One way to heal a stressed-out stomach through food
Updated: Feb 26
Stress can manifest itself in so many ways and when we get too high a dose of it, it can really impact our physical (and emotional) health, and especially our digestion. Insatiable cravings for sugar or refined carbohydrates start to arise excessively during those times and perhaps it all feels so overwhelming as you don't know how to cope with it all.
Don't panic, move through it, exhale it out and be reassured that there is a nutritive solution that can support your microbiome and flatten your cravings.
Reach for "bitter foods"
Research has shown that bitter foods can really help you manage your sugar intake as they stabilise your hunger hormones - leptin and ghrelin - and even out blood sugar. They also stimulate the liver to produce bile, a critical step in digestion, enabling stronger nutrient absorption like vitamins A (immunity and reproductive health support), D (important for intestinal health and cognitive function), E (an antioxidant that inhibits free radicals and UV damage) and K (to protect blood and bone health).
Including a diverse spectrum of vegetables and fruit in your diet in general creates a strong foundation for suppressing sugar cravings. Mental stress can disrupt the gut’s delicate ecosystem just as a mismanaged gut greatly affects mood and cognitive function.
When we fuel our body with healthy nutrients, the body has the ability to naturally balance, detox, and metabolise. Experiment and have fun in the kitchen! You might want to stock up your pantry with more bitter plants like chicory, parsley and galangal root (great for making curries and soups).
There are many additional ways to destress, but when you eat foods like leafy greens and fresh produce, you encourage the vibrant growth of good bacteria, which will give you glowing skin, smooth digestion and balanced hormones. Eating a lot of sugar encourages candida yeast to thrive. This not only throws your system off course (think bloating, chronic fatigue and unsurprisingly, yeast infections) but also causes you to crave even more sugar.
As an experiment, spend a week by using vegetables as the centrepiece of your meals instead of having them on the side or as a garnish. How does that feel? You should start to notice differences to your energy, bloating and hunger levels and even your sleep pattern at night.
Report back to me in the comments below - I’m excited to hear how it worked for you!