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How to Support Stress Belly with Celiac Disease

Updated: Mar 15

It is easy to confuse many of the symptoms we experience with accidentally consuming gluten. Living with Celiac Disease can be a constant concern for what is going on with our body.

Many people confuse their bloating, stomach pain and wind for consuming gluten, when often it can be caused by stress.

Depending on your level of stress, your body can be in a constant state of fight or flight. When you are in fight or flight more your body will automatically slow down a number of your bodily functions. Your digestive system will slow down and cause your body to feel the bloating that is similar to when you accidentally consume gluten.

Stress is part of many people's daily lives and can be hard to avoid. But there are steps that you can put into place to lower the stress and support your bodily functions.

The Vagus Nerve is the longest autonomic nerve in the human body, and it's important for regulating your heart rate, your blood pressure, your breathing, and also your digestion. If your vagus nerve is not being supported and it's not working at its best, then these areas of your body will not function correctly.

The Vagus Nerve is the control centre for your digestive system and when your body is in a state of fight or flight, this is where we start to see issues.

Supporting your Vagus Nerve will in turn help with lowering your stress levels and then of course lessen your chances of experiencing stress belly.

Try adding in some of the following ideas until you find the ones that work for you and your lifestyle. Your body will thank you for it.

Here are 16 Ways to Support your Vagus Nerve:

1. Mindful Meditation

Many people think meditation is hard, but it can be as simple as sitting quietly with your eyes closed for a few minutes and taking some breaths. If you can quiet your mind, that is wonderful, but even just sitting quietly can be a great start. There are many meditations online that you can listen to if you prefer a guided meditation. YouTube is an excellent place to start.

2. Yoga

Yoga not only incorporates stretching, and a complete body workout, it also has a meditation portion at the end of the session making this an excellent option.

3. Exercise

Exercise, especially activities that get your heart rate up, offers a great way to support your vagus nerve.

Focus on an exercise that you enjoy, as you will be more than likely to add it in to your lifestyle. As humans we move towards pleasure and away from pain. Therefore, if you are planning a workout you enjoy, you will more than likely complete it.

4. Cold Exposure

Cold exposure could include a cold shower, a swim in the ocean or simply heading outdoors on a cold day. If these ideas don't appeal to you, simply try splashing cold water on your face.

5. Omega 3's

You can add in Omega 3's through your diet or with a supplement. Look for a high-quality supplement such as this one here to ensure there are not high levels of mercury.

Food sources can include fatty fish (mackerel, salmon, sardines etc.), cod liver oil, oysters, anchovies, caviar, flaxseed, chia seeds and soybeans.

This is the Omega-3 supplement that I take here.

6. Probiotics

Again, you can add in Probiotics through diet or a supplement. Focus on yogurt, sauerkraut, miso, kombucha, pickles etc.

Check out my fave Probiotic supplement here. I love this one as it's shelf stable, making it perfect for travel and contains millions of good bacteria including Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium strains.

7. Consume Fibre

When consuming fibre, this helps stimulate the vagus impulses to the brain and helps you feel fuller after meals as it helps slow the gut movements.


You can find plenty of ASMR videos on YouTube or simply listen to white noise. It's believed that ASMR helps support the vagus nerve as it uses calming noises that are the opposite to loud, alarming noises that put us in fight or flight mode.

9. Sing/Chant

As you sing or chant, you stimulate the vagus nerve when engaging your vocal cords.

10. Gargle

The same goes here as it does for singing and chanting.

11. Laughter

Not only does laughing boost your mood and your immune system, but it also stimulates your vagus nerve. So put a funny movie on and have a good laugh. Or catch up with friends who you enjoy spending time with that always make you laugh.

12. Connection

When you are feeling safe emotionally and physically through connection with others in your environment your body will react by stimulating the vagus nerve. It's little wonder why so many people have been feeling so disconnected and stressed over the past few years with all of the isolation forced on us.

13. Hug

When you hug someone, or someone hugs you the physical contact activates the pressure receptors within your skin. These receptors send signals to the vagus nerve.

14. Foot Massage

Foot reflexology is fabulous for stimulating the vagus nerve as it can be useful for lowering blood pressure and decreasing your fight or flight mode.

15. Positive Self Talk

When you talk kindly to yourself you will feel more positive, more joy and serenity, which in turn positively supports your vagus nerve. Start with affirmations each day and repeat them morning and night. An affirmation that starts with "I am..." is very powerful. eg "I am confident in my ability to make the best choices for me".

16.Deep Breathing

When you breathe in deep and slow from your abdomen, you stimulate your vagus nerve. No wonder we hear all the time to take a deep breath when feeling stressed.

I hope you have gained some positive insights to how powerful it is supporting your vagus nerve and now have some ideas to easily do so.

* Please note that some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. This means I may earn a small commission if you purchase through my link with no difference to the price you pay. Thank you.

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