When you have a healthy gut, your body is able to defend itself from illness and disease. You may have thought that a healthy gut only allows you to digest and eliminate food. But it is so much more than that. Research is linking deficiencies or abnormalities in our gut bacteria as potential causes of obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. (Source: WebMD) Our digestive tract not only helps us extract nutrients from our food and eliminate toxins from our bodies, but it helps our immune system stay strong to fight pathogens and free radicals.
Both good bacteria and bad bacteria live in our body. Each has its role. The good bacteria is our first defense against bad bacteria and allows our body to balance its efforts to keep us healthy. The bad bacteria in our bodies may get disrupted and cause disease. This can be triggered by antibiotic use as well as other interruptions that kill our good bacteria. Antibiotic's have their role in helping us heal quickly. Unfortunately, when overused, antibiotics can stop helping us. That's why it is important to only take antibiotics when absolutely necessary.
If your gut bacteria is not healthy, you will know it. Symptoms such as bloating, excess gas, constipation or diarrhea all indicate your gut bacteria are not healthy. Other symptoms such as lack of energy, fatigue and not being able to concentrate means your gut is not healthy.
Making gut bacteria healthy can be as easy as eating the right diet, exercising and taking supplements. This article will focus on eating to support a healthy gut so look for future articles on the importance of exercising and taking supplements to support a healthy gut.
DIET & THE IMPACT ON GUT HEALTH
A diet that is high in saturated fats and processed foods will cause inflammation in the body. When inflammation is high, our immune system starts to attack the inflammation. When the immune system is continually attacking inflammation from what we eat, it gets fatigued. Then when a more severe illness arises, the immune system cannot fight it.
You won't feel inflammation when it is happening but you will feel the effects of it in the form of disease. Obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes are just a few diseases that doctor's believe can be reversed with a healthy diet. We have an impression that these diseases are genetic. Most of the cases are not.
Eating the right diet doesn't mean restricting calories and saying no to the foods you like to eat. Instead, it is about redefining what foods you eat on a regular basis and what foods you eat as a treat. For example, fruits and vegetables should be the majority of what is on your plate at any meal. This may seem radical but if you transition slowly it will just become routine. It only takes 21 days to create a habit - good or bad!
Eating a diet focused on fruits and vegetables, helps your body maintain low inflammation. This relieves stress on the body and helps good bacteria flourish. Reducing meat consumption helps reduce the bad bacteria from meat that can cause inflammation and intestinal diseases. To start reducing meat in your life, try to have one vegetarian day per week. Once you achieve having one vegetarian day per week, try to make it two. You'll be amazed how fast your body will get used to the new routine. Below are some recipes to help you get started.
Organic food is devoid of chemicals and pesticides. Why is this important for gut health? Eating chemicals and pesticides confuses our body. Since the body does not recognize what they are, it fights them. Chemicals enter the body by being absorbed into the bloodstream. Once a chemical is absorbed into the bloodstream, it can have several different fates. In many cases, it is rapidly removed from the body through the urine or feces. In other situations, it may be stored in various parts of the body, such as fat or bone, and remain in the individual for many years. A compound may also lead to a toxic effect through interaction with certain organs or tissues in the individual or with other compounds in the body. (Source: Cornell University)
This means disease may develop because we have ingested chemicals and pesticides in our food. When the body is tired of fighting chemicals and pesticides and it doesn't get nutrients to generate energy, disease is the result. Organic food is higher in nutrients than non-organic food. If you think about how chemicals and pesticides affect our body, it does the same thing in fruits and vegetables. Suppression of how fruits and vegetables grow naturally results in less nutrients.
Organic food has the perception of being more expensive. But this is changing! Organic is becoming more prevalent as we learn how much better it is for our health. The local grocery stores have a wider variety and there are frequent sales. Sometimes, organic produce is cheaper than non-organic! Plus, you can also rely on organic frozen fruits and vegetables to help keep grocery bills down. They make great additions to recipes. Finally, since organic food is higher in nutrients you eat less of it. More nutrients means you get fuller faster. This definitely helps with grocery bills.
I hope you found this article informative about how you can eat for a healthy gut. If you try any of the above, let me know how it's going. I love hearing about your experiences.
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