Why Your Gut Needs TLC
Everyone is talking about gut health! Prebiotics, probiotics, fiber, what goes in and how it comes out, but is it really that important? It wasn’t monitored for thousand of years, so why are we so keen on our bacteria levels now? Could the microbiome of our digestive tract be the gateway for a majority of today’s diseases? Is your gut healthy? What do you need to do to keep it healthy? If any of these questions have been on your mind, keep reading to find out why the gut is making news!
Without getting too far into technical biology, our gut is everything within us that interacts with the outside world. It begins in your mouth, down your throat, into the stomach, through your intestines, past the colon and back out again. This means every foreign substance that passes through our system is regulated and filtered by the gut.
You can think of your digestive system as the TSA of all that travels through your body.
The bacteria that live in your gut are the agents who scan and select what can enter while sending the rest to exit. This is a big job! That is why our body is home to trillions of bacteria. We actually have more bacterial cells than human cells, making them a primary source of our chemical make-up and function in the body.
In a healthy gut, bacteria breakdown food and permit certain nutrients to pass from the digestive tract through tight junctions into the blood stream. This is how we get the vitamins, minerals and dietary components we need to survive.
If we don’t have the proper balance of bacteria acting as gatekeepers for our body, then harmful substances can slip through the digestive linings and enter our bloodstream.
When everything is functioning as it should, the body stays strong and healthy. Part of the reason for health is because 70-80% of our immune system is within the intestines, meaning a healthy gut makes a strong immune system!
When the microbiome in our systems is out of balance it can cause leaky gut, or intestinal permeability. Necessary, or good, bacteria help protect the lining of the intestines by increasing the proteins that maintain the cells of tight junctions. When they are out of balance, the lining can become thin or weak in spots which then “leak” harmful bacteria and toxins into the bloodstream. This causes all sorts of diseases. A healthy digestive tract also regulates energy, sleep patterns, inflammation, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, IBS, ulcers, Celiac and so much more. The right amount of good bacteria can even affect how you feel! Over 90% of the body’s serotonin is made in the small intestine! This is why Hippocrates, considered the father of modern medicine, said, “all disease begins in the gut.”
So how do you know if your gut is healthy?
You need to become very comfortable with yourself and pay attention to what comes out of you and when. Whether you defecate three times a week or every day doesn’t really matter. It is important to know your routine and pay attention if it changes. Be familiar with color, shape, size and smell. The most obvious way to check your digestion is to look at what is coming out. For reference, take a look at the Bristol stool chart. Finally, if you are bloated, gassy, experience reflux or irregular bowels, these are clear signs that something is off with your digestion.
If you suffer from an imbalance in your gastrointestinal microbiota, you may be wondering, why now?
We live in an age of heightened cleanliness where less and less bacteria are entering our systems. With increased antibiotic usage, bacteria both good and bad are being wiped from our bodies. And we rarely eat foods that feed our good bacteria, so we actually starve them out.
How to heal your gut!
If you think you are suffering from leaky gut, you should change your diet immediately. This is where prebiotics, probiotics, fiber and water come into play.
- Start by reinforcing the tight junctions in your intestines with Healthy Gut using one scoop, twice a day.
- Add in fermented foods, starting with ¼ cup and working up if you are unaccustomed to eating them.
- Drop all processed foods and sugary snacks.
- Prebiotics are long-chain fibers that survive our stomach acid and make it down into the intestines to stimulate bacterial growth. These are found in the tough parts of fruits and vegetables, the stringy bits that stick in your teeth, like broccoli stalks.
- Probiotics have live bacteria like acidophilus and bifidus and can be found in fermented foods and some yogurts.
- To protect these delicate bacteria from high acidity in the stomach, start your day with hot water and lemon, lime or apple cider vinegar. This will help alkalize the system.
- Finally, increase all forms of fiber! Fiber is what passes through the system like a scrub brush cleaning up all the bad bacteria and rotting waste to keep everything nice and tidy. Just remember for the fiber to leave the body, it needs a strong flush of water. If you increase fiber, it’s imperative that you increase your liquids.
The best part about medical discoveries are the products that are created to support our systems and aid in these processes. To get a dose of probiotics, fiber and digestive enzymes add a scoop of Terra Origin’s Healthy Greens Superfoods. If you’re not up for preparing a batch of bone broth, take it easy and add Healthy Bone Broth Protein to your morning smoothie.
Gut health is serious, but it’s also something you have control over. Be mindful of what you eat and how your body reacts to the food afterwards. You can get your system back under control in no time!