Your gut can be a funny thing at times. The links with your mental health are obvious – you have an upcoming presentation or performance review at work so you may feel a bit stressed which in turn gives you butterflies in your stomach. Or you might have a race on the weekend and you’re feeling nervous and you might experience a change when you go to the bathroom (I’m talking about poo people haha!).
Research has shown that 95% of your bodies serotonin is found/produced in your bowels. Serotonin is an important chemical and neurotransmitter in your body that helps regulate mood, appetite, digestion etc. So you’re probably already realising how there is such a significant link between our gut, brain and mental health.
Looking after your gut is not only important for your mental health but also for athletes and the general population exercising at high levels/intensity. When you exercise/train/compete this stresses your body, including your gut, therefore you need to look after it as it’s crucial for absorbing nutrients which help with fuelling and kickstarting your recovery.
A good start is to keep an eye on your bowel habits and how they are effected by what you eat, your exercise levels and how much fluid you drink. This is a really helpful bit of info to take along to a consultation with your Sports Dietitian/Dietitian. From there I can help you by coming up with a plan to support your gut health, which in turn supports your mental health and get the most out of your performance, whether on the sporting field or in day to day life!
There’s a lot more to gut health than just the above, and is something I will touch on in future posts!