Those of us that are on a journey to better health, have come to realize that there are many things that we can do to help ourselves to not only look better, but to also feel better. Proper exercise, reduction in stress, getting enough rest…..all important for sure, but I have come to realize that the most important and crucial thing that we can ever do for ourselves, comes in the form of what we eat, because what we eat is our only source of fuel and nutrition.
Over the next few Sundays I will be doing a series on what I learned at The Healthy Gut Summit 2015. This Summit was created and sponsored by Donna Gates of Body Ecology. Her website states, “After years of extensive study, Body Ecology founder Donna Gates created a back-to-basics approach to restoring health and vitality by understanding the invaluable balance of the human body’s “inner ecology”. Often forgotten or unconsidered, probiotics and enzymes are crucial to a healthy and efficient internal system. When this system is out of balance, a host of medical issues and conditions can arise.” She invited both medical doctors and academic doctors, as well as other individuals in the healthcare field, to explain their research and findings.
The gut (seven key organs…these include the gall bladder, large intestine, liver, oesophagus, pancreas, small intestine and stomach) has often times been called the “second brain”, because there is an undeniable connection between the gut and the brain. According to Dr. Mark Hyman, MD, a functional medicine doctor, “the ultra prevention <is in the gut>….if your gut’s not healthy, you’re not healthy”.
He went on to discuss the top four enemies of gut health. 1. Processed food 2. Hybridized and genetically modified foods (GMO) 3. Stress and environmental toxins 4. Gut busting drugs (such as, antibiotics, aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and antacids).
Most of us, unless we are making a concerted effort, find it easy to fall into the processed food trap. I know, for myself, before I started my own health and wellness journey it was convenient to grab foods on the go. I might not have been eating a lot of food, but it definitely was not the right food. Those foods that come in boxes, have preservatives for longer shelf life, or whose ingredients are filled with chemicals or weird names that are difficult to pronounce.
I will be talking more about genetically modified foods in another post, but for now I will relay this: There is correlational data on the long term effects of GMO’s on the human body. Genetically modified foods have been linked to autism, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, allergies, IBD, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic constipation, peritonitis, deaths from intestinal infection and dementia diseases. (Smith, Jeffrey)
Stress, we all face it. There really is no way to get away from it, unless we live in a bubble. How we deal with the stresses of day to day life is what makes the difference. Chronic stress is toxic to the gut. It promotes leaky gut, which creates holes in “the netting” of the intestines, allowing vitamins/minerals/food particles to escape into the blood stream. This causes food intolerances and autoimmunity. Stress also decreases blood flow, increases stress hormones, and causes inflammatory responses.
Lastly, one of the enemies of the gut is what some doctors refer to as “gut busting” drugs. These drugs, that I mentioned earlier, might be necessary to make some one well, but they can kill the good bacteria in the gut. Being aware of the consequences of taking an antibiotic, will allow you to realize you need to replace the depleted good gut bacteria by taking some good probiotics/enzymes and by eating those foods that carry those probiotics, naturally.
I will leave you with Dr. Hyman’s “Five R’s of Gut Care”. 1. Remove (the enemies of the gut ) 2. Replace ( with good habits) 3. Reinoculate (give your gut the good probiotics and enzymes that it needs ) 4. Repair (work on healing the gut ) 5. Relax ( remember excessive stress is harmful to the body )
Come back next Sunday for my post on clean eating and the gut.