Your gut health and your mental health are as inescapably intertwined as summertime and rosé. This link is an area Western medicine has just begun to explore (more on that in a bit). But it’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation: Which came first, your anxiety or your gut issues? We spoke to Kimberly Snyder, nutritionist and New York Times best-selling author of the Beauty Detox book series and Radical Beauty, to help break down the brain-gut connection.
“In 2001, Dr. Emeran Mayer, a professor of medicine, physiology and psychiatry at UCLA, found that the brain and the gut have a complex, bi-directional communication system that aids in digestion but also motivation and higher cognitive functions, including intuitive decision-making,” Kimberly says. “It turns out the pathway to treating depression, IBS, ulcers and anxiety may be hiding in the connection between the gut and the brain. If you’re stressed, anxious, worried or upset, distress signals are sent to your gut and can create an imbalance.”