals that have noticeable affects on our bodies, mood and energy levels.
My suggestion is to eat more fiber. Studies show that only 5% of Americans are eating adequate amounts of fiber. FIVE PERCENT. I don't know about you but when I read that I was shook! On average adults are only consuming 50% of the recommend amount for optimal health.This is a HUGE problem. Without proper amounts of fiber, our digestive track can not function optimally which can create problems with bowel movements, managing blood glucose levels as well as regulate blood lipid levels and a whole slew of other issues.
You may be wondering what this has to do with anxiety. Well to start we should understand that our gut affects our brain. Then we can dive in to a little science. Friendly bacteria in our gut produce short-chain fatty acids (the main source of energy for our cells), which are crucial to gastrointestinal health. Foods high in fiber can stimulate production of these fatty acids and can also slow down digestion and regulate metabolism. Key phrase there is "slow down"! We also need to allow our nervous system to enter parasympathetic mode for digestion to work properly. If you're on edge or "stressed" when you eat, your body will not be able to process your food and aid in digestion. Keeping the body in a constant state of stress is also detrimental to our gut, as you can see gut health and mental health are BFF.
Some high fiber foods are broccoli, peas, avocados, pears, bananas, and my personal favorite, berries.
Moral of my story, eat more fiber. Your brain will thank you for it.