Gut health 101
In this blog we cover the basics of restoring and maintaining a healthy gut.
Hippocrates – an age-old sage from 1500 B.C. once said that the Gut is the source of all disease. And despite living long before the modern era, he was very close to the truth. Modern medicine is now proving what we have believed for so long – that so many diseases can trace their origin back to the health of our gut.
There are obvious symptoms of poor gut health that can signify there is an issue in your digestive system. These include, bloating, wind, heartburn, constipation and/or diarrhoea.
However, there are also common ailments that can be traced back to gut issues that are not so obvious. These include, but are not limited to;
- Food allergies
- Autoimmune conditions
- Weight fluctuations
- Skin conditions
- Depression and anxiety
We won’t go into how poor digestive health can cause these problems, as it can be quite complex, but in short our good bacteria play an important role in nutrient absorption, messaging of our hormones and our immune defense.
Your Gut: The Forest
There are four key areas that we can address to improve the overall health and well being of our gut.
The digestive system has been likened to a forest floor with four main components.
The gut wall, that is the structure of the forest floor. The good guys, this is all the living organisms that keep the forest alive. The food for the good guys. Those good guys have got to eat, this is their food supply. And finally, the environment in which everything lives.
Let’s look at all four areas and talk about how to make improvements in each area so they can all begin to hum in unity.
The forest floor
The gut wall, from our stomach to our lower bowel, is a very unique tissue which provides a lining of protection from the outside environment. The small intestine in particular is the place where we absorb the majority of our nutrients. However, over time it can become damaged, inflamed and even leaky – allowing all sorts of foreign harmful particles to get into our body.
To improve the health of our gut lining, we can ‘seal‘ the gut. This simply means providing nutrients that are anti inflammatory and help with gut lining repair. A great source for these nutrients are bone broth and collagen powders. These help to close the gaps in the gut lining while supporting healthy tissue and reducing inflammation.
The living microbes
Just as the forest floor is covered in creepy crawling things, so is our gut. These microbes have many different roles, many of which we are still learning about. But what we do know is that they’re involved in our immune response, our hormone regulation, digestion and absorption of vitamins and mood regulation. These good guys can be wiped out when we use antibiotics, have an infection, eat acidic and processed food and even when we stress.
Replacing them can be easy though. Regular consumption of varied fermented foods and a good probiotic supplement can get you on the right track.
However… those good guys have got to eat!
Our good bacteria need a healthy supply of good fibre to keep them fueled for the day. Recommendations say that a minimum of 25g of fibre should be eaten daily. That’s about 5 cups of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Veggies highest in fibre are; lima beans, green peas, collard greens, artichokes, parsnips, broccoli, brussel sprouts, sweet potato, carrots, spinach, green beans and pumpkin.
Speciality fibres can be beneficial for those with chronic conditions as they feed specific good bacteria. Two that we are loving at the moment are; inulin and green banana starch.
The environment counts. Just as the quality of air affects the health of a forest, the cleanliness of the environment in our gut will impact on the flora and fauna of our digestive tract. Avoiding acidic foods can reduce the growth of bad guys. Sugar. Alcohol. Processed food. And coffee, are just some of the perpetrators of acidity in out gut.
Hopefully, by the end of this blog you have a better understanding of how important your gut is and how best to take care of it.
If you have any questions regarding your gut health please pop into our store and speak to one of our lovely practitioners who can help guide you on the right path.
You can check out our practitioners here.
Gut – Digestive system. From the stomach to the large bowel and everything in between.