Stress manifests itself in many different, unhealthy ways. The longer we’re feeling anxious and tense, the worse these negative effects can be. We’re talking about things like chronic illnesses (i.e. cancer, heart disease, and diabetes), high blood pressure, and weight gain. One particularly annoying stress side-effect is something few people like to discuss—bad bowels.
When we’re uber stressed (thanks, Corona Virus), our bodies go into fight or flight mode, shutting or slowing down unessential bodily functions. Our digestive system is one of the first to go.
Ever noticed an increase in gas, constipation, or diarrhea when you’re feeling super tense? You can blame that on the “gut-brain connection. As stated by Harvard researchers, “the brain has a direct effect on the stomach and intestines.”
Since some stress will always be present in our lives, it’s important to learn how to heal our guts naturally. Here are a few helpful tips to help keep your bowels moving in the right direction.
Stretch for Motility. Regular stretching can help relieve constipation, especially if you practice certain stretches that promote movement in the bowels. Ever heard of the wind-relieving pose? It really works!
According to a study in the journal, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, practicing yoga can help reduce the negative symptoms associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which includes bloating and constipation. Book a session with one of our Certified Stretch Specialists for a well-targeted stretch routine that will help relieve gut issues.
Add Postbiotics to Your Meals. We’ve all heard of probiotics (i.e. acidophilus) and prebiotics (complex carbs like fiber). These friendly bacteria and yeasts found in our guts help keep everything in tip-top condition. They can help inhibit the growth of disease-causing bacteria and improve gastrointestinal function, which is why many of us add them as a supplement to our diets.
Postbiotics are found in fermented foods (think kefir, kombucha, and miso). They’re also made in our digestive system when bacteria consume prebiotics. A recent study in the journal Nutrients has found that postbiotics can reduce the risk of inflammatory bowel disease and strengthen our immune systems.
Move Your Body. The best way to prevent things from getting bunged up is by exercising. Whether you choose to do a leisurely-paced walk daily or a more vigorous run or swim, your gut will reap the benefits of your frequent activity. In addition to stimulating your bowels, exercising can help relieve stress and anxiety, which will, in turn, keep things regular.
Bust Stress. Getting rid of stress is easier said than done. That doesn’t mean cutting down on the tension in your life is impossible. A few important ways to reduce stress include:
Eat Well. We all know processed foods are bad for us. Sadly, our willpower isn’t always strong enough to resist delicious temptations. While it’s okay to partake in some of our faves every once in a while, (hello, chips, chocolate, and wine), you need to ensure that you aren’t loading up on unhealthy foods too often. Whole, fiber-rich fruits, and vegetables are the best bet when it comes to maintaining a healthy gut and relieving annoying symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, and bloating. Try to reach for one of these instead of that ice cream bar the next time a craving hits.
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