Written by Julia Pizzolato, Health & Wellness Writer for Klerely 360
17 Jul, 2020
The relationship status between your brain and gut is complicated. If it goes awry due to stress, it can wreak havoc on your health. We researched six foolproof ways to heal the brain-gut relationship and get your healthy life back.
Did you know that 70% of your immune function lives in your microbiome, aka your gut?
So when you are under epic levels of stress—like a pandemic complete with quarantine orders, widespread social division in our country, and job loss—it can wreak havoc on your gut, your overall health, and your skin.
Your brain is talking to your gut all day.
The nerves you feel when your boss says, “we need to talk,” the anxious worry over a looming deadline or the fear around contracting a novel coronavirus are all examples of your brain talking to your gut.
Your brain is telling your gut to get ready—stress is ahead. In most cases, this is a healthy response—your body needs to prepare for fight or flight in case of danger.
The challenge comes when the stress response is chronic—when something like dealing with deadlines happens to you every day. Chronic stress was common before COVID-19 hit the US, but it’s at extreme levels for a lot of us these days, and those extreme levels can cause a big health challenge known as leaky gut (intestinal permeability).
If your gut isn’t healthy, you aren’t either.
Stress and gut health can be a vicious cycle. Your thoughts can create emotions that signal stress to the gut. This constant stress-signaling results in an unhealthy response from your gut that breaks down its secure lining.
When the lining of your gut is weak, harmful toxins can enter your bloodstream. This causes yet more stress because your body is under constant attack from toxins in the blood. And round and round we go.
Leaky gut symptoms include:
Digestive issues like gas, diarrhea, constipation, or bloating.
Autoimmune diseases like irritable bowel syndrome.
Headaches, brain fog, and memory loss.
Depression and anxiety.
Skin issues, including hives, rashes, acne, rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema.
But you don’t have to live with a stressed-out gut and the molecular shenanigans that come with it. You can take control, kick stress to the curb, and never look back. You’ll be healthier than most of your friends, and they’ll marvel at your noticeable glow.
Good news for your gut and brain relationship.
You can make tremendous strides in healing your gut by using these all natural remedies--some of them at no cost.
Follow these steps to beat stress, heal your gut, and protect your skin:
1. Remove inflammatory foods.
Alcohol, gluten, processed foods that contain things like high fructose corn syrup, soy, dairy, sugar, and eggs can cause inflammatory responses in your body, especially when your microbiome has been compromised. Eliminate these foods from your diet, and it’s likely you’ll feel some relief in just a few days. For confirmation of food sensitivities, you can ask your doctor for a blood test to determine exactly what your body is reacting to.
2. Add therapeutic foods.
High fiber foods – Your gut loves fiber. You know how you feel when you see the sale sign in the window at Jimmy Choo? That’s how your gut feels about fiber. There’s no such thing as too many shoes, and there’s no such thing as too much fiber, as far as your gut is concerned. Shop the produce section more than you shop the middle section at the grocery store, and you’ll have a happy gut. (3)
Collagen peptides – Collagen peptides contain abundant amounts of glutamic acid, the precursor to glutamine (your body converts it as needed), which is a key amino acid in the maintenance of intestinal cellular integrity and function (4), (5). In plain English, collagen can help strengthen and rejuvenate the lining of your intestinal walls just like it does your skin. Win-win.
Fermented foods – foods like kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha can help you put the good bacteria back in your gut once you get the bad bacteria kicked out.
3. Get 8 hours of sleep.
An investment in sleep is an investment in your gut. Your body needs this time to repair the damage it undergoes daily, and this is especially true for stress recovery. But when you’re stressed, it can be harder to sleep, right? Right. See numbers 1, 2, 4, and 6 to combat that problem.
4. Get in the habit of stress-busting exercise.
There’s no way to overstate the importance of exercise to your immune function and your brain and gut health. Any kind you want to do counts—yoga, a brisk walk, jumping jacks on your balcony, or a TikTok dance challenge (have you seen the Cupid Shuffle plank challenge? that’ll give anyone a heart-racing good time). Thirty minutes, no compromises.
5. Talk it out.
That’s what friends are for, right? Never be afraid (or embarrassed) to reach out and ask for help, advice, or just a shoulder to lean on, in a socially-distanced manner, of course.
Sit still. Your mother used to say it all the time. Heed her command. Sit down and focus on nothing but your breath for at least 15 minutes a day. You probably spend more time shopping for the latest in loungewear and scrolling through your Insta-feed. Take some of that time back and give your brain a much-needed break.
Live it up with your healthy gut.
Following these steps will mean you can handle that looming deadline, difficult conversation, or fear of the unknown with no lasting side effects. Not only are these steps that will help heal your gut, but they are also beneficial (and necessary) for your overall health and happiness. And we want you to have all the happiness.
This content is not meant to be a medical diagnosis or a medical treatment plan. Please seek testing from your doctor for diagnosis of any perceived medical condition.