All disease begins in the gut
There are 100 trillion micro-organisms in the gut. The human gut contains 10 times more bacteria than all the cells in the entire body. Gut bacteria help breakdown food and absorb nutrients. Without the right balance of bacteria, nutrition production, absorption and digestion are affected. Unhealthy guts can also affect:
- Weight loss or gain
- Protection from food allergies and intolerances
- Cognition, memory and overall brain health
- The ability of the body to remove toxins
- Growth in children and adolescents
Your gut is your ‘second brain.’ 95% of serotonin receptors (the happiness hormone) are located in the gut, not the brain. Gut disorders have been linked to psychological disorders like depression and anxiety.
What affects gut health?
Several characteristics of the modern lifestyle directly contribute to an unhealthy gut. These include:
Poor nutrition. Inflammatory foods such as gluten, refined sugars, refined seed oils and trans fats kill good bacteria, allowing bad bacteria to thrive. They also damage the intestinal lining and can cause leaky gut. Most modern diets also lack probiotic-rich foods due to refrigeration, canning and preservatives.
Medications. Antibiotics, oral contraceptive pill, synthetic prescription drugs. Studies show one course of antibiotics affects the balance of gut bacteria for 2 years!
Chronic infections. Including candida, parasites or worms.
Stress. Our gut struggles to keep up with our modern lifestyles which mean we are often stressed, busy and tired. This weakens our immune system over time and can lead to inflammation and a leaky gut, where toxins and particles leak into the bloodstream.
How can I tell if I have an unhealthy gut?
Trust me, you will know. You’ll have one of these symptoms:
- Food sensitivities
- Digestive problems
- Skin issues like eczema or acne
- Joint pain
- Headaches, brain fog
- Weight gain
- Thyroid issues
How do I improve my gut health?
Clean up your diet. Remove gluten, refined sugars, seed oils and trans fats from your diet. Replace inflammatory foods with healing foods like fermented vegetables (i.e sauerkraut, kimchi), fermentable fibres (sweet potato, yam, yucca etc.), bone broth – a mineral-rich drink or stock or Kefir – a probiotic drink made from yoghurt and Kombucha – fermented tea drink that contains a number of different probiotic strains, organic enzymes, amino acids and vitamins. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Treat any intestinal pathogens (such as parasites) that may be present.
Take steps to manage your stress. Try yoga or meditation.
Take supplements. Take up to 10 billion units of probiotics daily from a high quality brand as well as omega-3 fish oil, L-Glutamine, Vitamin D3 and soothing herbs like liquorice root, slippery elm, peppermint and ginger are all useful herbs to sooth and repair the intestinal lining.
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