Eating While Stressed? This is What Happens in Your Body

by | February 20, 2020

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As seen on WebFMD.

I’m happy to share an article I recently contributed to webFMD (think a WebMD for functional medicine) on how stress affects our digestion and gut bacteria, and what we can do about it.

So, how does stress affect our digestion?

We now have enough data to know that stress is intimately connected to our entire physiology. We are beginning to understand how it affects all the different systems in the body, including our digestion.

When we are stressed, our body is getting ready for fight-or-flight, not to digest food; blood flow is diverted away from the gut into the muscles, the stomach’s pH level changes, and, with chronic stress, the gut microbiome is altered. Yes, the composition of our gut bacteria changes as a result of stress!

woman eating pizza

I often see individuals who are going through transitions, or are undergoing particularly stressful periods in their lives, who travel frequently for work or do shift work. They often report gastrointestinal problems such as irregular bowel movements, bloating and stomach discomfort. When on vacation or after their stressful situation has resolved, however, these individuals’ symptoms can dramatically improve. 

When we eat while we are stressed, our digestive system is not optimally digesting the food we eat. Our gut motility changes, and the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food is impaired. During periods of stress, you also may notice digestive issues, even if you eat a healthy diet. 

Go to my article to learn about the gut-brain axis, the role our gut bacteria play in our health and what you can do to restore the calmness needed while eating and optimize your digestion! 

To your health, 
Dr. Bojana


Nothing stated or posted in this article is intended or should be taken to be the practice of medical or counseling care. The information made available in this article, including, but not limited to, interviews, text, graphics, images, links to other articles, websites, and other material contained in this article, is strictly for informational and entertainment purposes only. The information in this article is NOT (and should not be used as) a substitute for professional psychiatry, psychology, medical, nursing, or professional healthcare advice or services, nor is it designed to suggest any specific diagnosis or treatment. Please always seek medical advice from your physician or a qualified health care provider regarding any medical questions, conditions or treatment, before making any changes to your health care regimen, medications or lifestyle habits. None of the information in this article is a representation or warranty that any particular drug or treatment is safe, appropriate or effective for you, or that any particular healthcare provider is appropriate for you. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking help from a health care provider due to something you have read or seen in this article. Your reading/use of this article does not create in any way a physician-patient relationship, any sort of confidential, fiduciary or professional relationship, or any other special relationship that would give rise to any duties. This article does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, healthcare providers, procedures, or treatments, and if you rely on any of the information provided by this article, you do so solely at your own risk.

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