Gut Health and Overall Health
All the systems within our body work closely together to maintain optimal health. This is especially true of the gut and our immune system, our first line of defence. The gut is often the entry point for bacteria and viruses that can cause disease. 70%-80% of our immune tissue is located in our digestive system therefore the gut flora and lining need to be thriving and healthy in order to avoid illness.
Once the intestinal lining becomes irritated, the lining breaks apart, allowing harmful particles to seep through into the bloodstream. Because these particles are not supposed to live outside the walls of gut our immune system views them as enemies rising an immune response and attacks them as it would pathogens. Over time, this immune response translates to food allergies and sensitivities and is believed to be a primary culprit in the rise of autoimmune conditions.
Factors That Upset Healthy Gut Balance
These factors can upset healthy gut balance causing growth of bed bacteria that will kill off your healthy gut flora and can disturb intestinal lining:
Our Western word diet is based on high consumption of gluten containing grains, particularly wheat and wheat products. In last fifty years wheat has been altered as a result of domestication and other industrial intervention. Wheat we consume today contains far more gluten than the original grain. The problem is the mass wheat`s consumption and that our bodies are not used to this altered composition.
Gluten is hard to digest which means it progressively weakens gut lining, causing leaky gut.
Antibiotics if consumed often have negative impact on our gut flora and our long-term health. They kill off the bed bacteria as well as good bacteria which may result in overgrowth of bed bacteria. It is a good idea to take probiotics to help to repopulate lost beneficial bacteria.
In the case of infection, the bed guys outnumber the good ones and you may experience persistent infections of different source. Your overall immunity is compromised. The aim here is to create an environment where a healthy balance in your gut can be reestablished.
Some stress is good for you, they say. However, consistent long-term stress has negative effect on gut flora, metabolism, digestion, nutrition absorption and overall health. Introduction of meditation and yoga to your routine can have a calming effect and helps to distress the body and mind.
Modern diet which is high in sugar, carbohydrates, preservatives, additives, processed foods, toxins, pesticides, alcohol, BPA, caffeine.
Symptoms of Unhealthy Gut
- IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and digestive disturbances such bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, sensitivity to foods
- Skin and allergy problems such as eczema and psoriasis, hay fever, acne
- Auto immune diseases
How to Restore and Maintain Healthy Gut
The most fundamental thing to do is to avoid all the foods and lifestyle factors that damage the gut and promote the growth of bed bacteria and yeasts. (as described above).
Healthy immune system is the result of a diet that supports healthy gut. Diet that emphasizes whole, unprocessed foods and supports good bacteria to populate. When we start to repopulate the gut with good bacteria we often see symptoms alleviated.
Here comes to mind one of Hippocrates` wise statements: “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”
What to eat
I like to use acronyms used by Lee Holmes. Eat less CRAP and eat more real FOOD.
Refined and processed sugars
Additives, artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners
Processed and packaged food
Fermented food, low fructose fruits and vegetables
Organic an unprocessed food
Omega-3 fatty acids
Drinks such as herbal teas and filtered water
Reduce exposure to chemicals and toxins
Chemicals and toxins can enter your body through different ways , not just digestions. It can be via absorption through your skin and air you breath. Consider replacing your skin care, personal and cleaning products with more gentle, natural products free of these nasties.
Increase exposure to microbes and vitamin D
We live indoors among sparkling clean furniture. That`s a sad fact of this era. We live in sanitized environment with very little exposure to the real word. This is supposed to keep us safe from bugs but the truth is that this way we are killing not only the bad guys but also the good ones. We need to get outside more, enjoy the daily sunshine, encourage our children to play outdoors, go camping.