“All disease begins in the gut” – Hippocrates
Oh how right he was.
Our gut is our second brain, with more neurotransmitters than our actual brain! It is largely responsible for our immune system, hormone regulation, digestion, nutrient absorption, our ability to eliminate toxins, our mental health and so many more. Our gut is incredibly important to our overall wellbeing!
Maintaining the ideal balance of bacteria is the foundation of our health.
There are over 100 trillion bacterias in our gut which help us to complete all of the above functions. The food we eat has a direct impact on the numbers and abilities of these bacterias. For example, fast food destroys our good bacteria and feeds the bad bacteria – refined sugar is their main food source. Usually these live harmlessly in the minority, kept in check by our good bacteria, but with a poor diet and an over consumption of toxins, our good bacteria are slowly destroyed.
There are 10x more bacteria in our bodies than human cells.
The western diet (high in refined sugar and of little nutritional value) is one that feeds our bad bacteria and destroys our good bacteria. It’s not difficult to understand why we’re a nation battling diseases.
Every day we are bombarded by toxins through environment factors such as fume inhalation, smoking and through the pesticides and GMO’s on our foods. The meats we eat contain antibiotics, synthetic hormones and steroids. We are over subscribed drugs from Doctors which have the ability to wipe out large batches of our bacteria in one go (unfortunately the good as well as the bad). Regular use of painkillers, prescription medication and the contraceptive pill also destroy our gut health.
Our food will either help our gut, or slowly destroy it.
If we destroy our good bacteria, what happens next?
The bad bacteria grows stronger and begins to take control. Once this starts to happen, we’ve just got on the road towards disease. The first signs of this are frequent infections; a sign your immune system is compromised or struggling. Are you always the first to come down with the common cold? Do you suffer from recurring ear infections or UTI’s? Do you have oral thrush (a white coating on your tongue)? Do you have a persistent yeast infection that won’t go away?
Digestive issues such as IBS, bloating, gas, food sensitives and leaky gut syndrome are signs you already have a bacteria imbalance. When we start getting food allergies, this is a sign the bad bacteria is spreading to other areas of our body. Their long tentacle-like strands poke through our gut lining and they escape, setting up camp in our other organs. Once we have a damaged gut lining, food particles during digestion pass through into our bloodstream. Our body identifies these as foreign particles and we effectively begin to attack ourselves, causing inflammation in the body. This response causes food allergies and without repair of the gut lining, this prolonged bodily inflammation causes auto immune diseases.
Some people have these problems from birth – but how so? Surprisingly our gut micro-biome is passed on from our mothers, therefore if they have a gut imbalance, they will pass this same make up on to their infant. Being bottle fed rather than breast fed has an impact, along with vaccinations. Our gut health is so incredibly important yet we place little value on the food we eat, which is having an impact on this every single day.
So what can you do to prevent this situation?
Take a probiotic every day.
I don’t mean Yakult or the commercially promoted products, as these are made for profit and not to benefit our health. Yakult doesn’t contain enough bacteria to alter our internal flora and is full of sugar and preservatives, which will cause us more harm than good. We need a probiotic which boasts a diverse range of bacteria strains in order to replenish as many as we can. I recommend Biokult or Body Biotics to start with as these have a diverse range of bacterias.
The other thing to consider when taking a probiotic is that the bad bacteria is very clever. They soon get used to the good bacteria coming in and can mutate to defend against them. To keep them guessing we must change our probiotic regularly. Once we finish one, order up a different brand with different bacteria strains. This increases our chances of keeping the bad bacteria from destroying them. Additionally, prebiotic food feeds our good bacteria which will help them populate quicker. Examples of prebiotic food are sauerkraut, kefir and kimchi. Try to include these weekly into your diet.
Finally, reducing your intake of refined sugar, eating organic produce to reduce our exposure to pesticides, GMO’s, antibiotics and synthetic hormones, using alternative forms of contraception, taking medication only when we really need it and eating a healthy, balanced diet, will all help us in our battle against disease.
The key to your health is the health of your gut.
If you need any help finding a probiotic, I’m happy to help – just pop me an email! 🙂