If you’re visiting the bathroom more than you’d like on the morning of a make-it-or-break-it presentation or the evening of a highly anticipated Bumble date, it’s no coincidence.
Turns out a literal gut reaction to nerve-racking situations is super common, says holistic psychiatrist Ellen Vora, MD. “There is a direct and powerful relationship between stress and gut health,” Dr. Vora says. “Stress compromises the health of our digestive tract in a variety of ways.”
That means on days when your Google cal is booked solid, GI issues may ride shotgun. But don’t freak: We teamed up with RenewLife®—the high-potency probiotic supplements for a vibrant gut—to help you embrace the calm and reap the stomach-soothing perks.
Scroll down to find out the gut-health bonuses of staying stress-free.
1. You could cut down on the bloat (and related GI distress)
Consider this: When you’re properly fueled and well-rested, there’s nothing stopping you from being a rock star at work. Your body’s digestion system is the same.
When stress or extreme fatigue enters the equation, diarrhea, constipation, and bloating can too, says Dr. Vora. “In order to secrete digestive enzymes and properly digest our food (and thereby optimally absorb and assimilate nutrients from our food), our nervous system needs to be in the parasympathetic state (i.e., relaxation),” she explains.
Committing to daily acts of kindness toward yourself like being realistic about your daily goals and taking regular breaks can help keep your gut calm. “Switch out one or two intense workouts—or, as the case may be, one or two nights of bingeing on Netflix—for a gentle yoga class,” Dr. Vora suggests.
2. You’ll build up your inner good-bacteria army
If healthy gut flora could be nominated for an award, it’d win the Best Supporting category hands down. That’s because good bacteria are the MVPs of the digestive tract, keeping things running smoothly.
Stress can wreak havoc on daily operations, though. “Stress creates conditions in the digestive tract that promote the dominance of pathogenic bacteria over beneficial bacteria,” says Dr. Vora. “This contributes to dysbiosis (an imbalance in our gut flora) and gut inflammation.”
Practicing stress relief and taking a daily probiotic supplement with a diverse set of beneficial strains—like RenewLife®’s Ultimate Flora Women’s Care Probiotic 25 Billion, the fan-favorite women’s probiotic specially formulated for female bodies—can help create a hospitable environment for your gut-boosting helpers to thrive.
“Probiotics can support the healthy balance of bacteria in the gut, and they help communicate a signal of safety to the immune cells in our digestive tract, decreasing overall gut inflammation,” Dr. Vora says.
3. You could get a good-mood boost
Think of the gut and brain like roommates in a tiny apartment, where one person’s mood can deeply affect the other’s wellbeing. In turn, taking care of your gut by popping a high-potency probiotic supplement and prioritizing relaxation could help positively affect your emotional state.
“There’s a two-way street between the gut and the brain when it comes to stress,” Dr. Vora says. “When we’re stressed, this negatively impacts the gut. Meanwhile, an inflamed or dysbiotic gut sends communication up to our brain informing us to that something is not right in our body.”
That’s right: “An unhealthy gut makes us feel stressed.” (Insert mind-blown emoji.) To break the cycle, pencil in deep breaths, midday strolls, and downtime—and your daily probiotic, of course.
In partnership with RenewLife®
Top photo: BONNINSTUDIO
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