By Dr. Josh Axe

With other gut types — take my Gut Type Quiz to find out yours — eating the wrong foods can lead to depression or anxiety. With a “Stressed Out Gut,” it works the other way around: It starts with a stressful mental state. The result is more than what we bargained for because it can lead to other issues.

Tapping into the tenets of ancient Chinese herbalism, I created five different gut types impacting all of us. Once you know your individual gut type, then you can learn about the best foods, supplements and recipes that fit best … along with the foods that you should avoid.

So take the quiz, and if you’re designated a “Stressed Out Gut” type, then this article is for you!

What Is A Stressed Out Gut?

A "stressed out gut" is essentially a “burned out” gut that’s juggling a million things in a day and running thin on patience.

  • Chronic stress on the moderate to high scale
  • Sugar cravings
  • Typically consume more than 200 milligrams of caffeine daily

Foods to Include

  • Salty foods as well as dark-colored foods — those that are purple, black or blue — are mainstays for Stressed Out Gut people. Choose fresh wild fish, grass-fed beef and bison, free-range chicken, organic turkey, organ liver from beef and chicken, eggs, beans, seaweed and sea vegetables, miso, figs, blueberries, blackberries, eggplant, kale, wild rice, walnuts, and black sesame seeds. These foods contain specific nutrients to support the kidneys and adrenals.
  • Foods filled with probiotics and enzymes — such as probiotic-filled yogurt, kefir, fermented vegetables, sprouted foods, raw veggies and fruits — keep your probiotic and enzyme levels up.
  • Foods high in B vitamins — such as grass-fed beef, liver, poultry, spirulina and green leafy vegetables — help regulate mood, fight stress and help with cellular energy.
  • Sea salt should be used instead of iodized salt. Sprinkle a bit on each meal to support hydration.
  • Foods high in magnesium — such as sprouted seeds (pumpkin, chia, flax, sesame), sprouted nuts, avocados, spinach, chard, figs and sea vegetables — calm the nerves.
  • Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids — such as wild cold-water fish, wild salmon, grass-fed meats and sprouted seeds — can reduce inflammation and help stabilize mood.
  • Foods high in protein and amino acids — like bone broth, beef and chicken liver, grass-fed meat from bison and beef, poultry, wild game, and wild-caught fish — support metabolism and hormone balance.

Recommended Supplements

Foods to Avoid

Here are foods that can contribute to a stressed gut:

  • High-sugar foods create swings in blood sugar and mood instability, which can lead to emotional stress and more.
  • Caffeine is a stimulant that can increase anxiety, which stimulates the adrenals, can harm the thyroid, and can also put pressure on kidney and adrenals.
  • Alcohol can provoke anxiety and is not a positive way to manage stress.
  • Processed and refined flour is converted to sugar in the body, leading to fluctuations in blood sugar and mood swings — both of which are strong stressors on the body.
  • Grains can quickly turn into sugar and overstress the body. Replace grains with more vegetables, fruits, beans, healthy fats, quality protein and starchy vegetables.
  • Cold foods, like drinking ice water, or constantly eating salads can make the digestive system have to work much harder. Instead, aim for more meals like a bowl of warm bone broth chicken vegetable soup and drinking a warm cup of tea during the day.

9 Recipes for the Stressed Out Gut

Hot Chocolate Smoothie

Total Time: 5 min

Serves: 1–2

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Heat the coconut milk and water in a saucepan. In a high-powered blender, combine all ingredients.
  2. Purée on high until smooth.

Coconut Crepes

Total Time: 30 min

Serves: 4–5

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 3 teaspoons coconut oil, melted, plus additional for greasing pan
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Beat with an electric mixer for 3 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes.
  2. Heat a skillet greased with the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Ladle the batter into the skillet and swirl around to form a thin crepe. Cook until bubbles start to form, 1–2 minutes. Flip and cook until golden. Repeat with the remaining batter.
  3. Add fresh berries on top with a little bit of maple syrup.

Curried Cauliflower Soup

Total Time: 40 min

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup chicken bone broth (or ½ scoop Bone Broth Protein mixed with ½ cup water)
  • 1 pound chicken, cooked and shredded
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cauliflower head, cut into florets
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus a pinch
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups chicken bone broth (or 3 scoops Bone Broth Protein mixed with 3 cups water)
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons parsley

Directions:

  1. First, prepare the chicken. Place broth and chicken into an Instant Pot. Season the chicken breast or thighs with salt, pepper or other seasonings. Secure the lid and seal the pressure valve. Cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.
  2. While the chicken is cooking, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spread out the onion and cauliflower on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the coconut oil and season with the salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir and place back in the oven for another 5–10 minutes, until golden.
  4. Remove chicken from Instant Pot when it’s done. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and shred with 2 forks.
  5. Place the cauliflower and onions and in a pot and add the bone broth. Stir in the coriander, turmeric, cumin and a pinch of the salt. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and let mixture simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
  6. Add all ingredients (except the chicken, coconut milk and parsley) to a high-powered blender and purée until a smooth consistency is achieved. Add in the chicken, coconut milk and parsley. Mix until well combined and serve warm.

Slow-Cooker Lemon-Kale Chicken Soup

Total Time: 6½ hrs

Serves: 6–8

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken, chopped
  • 6 cups chicken bone broth (or 6 scoops Bone Broth Protein mixed with 6 cups water)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 handfuls of chopped kale
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • sea salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

  1. In a slow cooker, combine the chicken, broth, onion, kale and lemon juice. Season with the salt and pepper.
  2. Cook on low for 6–8 hours. Stir in the parsley. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Eggplant Parmesan Recipe

Total Time: 20 min

Serves: 3

Ingredients:

  • 1 eggplant
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons almond flour
  • 1–2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • basil and sea salt to sprinkle on top
  • 1 cup shredded raw sheep cheese (such as Pecorino Romano rather than cow milk Parmesan)
  • 1 jar of organic marinara sauce

Directions:

  1. Cut eggplant and tomatoes into one-inch thick pieces.
  2. Put flour in bowl and coat both sides of eggplant and tomatoes.
  3. Melt coconut oil over medium heat.
  4. Sauté eggplant and tomatoes in pan and sprinkle basil and sea salt on top.
  5. Cook for 5–6 minutes on each side.
  6. Make sure you add more coconut oil when you flip the veggies.
  7. Stack the eggplant lasagna, with eggplant on the bottom, layering in tomatoes. Place shredded cheese on top of each layer. Create three separate "lasagnas."

Spaghetti Squash “Alfredo”

Total Time: 1½ hrs plus soaking time

Serves: 4–6

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 2 cups water
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ? teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon fresh
  • lemon juice
  • 1 pound ground bison
  • coconut oil

Directions:

  1. Soak the cashews in water for 4 hours. Drain and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  3. Prick the squash all over with a small sharp knife. Place on a sheet pan and roast the whole squash until tender when pierced with a knife, 45–90 minutes, depending on the size. Let cool.
  4. In a blender, combine the cashews and the 2 cups of water. Purée until a paste is formed. Add to a small saucepan over medium heat with the garlic, salt and nutmeg. Cook until heated through. Stir in the lemon juice. Keep warm.
  5. In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bison in the coconut oil until no longer pink. Keep warm.
  6. When the squash is cool enough to handle, cut it in half lengthwise and remove the seeds with a spoon. Use a fork to remove the “spaghetti” strands and place in a serving bowl. Top with the cooked bison and cashew sauce.

Easy Chicken Burrito Bowl

Total Time: 5 min

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup shredded cooked chicken
  • ½ cup cooked kidney beans
  • ½ cup cooked black beans
  • shredded romaine lettuce
  • no-added-sugar salsa
  • guacamole

Directions:

  1. For the shredded chicken, follow the instructions in the Curried Cauliflower Soup recipe.
  2. Heat up the beans.
  3. In a serving bowl, combine all ingredients and toss until well mixed.

Almond-Crusted Salmon

Total Time: 20 min

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon grated
  • lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 wild-caught salmon fillets, skinned
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • fresh lemon juice

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, stir together the flour, parsley, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Dredge the salmon in the mixture, coating the fillets on both sides.
  2. 2 In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook the salmon in the coconut oil, turning once, until fish is opaque and flakes easily, about 10 minutes.

Blueberry Pudding

Total Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup goat’s milk kefir
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 3 avocados, halved and pitted
  • ¼ cup sprouted chia seeds, ground
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 drop peppermint oil
  • stevia

Directions:

  1. In a high-powered blender, combine the coconut milk, kefir and blueberries. Scoop the avocados into the blender. Add the chia seeds, vanilla extract, salt and peppermint oil.
  2. Sweeten with the stevia to taste (such as a full dropper of the liquid variety). Purée until smooth.
  3. Transfer the pudding into a saucepan and warm over medium-low heat until heated through. Serve warm.

Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CNS, is a doctor of chiropractic, doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist and author with a passion to help people get well using food and nutrition. He operates leading natural health website DrAxe.com and is co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, a health supplement company. He’s also author of the books Eat Dirt, Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine, Keto Diet, Collagen Diet and the newly published Ancient Remedies.

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