Your gut health
“All disease begins in the gut”
Hippocrates said this 2000 years ago and we’re just about catching on. The microbiome is now recognised as being essential in developing a healthy immune system and key to understanding autoimmune diseases and allergies. Gut bacteria help break down food and absorb nutrients. Without the right balance of microbes, nutrition production 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
The gut-brain connection
Have you ever had a ‘gut-wrenching feeling’ or ‘butterflies in your stomach’? We use these expressions for a reason. The gastrointestinal tract is very sensitive to emotion. Your gut is your “second brain”. Ninety per cent of serotonin receptors (the happiness hormone) are found in the gut, not the brain. This is why gut disorders are now linked to anxiety and depression.
We now know that the brain and gut are connected by the vagus nerve which links most of the organs within the body and plays an important role in activating the nervous system. Nearly all of the signals that pass along the vagus nerve come from the enteric nervous system, a huge complex of neurons which lives in and controls the entire gut. Your enteric nervous system independently and automatically takes care of your nutrition, a huge job in anyone’s book. The brain receives most information about the state of your body through the gut.
What affects gut health?
Do you have a constant ache in your gut? Do you find yourself having to hurry away from others in social situations? Have you just completed a course of antibiotics?
Modern life directly contributes to an unhealthy gut through;
Inflammatory foods like gluten, refined sugars, refined seed oils and trans fats kill good microbes and allow bad microbes to thrive. They also damage the lining of the intestine and can cause leaky gut, where toxins and particles leak into the bloodstream.
Antibiotics, the oral contraceptive pill and synthetic prescription drugs can damage the gut. Studies show one course of antibiotics affects the balance of gut bacteria for two years.
Including candida, parasites or worms. Candida is part of a healthy gut and is kept in check by other bacteria and yeasts. When a large number of bacteria are killed off – by taking antibiotics for example – the candida grows unchecked and toxic waste products affect health.
In our world, people are often stressed, busy and tired. Stress can reshape the gut bacteria’s composition and weaken the immune system leading to inflammation.
How can I tell if I have an unhealthy gut?
Trust us, you will know. You’ll probably 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?
There are many ways to improve your gut health, you can
Clean up your diet
Aim to reduce or remove gluten, refined sugars, seed oils and trans fats from your diet. Replace these inflammatory foods with healing foods like fermented vegetables (e.g. sauerkraut, kimchi), and prebiotic fibres. Some people take a bone broth, a mineral-rich stock drink, or Kefir, a probiotic drink made from yoghurt or try Kombucha, a fermented tea drink that contains a number of different microbes and, of course, eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Treat any intestinal pathogens
If you have a problem with overproduction of candida or parasites, make sure you treat it.
Take steps to manage your stress
Find something that works for you. You could try yoga or meditation. If you need help, we have a sister company called VisionWorks that can help with stress.
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