Feeling tired, lethargic, bloated, headachy, moody and finding it hard to lose weight? YOUR GUT COULD BE THE CULPRIT!
More than 2000 years ago, Hippocrates said “ALL DISEASE BEGINS IN THE GUT” It is only in the past 20 years that research has revealed that an unhealthy gut contributes to a wide range of diseases including diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, autism, depression and chronic fatigue syndrome. Scary stuff! The upside is, with a little bit of knowledge, you can prevent these sinister things from happening and improve your state of being immediately. You’ve often heard people question, “what does your gut say?” It’s a phrase that gets thrown around on the regular, but science has revealed that there’s more in it than we thought!
The gut sends emotional signals to the brain suggesting we “feel” with our guts first. There is a visceral nerve embedded in the gut called the vagus nerve. Up to 90% of its fibres carry information from the GUT TO THE BRAIN, not the other way around. In other words, the brain interprets gut signals as emotions, so you really should LISTEN and TRUST it! The gut is the only organ that can perform its functions without the oversight of the brain, it acts as it’s own “brain”, no other organ, not even the heart can do that! Also known as the SECOND BRAIN, there are over 100 million brain cells in the gut, and it even has its own nervous system! As if this wasn’t enough, the gut also houses the bulk of your immune system cells, a whopping 70%, in the form of gut associated lymphoid tissue, which play a huge part in the defence against killing and expelling the foreign invaders of illness. It should be noted that antibiotics wreck havoc on the gut, vastly disrupting the microbial climate and abolishing all bacteria (the good and the bad) which is what a healthy gut is made up of.
So it’s advisable, if on a course of antibiotics, to take a probiotic called Florastor and continue taking it for 2 weeks after your antibiotic course to help re-establish your gut microbiome.
The gut is so complex and regulates so many bodily functions. Approximately 80% of the neurotransmitter serotonin is produced in the gastrointestinal tract, NOT the brain! Since large quantities of neurotransmitters are manufactured in the gut, your GI tract is largely responsible for your PHYSICAL and MENTAL wellbeing. A third of people today suffer digestive problems. In this day and age, a lot of what we consume in our bodies is killing our gut health. Summer, is historically a period where greater alcohol consumption occurs and if travelling to far away lands, food and water quality can be compromised, hence causing further digestive interferences. An inflamed digestive tract not only causes discomfort and complications internally but also causes the stomach to BLOAT and interferes with the metabolism making it CHALLENGING TO LOSE WEIGHT.
10 key culprits include:
- PROCESSED FOODS particularly fast food. (fresh foods breed life and make you feel well and give you energy, processed foods zap your energy and make you feel lethargic. These are essentially dead foods, and a great deal of the population live on them, and can result in autoimmune diseases, IBS, gallstones, diarrhoea, colitis, heartburn, acid reflux, constipation, Crohn’s disease, haemorrhoids and more). Try to eat ORGANICALLY as much as possible to prevent ingesting harmful pesticides, hormones and chemicals that, again wreak havoc on your gut health and endocrine system
- Excessive COLON CLEANSES
- Excessive intake of PAINKILLERS
- WHEAT (even for non celiac)
- CHRONIC STRESS
- SLEEP DEPRIVATION (raises cortisol levels which is associated with leaky gut)
- CARRAGEENAN (used as a thickening agent in organic and nonorganic ice cream, yogurt, sour cream, milks. Read labels and avoid it) It can be tricky to abstain from all of the above, but making an effort to cut down will improve health and wellbeing irrecoverably. Keep your GI system in tip top shape by including PROBIOTICS and PREBIOTICS.
PROBIOTIC food sources:
- Fermented vegetables (kimchi, sauerkraut, carrots, green beans, beets, lacto-fermented pickles, traditional cured Greek olives)
- Fermented soybeans (miso, natto, tempeh)
- Cultured dairy products (buttermilk, yogurt, kefir, cheese)
- Cultured nondairy products (yogurts and kefirs made from organic soy, coconut, etc.)
- Fermented grains and beans (lacto-fermented lentils, chickpea, miso, etc.)
- Fermented beverages (kefirs and kombuchas)
- Fermented condiments (raw apple cider vinegar)
PREBIOTIC food sources:
- Burdock root
- Cereal grains (barley, rye)
- Chicory root
- Greens (especially dandelion greens)
- Jerusalem artichoke
So, there we have it…HERE’S TO YOUR GUT HEALTH AND HAPPINESS!
Author: FORM founder Elissa El Hadj
*Cover image courtesy of https://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/diet-tips/30-greatest-flat-belly-tips-all-time