Did you know your metabolism is very dependent on which Nervous System you are functioning from while eating? Say what…yes! In terms of digestion we have 2 nervous systems that perform 2 very different processes when it comes to eating.

The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) is responsible for Digestion and more specifically it is divided into 2 branches:

1. The sympathetic nervous system

  • activates the stress response, whether there is a ‘real’ or perceived danger, now a days its usually perceived and not an actual lion after you!
  • telling your stomach to happily churn away getting digestive juices and enzymes flowing and gets all the nutrients absorbed into our bodies (because the digestive system is exterior to our internal body…yes!)

2. The parasympathetic nervous system

  • relaxes the body and activates digestion, yay!
  • Tells your body when not to be in digesting mode! Like when there is no food in your belly or when you are in fight or flight mode. Jab, jab, punch = no digestion

As I always say, eating the best food is great BUT if you are in OFF mode (i.e. mentally not in the right head space), it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Without digesting, absorbing and assimilating the nutrients in our food we are wasting our time, money and nutrition!

Check out the video below for more!

What stress does to our precious nutrients:

  1. Reduces absorption of nutrients. Without nutrients what do we have to build our beautiful cells with?
  2. Increases nutrient excretion. Ok, so first stress reduces what we absorb and now drains us of what we have? Not a good thing at all. Just to let you know we lose calcium, magnesium (bye bye relaxation), zinc (ciao great skin and immunity), chromium (hello sugar cravings), selenium (au revoir amazing antioxidant and cancer prevention) plus OTHER micro minerals!

PLUS stress…

Raises blood cholesterol, raises serum triglycerides, increases blood platelet aggregation (risk factor in heart disease), increases cortisol (weight gain, abdominal obesity, inability to lose weight or build muscle), decrease thyroid activity leading to lowered metabolism…and more.

This is not good at all…stress is getting in the way of our health and beauty BUT have no fear we can do something about it!

What can you do?

  1. Breathe deeply and relax for 5 minutes before a meal. I have this great FREE app called Calm that I use to meditate but this would be great before a meal.
  2. Breathe in 5 seconds into the depths of your belly and exhale for 5 counts. This switches your nervous system to DIGESTION ON!
  3. Be present when you eat, sensually eat your meal noticing the flavours, colours, textures. When you are present you are ready to eat! Maybe you’ll find that you love your food or hate what you thought you loved.

I challenge you to try any of the above tips for 1 week and see how you LOOK and FEEL! Less belly bloat, more present-ness, better digestion and overall body intuition 🙂

Did you learn something from this article? Then SHARE it…this could help change digestion forever 🙂

To savouring food!


Holistic Nutritionist.