Our physical health is heavily tied to our mental health. Studies have shown that imbalances in gut bacteria can lead to more than just physical discomfort. When the toxins leak from your intestines, an inflammatory response is triggered, and your gut is transformed into an environment of unhealthy microbiomes. This digestive reaction – also known as “leaky gut” syndrome – becomes a greater issue beyond your intestinal walls.
Physical symptoms can manifest, such as:
- Chronic fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating
- Autoimmune disorders
- Skin conditions
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Joint pain
Did you know that mental health symptoms can also occur from a leaky gut? Those who suffer from unbalanced microbiomes will be more likely to struggle with depression, anxiety, and ADHD. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, this may explain why people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are more likely to develop depression and anxiety.
This article will cover three ways to manage your anxiety through your gut’s health. As always, be sure to review any lifestyle and dietary changes with your doctor first.
- Focus on Your Diet
The typical “western diet” consists of high intakes of red meat, sugary foods, and high-fat dairy products. People tend to overlook the value of fibrous foods, which aid in digestion, weight loss, and blood sugar balance.
Try to find ways to incorporate superfoods in your diet, such as avocados, broccoli, salmon, and nuts. These foods are full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids and fiber which lower anxiety, boost gut health, and reduce inflammation.
- Take Probiotics and Prebiotics
You may need to consider taking probiotics and probiotics if:
- You suffer from one or more anxiety/mood disorders
- You are always getting sick
- You have allergies or asthma
- You have low energy levels
Prebiotics are plant fibers that encourage the growth of healthy bacteria within your gut. Foods such as asparagus, bananas, garlic, and artichokes are great sources of prebiotics.
Probiotics, on the other hand, are living microorganisms that can assist with gut balance and digestion. You can take supplements for both probiotics and prebiotics, both of which have been shown to reduce anxiety and depression, regulate metabolism, and support a healthy gut microbiome.
- Prioritize Digestion
When we’re busy, we often will snack or eat fast-food meals that are the most efficient for our schedules. When you neglect your diet or don’t give your body time to properly digest, your gut will have a harder time retaining nutrients and maintaining balance. This can lead to headaches, fatigue, anxiety, and depression.
After you eat a full, healthy meal, allow yourself the chance to rest and digest. That way, your body will be able to produce gastric juices to break down the food and absorb the nutrients. Better digestion promotes a healthier gut and ultimately reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Understanding the Brain-Gut Connection
When you put your gut health first, you are encouraging a healthier outlook for both your physical and mental wellbeing. Take the time to adjust your diet, take nutritional supplements, and digest nourishing food. Your gut – and your mind – will thank you!