anxiety belly and foods to ease symptoms
picture this: mile long check lists and to do's ensuring everyone is happy with the decisions you are making, on top of the demands of work, your extracurricular activities, balancing a budget, and let's not forget trying to find the time to squeeze in a workout and eat healthy.
raise your hand if this sounds all too familiar?
enough to cause major anxiety, stomach pains, and indigestion. what's a girl to do?
well let's first break it down, as to why this might be happening:
- abdominal tension
stress causes tension in the belly, tiring out abdominal muscles and squeezing organs creating a dull ache or pain. when contractions are stronger or last longer than normal it can cause gas, bloating, and diarrhea. on the opposite end of the spectrum, weak contractions can slow food transit causing constipation.
stress impacts hormone levels, and our hormone levels are closely linked to digestion. when you are stressed, hormones may cause bloating and intestinal pain. additionally, anxiety releases epinephrine, which leads to increased production of stomach acid causing irritation to the esophagus and stomach pain, as well as nausea and vomiting.
anxiety has been named one of the most likely causes of IBS which is associated with cramping, pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea or constipation.
it's important to go see your doctor if you have a persistent change in bowel habits, but there are diet and lifestyle modifications that can help ease symptoms.
let's first take a look at foods that may contribute to the problem. do yourself a favor and avoid these guys:
- sugar (including processed, simple carbs) - leads to inflammation and a rise in cortisol levels, which causes strain on our GI tract causing additional stressors
- alcohol - impacts our liver, disrupts our hormones as well as our sleep
- excessive caffeine - disrupts our adrenals and nervous system, irritates the GI tract
- spicy foods and citrus - may contribute to acid reflux
and here's what we want to eat to ease symptoms:
- b complex vitamins - almonds, bananas, oatmeal, avocados, asparagus
- magnesium - spinach, bananas, nuts
- calcium - broccoli, kale, yogurt, edamame, figs
- vitamin c - blueberries, strawberries, kiwi, oranges (if you are having acid reflux - avoid citrus)
- omega-3s - salmon, walnuts, ground flax
chow down, ladies!
other lifestyle preventative measures include exercise, meditation and progressive relaxation exercises, as well as mindfulness training, all which we can discuss as part of your wellness package.