In my final post about 4 Ways to Love Your Guts, we are talking stress. You may wonder; what does stress have to do with the gut? Well the answer is absolutely everything. Stress affects virtually all aspects of your health and can especially weaken the immune system and damage the gut. Stress lowers our digestive enzymes which help break down our foods. If undigested foods seep into the gut, it can cause many health problems like autoimmune conditions, leaky gut, allergies, inflammation, and much more. Likewise, if roughly 80 percent of the immune system is located in the gut, and stress weakens the immune system, gut health and stress are directly correlated.
I wrote a post about stress and the countless health issues that arise; specifically the issues related to our blood sugar levels and elevated cortisol for prolonged periods of time. Often times our issues with food can even have little to do with food itself and more to do with stress and our emotions. I wrote an article that was featured in Mind Body Green surrounding eating during the holidays and how a decline in health may not necessarily be due to the food we are eating, but perhaps related to the increased amount of stress we are under.
It is true; stress has a direct relation on our health on so many levels. To combat this, we need to make sure we are taking time for ourselves and limiting our stress as much as possible. Yoga, massages, meditation, infrared saunas, walking, there are countless ways to help ease tension and reduce stress. In times of stress, it is equally as important to be compassionate and mindful to yourself, nourishing your body with healthy foods like bone broths as well as probiotics to keep the gut healthy.
Eating healthy fats is also incredibly important during times of stress as fat keeps our energy levels stable and since our cortisol levels are off the charts during periods of stress, good quality fats help maintain our energy levels and keep it from fluctuating. Check out my post on Fat is Your Friend for more information on the health benefits of quality fats. A fantastic, nourishing recipe to try would be Turmeric & Yogurt Braised Chicken as it incorporates all things healing for stress: bone broth to help support gut health, full fat dairy to incorporate healthy fats to maintain blood sugar levels, and turmeric to lower inflammation that may be caused during times of stress. Not only does this recipe contain all the nutrients to help counteract stress, it is incredibly comforting, even the color alone is so vibrant and can help ease your mind. Most importantly, make sure you are nourishing your body to help maintain a strong immune system during periods of stress.