When you’re feeling stressed or anxious, you might turn to a relaxing self-care ritual, go for a run, or pause to write down what’s feeding the feeling. These methods can be highly effective at easing tension in the moment, but let’s take a second to think beyond the quick fix. What’s going on in the brain has a lot to do with what’s going on in the gut, and vice versa. According to Harvard Medical School, the brain and the gut send signals to each other, meaning that an unhappy gut can lead to anxiety, stress, or feelings of depression and the other way around, with these feelings leading to irritation or inflammation. And with more than 90% of serotonin produced in the gut, give yours what it needs to be happy and healthy.
Focus on Plant Fiber
As we alluded to in 5 Healthy Ways to Detox, filling your diet with whole, fiber-rich foods is one of the best ways to achieve optimal gut health. The average American consumes around half of the recommended amount of fiber (25 to 30 grams), and a lack can lead to digestive problems, higher cholesterol, and higher risk for developing conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Plant fiber feeds the good bacteria to protect your body and boost the immune system while giving you the energy you need to move through each day. Here are some foods we recommend adding to your grocery list:
Another plant-based source of nourishment, ginger helps aid in digestion, soothes stomach pain, and reduces inflammation. (And this is on top of its potential to support heart health and ease period cramps). Add it into your morning routine by grating it into warm lemon water.
Get Your Probiotics
Helping to restore and balance the gut, probiotics are a powerful way to care for the body and mind. You can get yours in by consuming fermented foods (we’re talking things like kombucha, tempeh, miso, and kimchi) or by adding a supplement to your diet.
Take Steps to Manage Daily Stress
As the brain-gut connection highlights, what’s happening in our thinking mind can have an effect on our inner wellbeing. If you find yourself battling high amounts of stress in your day to day life, try incorporating consistent practices that will inspire more balance. Whether that’s taking time to write down what you’re grateful for every day or meditating for 10 minutes in the morning or evening, find what helps you stay grounded.