Love your guts

 

All disease begins in the gut.

–  Hippocrates

Ooh isn’t this a hot topic? I’ve been pondering how to attack this one for a while now and I’m hoping lots of you have already come across it somewhere or other.

I have known for a while now that the absolute key in improving my health, energy and clarity (no more brain fog) was to work on my gut health. I know a lot of information about health and wellbeing gets thrown at you nowadays, but if there is one thing I would urge you to do is to work on your guts! I’ve been on a double dose of probiotics for two months now and I can really feel a difference.

There are many doctors and health professionals who are now pointing to gut health as one of the most important issues in treating the plethora of diseases that are flooding our society (depression, diabetes, chronic fatigue, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, eczema, IBS and obesity). It is the engine room of the whole body, sometimes called the ‘second brain’ and runs 60% – 70% of your immune system. Wow. It’s made up of two parts, gut flora and gut lining.

good bacteria

(sourced from pinterest)

Gut Flora

Gut flora is made up of approx 100 trillion micro organisms that protect you from infection, regulates your metabolism and runs the bulk of your immune system. It’s also your second nervous system (after your brain), transmitting info through your body and sending status updates to your brain. This is where your gut becomes so important for your mental health – the gut affects your moods and emotions by sending messages to your brain that all is not well, just as your brain sends messages to your gut sometimes causing ‘butterflies’ in your stomach. It’s also where the majority of serotonin is created – not the brain – responsible for regulating moods, sleep and anxiety. Who knew!

Good bacteria also helps manufacture all important vitamins and helps absorb minerals, digest food and fight bad bacteria – staving off infections.

 

Gut Lining

The gut lining replaces itself every 3-7 days and is the porous barrier deciding what goes in and out. The integrity of this barrier is one of the major players in preventing the development of autoimmune disease like Hashimoto’s and diabetes. When the barrier loses integrity and becomes ‘leaky’, proteins that shouldn’t be allowed out start leaking into the bloodstream. Your body will then attack them, predisposing you to an autoimmune disease. Researchers have now found evidence that if you have one of these issues, you will also have a leaky gut.

 

The Baddies:

  • antibiotics (good and bad bacteria get wiped out indiscriminately)
  • infections
  • stress
  • the pill
  • gluten
  • alcohol
  • diets high in carbs, sugar (fructose) and processed food

The Goodies

  • Take a Probiotic supplement. Remember you get what you pay for. Probiotics can be affected by temperature differences, so if your bottle of yakult (for example) has been sitting out in the warehouse, or out of a refrigerated truck, then its just going to be sugary milk by the time it gets to you. Try a 1 month course of pharmacy grade probiotics and see if it makes a difference, then maintain balance with your diet.
  • eat fermented foods (sauerkraut, kimchi, Kefir, kombucha)
  • eat whole foods – plant-based and fibre filled foods
  • glutamine – oats are great for this
  • bone broth (not doing this yet but has been discussed!)
  • drink plenty of water
  • lose the sugar people
  • lose the stress

 

I wish I had known all this before I had children, as the health of your gut gets passed on to a baby whilst being born, and after through breastfeeding. It is painfully obvious that the combination of antibiotics and stress before Miss C was born impacted my and her health greatly. I always felt that it was something I had done (unconsciously) that caused Miss C’s horrible eczema, food allergy, constant sickness and general unhappiness at being in the world. I just couldn’t pin down what it was.

Luckily I can try to do something to help her now! I give them both probiotic powder in their milk in the morning and I try to limit gluten as much as I can. I am by no means perfect, if I followed every piece of advice on healthy eating I’d go crazy, but it’s all about being aware and making informed and concious choices about our diet and lifestyle.

 

Linley xx

 

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