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The stress-gut connection, explained


Joel spoke to the Sydney Morning Herald about the gut-brain axis – see the link.


When we become stressed, this triggers our body to release a series of hormones – often known as ‘fight or flight’ mode – where our body gets ready to handle the ‘threat’ at hand. This response can raise our blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar levels so that we are ready to ward off any threat.


There is a bi-directional conversation between the brain and the gut (known as the gut-brain axis –and this helps to regulate hunger and fullness, but also influences our mood and how we feel (which has seen our gut earning the moniker, the second brain).


Looking after our gut health is particularly useful to influence a positive mood. Choosing a diet rich in fermentable fibres such as vegetables, fruit and whole grains, and fermented foods such as yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh and kefir – will help feed and boost your gut bacteria. This is likely to help lower inflammation, to help us feel less stressed.


The ‘gut microbiome’ refers to the bacteria and fungi, that live in our digestive system. While we often think of bacteria as being harmful, those that live in our gut actually support our immune system, are involved in synthesising a range of vitamins, help to digest carbohydrates, and communicate with a number of vital organs. Sufficed to say that having a healthy gut microbiome is definitely an asset!


Our gut microbiome acts as our first line of defence against pathogens or harmful bacteria that we may have ingested.


The area of gut health is an emerging and exciting area of research with so much more yet to be revealed. Stay tuned.