December 2nd

theresa albert - my friend in food


Nervous Stomach Explained


Ever had that “gut reaction”?  “butterflies”? “nervous stomach”?

Relatively recent study proves that the feeling is very real and can affect your entire life.  There is a distinct connection between what goes on in the stomach and how you “feel” in the head.  Dr. Michael Gershon’s book The Second Brain, published in 1998 set up a cascade of research that adds clarity and validity to the phrase: trust your gut.

The short strokes are this:

  • Your guts are literally nervous-there are as many nerve cells in the gut as there are in the spinal cord
  • 95% of your serotonin (the “feel good” brain chemical) is made and stored in the gut
  • There is a direct system connecting the gut with the brain that bypasses the usual communication route: the spinal cord. It’s called the enteric nervous system (ENS) and it carries signals direction from the gut to the brain and vice versa.
  • It is believed that the gut’s neurotransmitters have their own way of responding to fear and anxiety without (and before) the brain can assess.

What this all means is the subject of furious study but it should at least convince us to take good care of our digestive systems.  Having a digestive system that isn’t working optimally means that you can’t get all the nutrients from your food through your stomach and into your cells, including your brain. If the stomach can’t make the serotonin, how do you think your brain is going to feel?

Here is what your stomach wants to help it run smoothly so it can mitigate your mood:

  • Small amounts of high nutrient food every 3 or 4 hours, allowing the stomach do its work and then rest
  • Good strong stomach acid (yes, I said strong)
  • Probiotics to feed the good bacteria
  • Prebiotics to feed the probiotics
  • Fibre to help move the waste through

Here is what you want to avoid to give your guts a break:

  • White flour-creates a sticky, goopy mess (remember glue in kindergarten?) that creates a less than stellar environment for all this action.
  • Excess of sugar-feeds the bad bacteria
  • In severe cases a reduction or elimination of mold from baker’s yeast, blue cheese, wine etc  which also may be feeding the bad bacteria

Following these few simple steps sets up your stomach for success. Get that running smoothly and see if some of that nervous stomach disappears.

Here is how blogger Heather handles the stress…

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert

I love food, try to watch my weight, know more than I want to about healthy living (sometimes I wish I knew less so I wouldn’t feel so guilty when I stumble), am a daughter, sister, friend, mom and wife who worries and scurries the meals onto the table. It is for all these reasons that I completed my nutrition, RNCP designation, wrote my book, hosted my Food Network show, consult with food companies to urge them to get it right (or at least better), constantly write about it, research it, all of this so I can cut through the nutrition and food “news” clutter. Happy to share with friends!


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