Three Little Known Ways to Relieve Stress in Your Gut
Feel like you’ve tried every suggestion under the sun for a happier gut with little success? Here are four suggestions you might not have heard of; we hope you find one or several of them helpful! By Nutritionist and GoodnessMe Box Health Editor Melissa Fine.
1. Cook With Carminative Herbs
Carm-what? You’ve probably actually consumed a range of these herbs in your food before. Carminative herbs are culinary herbs that may help prevent or reduce gas from forming in the gastrointestinal tract after a meal. They also add and enhance flavour to your cooking, and so the saying ‘let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’ really applies here.
If you’re prone to bloating or stomach cramping after eating, try adding more carminative herbs to your cooking and see if you notice a difference (and remember to chew your food, too!). Common carminative herbs, include:
- Coriander seed – commonly used in Indian dishes, try it in a homemade curry.
- Cinnamon - sprinkle on your porridge, muesli, yoghurt, latte or sweet potato! I love how this spice can enhance sweet or savoury dishes.
- Ginger – thinly slice a thumb-size worth of fresh ginger and add it to your stir-fry; or make fresh ginger tea - cut the ginger into chunks and add to a mug of just-boiled water along with a wedge of lemon.
- Peppermint – an oldie but a goodie, sip on peppermint tea for a post-meal digestive that reduces intestinal spasm.
2. Get Some Sleep
Sleep is incredibly restorative and a good sleep can work wonders for a sore stomach or an irritable bowel. It also gives your hard-working gastrointestinal tract an opportunity to rest. Be kind to yourself and try to establish a sleep pattern that’s as regular as possible; that means rising and going to bed at a similar time each day and night.
It’s also worth switching off from social media and dimming the lights an hour before bed to help increase your levels of melatonin, a sleep-regulating hormone produced naturally by the pineal gland in the brain. AKA ‘the darkness hormone’, melatonin secretion improves in the dark and so your levels can be reduced if you’re being exposed to artificial light (i.e., your iPhone screen!).
3. Do Yoga
Your gut is your second brain; in fact, it has more receptors for the ‘feel-good hormone’ serotonin the brain itself. Since moving to Hong Kong from Sydney last year I’ve gotten back into yoga (after a 12 year hiatus) and am so glad I have; I’ve found that apart from calming the mind, it also seems to calm the gut…and helps me sleep better!
Let us know what you do to help soothe your gut.