Did you know that diet and stress can disrupt your gut balance? In this episode of Flow Over Fear, Adam sits down with nutrition expert Leslie Bobb to discuss the powerful connection between gut health and mental wellness.
Leslie shares how our modern lifestyle and diet has disrupted the natural balance of bacteria in our guts, leading to increased rates of anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. She offers simple lifestyle tweaks we can make to support our gut health and reduce stress.
Here are some power takeaways from today’s conversation:
- 90% of serotonin is produced in the gut
- Stress impacts gut health through cortisol and adrenaline
- Fermented foods support gut health
- Simple lifestyle changes like deep breathing before meals
[09:24] How Stress Impacts the Gut
When we experience stress, our brains release hormones like cortisol and adrenaline which signal through the vagus nerve to the gut. This causes the gut to shift resources away from digestion to more immediate needs like our muscles. As a result, the gut lining and microbiome become depleted of oxygen and blood flow. Over time, this damages the delicate environment of our guts. Leslie also explains that the gut communicates back to the brain, so disruptions from stress lead to tension that our brains interpret as anxiety or worry. This highlights how lifestyle factors like managing stress are crucial to supporting both our physical gut health and mental wellness. Taking care of the gut through diet and reducing stress can help break this cycle.
[24:04] Listen to Your Body’s Signals
When the gut is imbalanced, it can manifest in a variety of ways like bloating, gas, headaches, fatigue, mood issues or menstrual cramps. However, these symptoms aren’t always obvious. Leslie advises tuning into how we feel each day to become more aware of small changes.
Our gut health can influence our entire well-being, so paying attention to signals is key. Minor dietary adjustments like reducing stress, including fermented foods or limiting irritants may be enough to remedy mild issues. This highlights how simple lifestyle medicine approaches can support our guts before problems escalate. By listening inward, we empower ourselves to proactively manage our health through small daily optimizations.
[44:04] Fermented Foods Support the Microbiome
Fermenting foods at home is one of the best ways to nourish your gut bacteria. When microbes ferment foods, they predigest compounds, unlocking nutrients and making them more bioavailable to our bodies. By cultivating a robust inner ecosystem through fermented foods, our guts can resist invading microbes that could otherwise cause illness. Overall, regular inclusion of fermented vegetables, dairy or other traditionally fermented foods is a powerful way to support gut and mental health through microbiome optimization.
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