If you’re the kind of person that gets knots in their belly when stressed, you need to understand the relationship between emotion and digestion.

During the average lifetime, a whopping 60 tons of food passes through the digestive tract, so ensuring the digestive system is functioning correctly is extremely important. Without proper digestion, the body can’t receive the nutrients it requires to enjoy optimal health.

New evidence indicates that gut bacteria alters the way we store fat and how we balance levels of glucose in the blood and how we respond to hormones makes us feel hungry or full. The wrong mix of microbes seems to set the stage for diabetes and obesity from the moment of birth. For this reason, you need to make sure your digestion systems get a clean sweep regu­larly. Fiber-rich vegetables, especially green vegetables along with fresh fruits, are especially good at digestive cleansing and detoxification.

Did you know that many experts refer to the gut as a second brain? The average gut contains between 400 and 600 million nerve cells and like your brain, it contains numerous neurotransmitters. That means that your brain and digestive system communicate with one another all the time, this is called the ‘Brain-Gut Axis.’ So it would follow that if your digestive system isn’t working properly, your emotions will be out of whack [and vice versa). Even Harvard Medical School acknowledges that the brain has a direct effect on the stom­ach and the stomach on the brain. We know that the very thought of eating causes the stomach to release juices before the food even reaches the mouth. Some experts in the field even view the two systems as one. Professor John Cryan of the University of County Cork,Ireland, conducted an experiment to show how the gut microbiome affects the biochemistry of the brain and how two strains of the probiotic Bifidobacterium were more effective at treating anxiety and stress than serotonin reuptake inhibitors, as in medications such as Lexapro. Yes.. .you were right from the beginning, we can eat ourselves to a happier existence.

That leads us to an interesting question: can we treat digestive conditions–such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome [IBS] and Inflamma­tory Bowel Disease [IBD] (both of which are little understood) — by treating or controlling anxiety and stress? 15% of the population of Europe and North America suffer from these conditions and yet no one understands what they are and how they start. So maybe it’s not a mechanical breakdown of the body but rather a state of mind?

In a nutshell, stay calm to main­tain a positive connection between mind and body, the Brain —Gut Axis. Supplements such as Aloe Vera, which is very soothing for the digestive system, can help when all else fails. You can also eat arti­chokes, which contain high concen­trations of phytonutrient cyanine to aid digestion by stimulating the production of bile (bile helps digest fats and absorb vitamins from the foods we eat).

More from Oussha’s Upcoming Book:

Oussha’s Pure Cure–The Whole Family Guide to Whole Life Wellness