Stress is a big deal. It can have a major impact on your gut and really exacerbate your IBS symptoms.

The problem is, you can’t always get rid of the stresses in your life…you can’t just quit your job, disown your kids or avoid every single family gathering. However, there are ways to manage your stress so that it doesn’t have so much of an impact on your gut.

You can do this through diet, supplements and lifestyle, but today we’re going to talk about how you can better manage the effects of stress on your gut through making tweaks to what you eat.



By the ‘top offenders’ I mean all the things that you want to turn to when you’re stressed…junk food, sugar, caffeine and alcohol. That’s what makes this one really hard..but really important. These things actually make things much worse when you’re already stressed, because they make you more anxious. Therefore, they heighten your body’s response to what’s already stressing you out, making you even more stressed.


Once you’ve crowded out the top offenders, the next step is to avoid any foods that might cause you inflammation. By this, I mean both processed foods and any foods that you’re intolerant to. This is because, when you’re stressed, your body releases histamines. These histamines worsen your body’s response to any existing intolerances or inflammatory foods, causing more inflammation.

So, stress won’t make you intolerant to new foods, but it will exacerbate your reactions to foods you’re already intolerant to. A way to reduce how awful your gut feels when you’re stressed, is to cut out these foods when you’re going through a particularly stressful period.



When you’re stressed, your blood sugar levels rise. This is so that you’ve got immediate energy available to fight off a lion (or that irritating co-worker). Although this rise in blood sugar levels can be useful when your stress is caused by actual danger that you need to run away from, it rarely is these days. It’s much more likely that you’re stressed because of a mental week at work, meaning that blood sugar isn’t actually needed to fight anything off or run away. Instead, it just causes havoc in your body.

The aim here is to try and control your blood sugar levels, so they stay as stable as possible. There are 3 main ways you can do this:

1. Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables - they’re low in GI and packed with fibre, which will help stabilise your blood sugar levels.

2. Keep to set meal times - you don’t have to be too strict about this, but try and set ‘meal times’ for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and stick to them as much as you can. This will help your body get used to adjusting it’s blood sugar based on those times.

3. Eat at regular intervals - when you go for a long period of time without eating, or you skip a meal, your blood sugar levels drop. Your body doesn’t know where it’s next meal is coming from, so it releases cortisol, which acts as a further stressor in your body.


Stress can have a huge impact on your gut and really exacerbate IBS symptoms

You can’t always get rid of the stresses in your life, but you can manage how your body deals with that stress.

3 Ways to Manage your Stress Through What you Eat:

  1. Ditch the top offenders - junk food, sugar, caffeine and alcohol

  2. Avoid inflammatory foods - processed foods and any intolerances

  3. Control blood sugar levels - eat lots of fresh fruit and veg, keep to set meal times and eat at regular intervals

Which one are you going to try? Let me know in the comments below.

Next week, I’ll be diving into which supplements can help you manage your stress.To get these actionable tips sent straight to your inbox, pop in your email address at the bottom of the page.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and letting me be a part of your journey in taking control of your gut, eating well and living your life.

Sophie x