Your Gut -The Seat of Health
What is your gut
For many people, the gut is a bit of a mystery – food goes in one end, something happens in the middle, and thensomething else happens at the other end. As long as the gut remains a diligent servant, quietly going about its duties and keeping us oblivious, most don’t give it a second thought.
Where does your gut start and end?
Your gut starts in your mouth and ends at your anus. Your ongoing health and wellbeing depends on the health of your whole gut i.e. it’s necessary to consider the health of your entire gut – oral health to colonic health.
What does your gut do
Your gut is responsible for the physical and chemical breakdown of the food you eat. Along the way nutrients and water are absorbed. At the end waste is expelled.
Accessory glands and organs
You gut doesn’t work alone. Salivary glands in your mouth moisten food and provide enzymes to start the breakdown of starch. The liver, gall bladder and pancreas add other enzymes to aid the breakdown of food to molecules small enough for the body to absorb.
How does it work
Peristalsis is the rhythmic contraction of smooth muscle in along the gut – it starts when our swallow your food and continues on the end. Good gut motility (how much your smooth muscle contracts) is essential to the health and function of the gut.
More Than a Processing Station for Nutrients.
Natural medicine practitioners have long recognisedthe crucial role that the gut plays in our health. Clinical observations and scientific confirmation have revealedlinks with almost every health condition – from depression to diabetes, autism and autoimmunity.
What we are justbeginning to appreciate is that the gut is registering a mindboggling amount of information every day; and we are unaware of it.
Gut Feelings: Who Has Them?
The gut is an essential part of our interaction with the world. As well as happily digesting our food, the gut is working as a sense organ – it’s our primary environmental interface, with more nerves than the rest of the peripheralnervous system put together.
With all this sensing and sampling occurring the gut is the greatest source of microbial and environmental antigens, and our body is keenly interested in their composition
Which brings us to the microbiome
Bacteria are critical for human survival, living both within and on your body.
Having the right types of bacteria in the right place and the right balance can help your body function optimally.
It is estimated that for every one human cell in your body, there are ten bacterial cells; this means you are about 1% human and 99% bacteria! There are billions of different types of bacteria in your body, all playing different roles to keep your health in check. When these bacteria are out of balance, it can make you susceptible to digestive symptoms and conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS); as well as having an impact on immunity, allergies, metabolism, and skin health.
When the microbiome becomesunbalanced (dysbiosis) you become susceptible to a range of health conditions – IBS, SIBO, changes to immunity (autoimmune, allergies), changes in metabolism, mood changes, skin health. When your diet is not supportive of your gut, the density of immune and sensory cells can become the gut’s Achilles heel, generating significant inflammation, pain and systemic dysfunction.
Diet is the Key
Eat a predominantly plant-based diet – choose from a wide selection of colourful vegetables and fruits, perhaps some chickpeas or lentils, and other plant-based wholefoods every day.
You need to eat 6-9 cups of vegetables and fruits every day to get the amount of fibre your gut needs. Choose a range of different vegetables and fruits each day – preferably seasonal vegetables and fruits. Variety is the key
Resistance Starch – gold for your gut bugs
Resistance starch is a type of insoluble fibre that behaves more like a soluble fibre – it feeds your gut bugs.By feeding your beneficial gut bugs, resistance starch supresses potential pathogens and is important for metabolic and heart health.
Sources of Resistant Starch
Foods high in resistant starch included legumes (e.g red kidney beans, butter beans, adzuki beans, lentils, black eyed beans, chickpeas); whole grain cereals e.g brown rice; cooked and chilled white rice, potatoes, sweet potato and pasta (cooking and chilling causes modest rises in resistant starch); cashews, green peas, green banana flour, unripe bananas.
Regularly include foods high in resistant starch in your daily diet – your gut bugs will thank you. Remember, happy gut bugs means happy you 😊
Seek advice from an accredited and registered Naturopath – they will guide you through the changes needed to improve your diet, microbiome and, therefore, improve your overall health. Their professional advice is invaluable