The fast-paced life has got all of us rushing through the day without any rest or relaxation. The invariable result is truckloads of stress and in some cases anxiety. But a recent study suggests that you can tackle stress and anxiety by simply stepping up your fiber intake and include more high-fiber foods in your diet.
Stress can trouble the body at many levels. According to the research, it can cause major changes in the gut and also in our brain and this, in turn, affects our behavior. But consuming high-fiber foods can trigger the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which are produced by gut bacteria. SCFAs are the main source of nutrition for cells in the gut.
“There is a growing recognition of the role of gut bacteria and the chemicals they make in the regulation of physiology and behavior. The role of short-chain fatty acids in this process is poorly understood up until now,” corresponding author John F. Cryan from University College Cork in Ireland was quoted as saying.
The research, which was published in The Journal of Physiology, saw a team of experts feeding normally produced SCFAs to mice, which were then subjected to stress. Next, these mice were assessed for anxiety and depressive behavior, stress responsiveness, cognition, and sociability as well as how easily material passes through the gut. The results revealed an inverse relationship between the level of stress and anxiety and the level of SCFAs.
This goes on to prove that stress can not only affect your mental state but can also hamper the gut. According to the investigators, stress experienced over a prolonged period of time can affect the bowel by making the barrier between the inside of the gut and the rest of the body less effective and “leaky”.
So, if you’re having a stressful day, week, or month, be sure to eat plenty of high-fiber foods like vegetables, wholegrain cereals, and pulses.