There’s no doubt that we are in the midst of a mental health epidemic, with a quarter of people in the UK suffering anxiety at some point in their life.
One of the more prolific conditions is anxiety, and it often acts as a segue to other disorders like depression and panic disorder. It’s safe to say, therefore, that many of us are all too aware of the effect that anxiety can have on our tummies – from nervous butterflies to more severe scenarios.
But recent research is beginning to reveal that the causal relationship between anxiety and the gut may be the exact reverse as what we have previously believed. In other words, it’s not your anxiety giving you a bad tummy – it may be that your bad tummy is giving you anxiety.
“When we have inflammation in our gut, we are not able to absorb or produce vital nutrients, chemicals and enzymes that are pivotal in keeping our minds and bodies healthy,” says specialist, Dr Elke Benedetto-Reisch, medical director of medical and wellness clinic Lanserhof.
One such chemical is serotonin – a naturally occurring chemical that is responsible for the communication between nerve cells and is crucial for regulating mood, aiding healthy sleep patterns and optimising memory. It is now believed that up to 90% of the body’s entire serotonin is produced by the gastrointestinal tract (the gut). “If your gut is inflamed and not functioning, you will not be able to produce adequate serotonin, triggering insomnia, depression and other mental health disorders,” explains Dr Benedetto-Reisch.
And while the NHS are arguably at a loss over how to manage and treat the mental health crisis, it may be worth making a few dietary and lifestyle changes in the hope that your anxiety may ease as a result.
“Bad eating habits, such as eating too fast, too late in the evening, too much and too often contribute to poor gut health,” warns Dr Benedetto-Reisch. As for the foods to cut back on if you’re suffering? “Fast food, processed food, alcohol, soft drinks, sugar and very often gluten and milk products.” Bring on the broccoli…
Taken from GLAMOUR UK. Read the original here.
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