With so many factors affecting the health of our guts, having a healthy digestive system would appear to be a flight of fancy. However, with digestive issues alone, gastrointestinal health can be the origin of many other health issues, particularly brain and mental health. So this month I will talk about why gut health is so vital and give a few ways to start restoring ourselves back to optimal health.
The bacteria living in our guts, called the Microflora, can affect many aspects of our body’s functions including how much fat we store, our memory and mood and how we manage our blood sugar levels. If we have plenty of ‘good’ gut bacteria we will be able to absorb lots of nutrients into our bloodstream, but in contrast, if we have a higher level of inflammatory or ‘bad’ bacteria we will absorb more toxins and chemicals and fewer good nutrients.
If you often have issues revolving around digestion, such as constipation or irritable bowel syndrome, if you regularly suffer with neurological problems, such as brain fog or lack of concentration or if you have difficulty losing body fat, then it is more likely that you have an imbalance of ‘good’ versus ‘bad’ gut bacteria.
Antibiotics and other prescription drugs will kill off your beneficial bacteria so consider using a good quality probiotic supplement and follow a diet consisting of lots of protein, fruit and vegetables.
The food and drink we consume contain nutrients which need to be absorbed into our bodies to create positive changes to our mind-set, physical ability and shape. But how does food and drink do this?
The digestive system goes from the mouth to the anus and it is simply a tube. It is our gut bacteria and stomach acid which play major roles in breaking down the food and drink we consume and allowing absorption to take place. The absorption of these nutrients creates all the changes mentioned above and many more. If this process is hindered in anyway, the nutrients simply pass through a tube and in to the toilet.
Your intestines do not deal very well with food which has not been broken down properly, which will and will often result in irritation. If you do not chew your food enough or you have low stomach acidity levels, food will pass out of your stomach incompletely digested.
Low stomach acidity is often misdiagnosed as acid reflux or even high stomach acidity because when undigested food starts to ferment, which will often back up and create that burning sensation.
Chewing your food anywhere between 15 and 40 times will not only break the food down better and allow it to be digested easier, you will most likely end up eating smaller meals resulting in a smaller waistline. Also supplementing with a digestive enzyme or an HCl supplement will often improve digestion. Be aware, however, that low stomach acidity can also be related to thyroid issues so always consult a professional before starting any supplement.
“All disease begins in the gut” – Hippocrates
Having improved digest in many clients, I have seen positive changes levels of depression, alleviate and rid irritable bowel syndrome, improve training performance but, most often, contribute to fat loss and the maintaining of a healthy lifestyle. Have the guts AND the glory… listen to your gut.