How to keep your digestive system healthy
Digestion is the process of breaking down food to deliver the nutrients our body needs and getting rid of the wastes it doesn’t. And most of us don’t really think about it until things start to go wrong. Anything from being sick to taking medications to gulping down food can affect your digestive health. No surprise, one of the biggest culprits is stress.
The reason is the gut/brain connection. When your brain detects any kind of threat, it shoots stress hormones throughout your body — including your gut. This explains why your stomach may start to clench or rumble when you’re anxious or upset, sometimes causing a stomach ache or more painful bout of gas and diarrhea.
In most cases, most anxiety-reducing techniques can help make your stomach less sensitive to stress. Deep breathing can help calm your mind and release tension in the abdominal muscles, easing digestion and other tummy troubles.
Exercise too is one of the most time-honored stress-relievers. But it doesn’t mean going hard-core at the gym. Even a 20-minute stroll can help soothe nerves, reduce gas and bloating, and improve digestive health. If you can, try to get out to a nearby park. Research shows that people who walked through nature reported less anxiety than those who walked near busy traffic.