Thousands of years ago, Hippocrates once said “All disease begins in the gut” and boy was he right.
Gut flora is fundamental for our overall health and according to studies it composes about 70% of our immune system. So, forget about vitamin C, it’s probiotics that we should be taking to strengthen our immunity.
The scientific community has done extensive research and has come to understand and prioritize the important role that bacteria has in our immune system and keeping us healthy. Not all bacteria are bad, in fact some are crucial for increasing our immunity. Keeping our digestive system working optimally, maintaining normal hormone levels and helping our brain operate smoothly.
Most people think that bacteria in the body would be a cause of diseases, and while it can be true for some very harmful bacteria found in food and other sources, there are trillions of beneficial bacteria present in our bodies. In fact, they make up our bacterial flora, which is an internal ecosystem that makes up our digestive and immune system.
HOW GUT IMBALANCE AFFECT OUR HEALTH
The importance of gut flora cannot be overstated. Poor gut health has been linked to:
- Leaky gut syndrome
- Autoimmune diseases
- Heart disease
” Your intestinal organisms, or microbiome, participate in a wide variety of bodily systems, including immunity, detoxification, inflammation, neurotransmitter and vitamin production, nutrient absorption, whether you feel hungry or full, and how you utilize carbohydrates and fat. All of these processes factor into whether you experience chronic health problems like allergies, asthma, ADHD, cancer, type 2 diabetes, or dementia.” – Dr. David Perlmutter, Author of the Best-Selling Book Grain Brain.
According to scientist at the Oregon State University, problems ranging from autoimmune disease, depression and obesity may in fact be linked to immune dysfunction rooted in the gut.
“Asked about their immune system, most people might think of white blood cells, lymph glands or vaccines. They would be surprised that’s not where most of the action is. Our intestines contain more immune cells than the entire rest of our body.” said Dr. Natalia Shulzhenko, assistant professor and physician in the Oregon State University, Dept. of Biomedical Sciences.
LEAKY GUT SYNDROME
Leaky gut syndrome is probably the worse stage of “bad gut health”. Intestinal permeability is another name for it.
Our digestive tract has a tissue lining which has tiny holes that allow specific particles to pass through. And it functions this way when it’s in good conditions. However, when someone has leaky gut, the damaged lining allows toxic particles that normally shouldn’t pass through. Some of the particles that can now pass through the lining and can cause different reactions in our body are gluten, harmful bacteria, undigested food particles and toxic waste from your intestinal tract that can now enter your blood stream and cause immune reactions.
With time, these particles in the bloodstream can cause symptoms, such as:
- Gas & bloating
- Food sensitivities
- Thyroid conditions
- Weight gain
- Joint pain
- Skin issues like eczema
What happens with unsoaked and unsprouted grains is that they contain high levels of antinutrients called phytates and lectins. What these anti nutrients do is that they bind to the nutrients on the grains and block their absorption. Hence then name, ANTI nutrient.
BENEFICIAL FOODS FOR GUT HEALTH
Foods high in anti-oxidants help reduce gut damage caused by poor eating habits and excessive consumption of foods that damage the gut lining. On the other hand, there are many foods that can lower inflammation and help increase the number of good bacteria in your gut, therefore, improving the digestive system overall.
These foods are:
- Fermented foods and beverages: These include kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut and others. Probiotic foods contain “good bacteria” that populate your gut and fight off bad bacterial strains.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables (all kinds): loaded with phytonutrients and antioxidants that help protect the gut and repair damage.
- Herbs, spices and teas: turmeric, ginger, basil, oregano, thyme, etc., plus green tea and organic coffee in moderation
- Healthy fats: Extra virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds, and specially coconut oil which is extra beneficial for gut health.
- Wild-caught fish, cage-free eggs and grass-fed/pasture-raised meat: higher in omega 3 fatty acids than farm-raised foods and great sources of protein, healthy fats, and essential nutrients.
- Ancient grains and legumes: Specifically, when soaked or sprouted and 100% whole. Especially black beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, lentils, black rice, amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa.
- Not a food but definitely important: PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENTS.
Our diet is composed mainly of highly processed ingredients, sugars, pesticides and genetically modified foods. I often hear a lot of people not understanding why all of a sudden gluten is a problem for a lot of people. And the problem is, the WHEAT we eat today is gone through modification over the years to facilitate produccion and sales, and our gut (due to all the damage from the poor diet) is not handling it as it should, and it did before. So lets start taking care of our bodies. It’s not just a trend, it’s being caring and responsible with our bodies.
Thankfully, even if your gut microbiome is not at its best, by making changes in your diet, taking care of your body and choosing the right foods your gut flora can improve. Our diet has changed so much over the years.