What is all the fuss about? There is so much talk about gut health these days. Probiotics, Prebiotics and Probiotics infused teas, biscuits and even bread (Baker’s Delight has embarked on a marketing a ‘healthier’ prebiotic bread). Do we really need to create so much fuss on how to optimise our gut health.
Well, I would go back to what the Father of Medicine said.
As a GI surgeon who has been in mainstream medical practice and research, I have cut and stitched and researched this organ called the “GUT” for the major part of my life. Being a yoga and meditation teacher allows me to have a deeper and “out of the surgical box” understanding of this amazing organ that the whole world is suddenly talking about!
Your gut is not just an organ that makes poop! We know that it is the seat of your happy hormones (Serotonin and Dopamine). Your Gut has the largest concentration of your defense systems – your immunity.
And very importantly your Gut has an intelligence of its own. It has its own brain called Enteric Nervous System (ENS). This is what gives you your intuition – that Gut Feeling – widely recognized in the Eastern traditions as your Solar Plexus.
The power of Live Foods
Nutritional medicine places a great emphasis on the digestive tract — the primary area where we receive goodness from the foods that we consume. A healthy digestive system leads to a healthier body and mind. The primary role of the digestive system is to break down and absorb food, providing our body with the fuels and nutrients it requires to function optimally.
What we eat and drink builds the foundation of our health. We eat to obtain nutrients for our muscles and organs to promote the growth and repair of our tissues and to support our immune system in fighting disease.
The reason why I’m so passionate about this topic is that eating live foods instantly nourishes our bodies. I believe that food is most healing when it is close to its original state and has the properties to heal and nourish. Not only does eating foods that are unprocessed “whole foods” – feed your gut flora – these are the bacteria that calls your gut their home and helps you support your metabolism and immune system.
The good bacteria get overtaken by the bad guys when we eat mostly junk and processed foods that are laden with chemical, pesticides and antibiotics (like red meats). This is what sows the seeds of not only gut issues but many health conditions that our society is facing.
My 3 Strategies to take charge of your GUT health (inspired by Hippocrates)
I encourage you to make small diet and lifestyle changes that will have positive outcomes for your health in the future. The good news is that you are in control of your own body…..and what you eat.
By cutting down on these 3 foods as well as listening to your body, you’ll be on the right track to help ensure a happy and healthy environment for your beneficial gut flora to thrive. This will translate into many health benefits.
Cut these 3 items from your diet and you are winning already!
“Many so called healthy raw foods and snacks out in the market are high in sugar – remember that!”
1. Store bought snack bars and baked goods
Most store-bought snacks and baked goods are highly processed. This means they’re loaded with artificial sweeteners, refined flours, bulking agents, flavor enhancers and additives that are highly inflammatory to the digestive system. Think of them as like dropping a nuclear bomb on your gut bacteria – it’ll be hard for them to survive to keep you healthy.
Plus the sugar in these foods feed bad bacteria in the gut, causing an imbalance with symptoms such as bloating, constipation and weight gain.
Excessive amounts of refined carbohydrates and sugar promote the growth of bad bacteria in your digestive system thus creating a balance that can lead to dysbiosis. Dysbiosis is a term used to describe an imbalance that may arise among the bacteria that inhabit the gut. Ideally, the beneficial bacteria in our gut keeps the pathogenic actions of the bad bacteria in check, but sometimes due to poor diet, this balance gets thrown out of whack. This can lead to a breakdown in our digestive defense system, allowing the baddies to overpopulate and our health to deteriorate. Nausea, diarrhoea, constipation, dysmotility, bloating, food intolerances, nutrient malabsorption and chronic inflammation may result and increase the chances of chronic disease. Diets high in sugar and refined carbohydrates that include processed foods, white flour, white pasta etc provide the perfect environment for the bad bacteria to thrive. It’s also important to remember that many so-called healthy raw foods and snacks out in the market are also high in sugar – so just be mindful of that.
Gluten is a protein found in certain grains such as wheat, rye, barley, oats and triticale. Gluten intolerance can range in severity and result in a variety of physical symptoms including bloating, constipation, eczema and behavioural issues.Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition caused by the body’s inability to digest gluten that results in damage to the lining of the small intestine and disruption to nutrient absorption. If you are intolerant to gluten you will need to avoid foods such as commercial breads, cereals and pastas, as well as many other processed foods (sausages, store-bought stocks, sausages, sauces, meat patties etc.)
You could also tune in to a You Tube Video I made on Top 3 Secrets on Gut Health. Here