It's no surprise that many of us are feeling more stressed than ever. We're living through a global pandemic that has completely shifted our version of "normal" - and we're not sure when (or if) things will be going back. But, even though there are many aspects of our lives that feel out of control - there's one part of our well-being we can influence: our gut health.
Over the past few years, scientists have become increasingly aware of the impact that our gut health has on every aspect of our being. Because our gut, or microbiome, is connected to nearly every part of our body - when it's out of balance it can affect our mental wellness (and influence anxiety, depression and brain fog), our digestive system, and even our skin. Often, our microbiome becomes out of balance when we're stressed or when we eat processed foods that are high in sugar.
So, what can we do about it? Well, there are a few really simple ways we can continue to take care of our gut health, and in turn, our entire well-being. Here are some easy ways to begin to make change:
1. Eat whole veggies + fruits as much as possible: Our guts need a lot of fiber to balance the bacteria that already exist. Focusing on building a diet packed with whole, unprocessed foods, and dark, leafy veggies is key.
2. Increase the (good) bacteria: Our guts "feed" off of good bacteria and vitamins, like pre- and probiotics. You can find these gut-healthy bacteria in fermented foods, like kimchi and yogurt. Probiotic supplements are a good option too.
3. Rest is just as important: When we're stressed, our bodies automatically become inflamed. Creating space to tap into our parasympathetic nervous system (aka - turning off our "fight or flight" reactions) can help to reduce inflammation in the body, and in turn, create a better environment for our gut health to thrive.
Bottom line: while stress is inevitable, especially during these times, we're able to control our physical and emotional well-being by managing our gut health. By focusing on the simple stuff - like eating clean, whole foods and making space to rest - we can live longer, healthier lives.
How do you maintain a healthy gut? Share with us by tagging us on Instagram at @kosterina!
Olive Oil Sommelier, Katerina Mountanos, is the Founder & CEO of Kosterina. Katerina is very passionate about olive oil, the Mediterranean lifestyle and eating for health and longevity.
Some of my favorite moments in life are the times after a meal where conversations continue and a second drink is served. I often feel a ping of disappointment in that moment where someone gets up and starts to pick up the dishes. I try not to be that person.