In our last blog we discussed the liberating benefits of an emotional cleanse. This week we will take a look at your gut and show you why healing your gut is essential for good health.
More than 2,000 years ago Hippocrates said “all disease begins in the gut” and we’re only now coming to understand just how right he was. Research over the past two decades has revealed that gut health is critical to overall health, and that an unhealthy gut contributes to a wide range of diseases. The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is a crucial part of our physiology and its health determines our health and happiness. Besides being responsible for nutrient absorption, our digestive system is responsible for our immune system and acts as a major source of neurotransmitters – the chemicals that determine our emotional state. Gut health has been linked to our learning capacity and memory, depression and anxiety, bone formation, neurological functions, and much more.
Unfortunately, several features of the modern lifestyle directly contribute to unhealthy gut flora:
• Antibiotics and other medications like birth control and NSAIDs
• Diets high in refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods
• Diets low in fermentable fibers
• Dietary toxins like wheat and industrial seed oils that cause leaky gut
• Chronic stress
• Chronic infections
With so many things attacking our digestive system it would seem like an almost impossible task to try and restore its health. Luckily with a bit of planning and time it is possible to restore your gastrointestinal tract to optimal health.
Rejuice's Recommendations to Remove, Repair, Restore, for a happy healthy gut.
In this first step we remove the offending foods and toxins from your diet that could be acting as stressors on your system. This means caffeine, alcohol, processed foods, bad fats, and any other foods you think may be causing issues, like gluten and dairy. All of these all irritate the gut in some form and create an inflammatory response.
You do this by consuming an unprocessed diet and giving your body time to rest by providing it with substances that are known to heal the gut, like L-glutamine, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, antioxidants (in the form of vitamins A, C, and E), quercitin, aloe vera, and turmeric.
The restoration of your gut's optimal bacterial flora population. This is done with the introduction of probiotics like Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis. Our gut is home to approximately one trillion micro organisms and ten times more bacteria than all the cells in the body. In fact you can say we’re more bacterial than we are human.A probiotic is a good bacteria and is ingested to help reinforce and maintain a healthy gastrointestinal tract and to help fight illness.
You can also eat whole foods that are fermented and contain large amounts of good bacteria. Sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, microalgae and coconut kefir are fantastic plant-based probiotic-rich foods. When looking for probiotic-rich foods, avoid vinegar-based and/or pasteurized varieties, since these elements kill good bacteria!
10 FOODS THAT ARE GREAT FOR GUT HEALTH
Fermented foods are full of healthy, living bacteria that contribute to our microbiome. Kefir, a fermented and slightly carbonated dairy beverage, can contribute to improved gut health by delivering good bacteria and also helping the synthesis of vitamins B12 and K. Even if you have difficulty digesting the lactose in milk, you may be able to tolerate kefir.
Another fermented food, sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) acts as a vehicle to deliver health-promoting probiotic bacteria to the GI tract. Be sure to look for freshly made sauerkraut (it will be in the refrigerated section) and not canned — the pasteurization process that canned sauerkraut endures kills off much of its beneficial bacteria.
This traditional Korean condiment of spicy fermented cabbage and various add-ins can also contribute to improved gut health. It contains healthy bacteria and current research is showing a promising connection between the bacteria found in Kimchee and improved immunity.
Black tea fermented by a symbiotic mixture of bacteria, fizzy kombucha is becoming one of the most popular fermented foods in the American diet. In addition to beneficial probiotics, kombucha drinkers also benefit from the antioxidants found within the drink's tea base.
5. Whole oranges
The soluble fiber found in oranges is fermented by our gut bacteria and one of the byproducts is a fatty acid called butyrate. Butyrate is the preferred fuel source for the cells that line our GI tract and thus helps fuel a healthy gut. Remember, you must eat the whole fruit to reap this benefit since the soluble fiber is found mostly in the membranes that divide the segments of the orange.
6. Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes)
Jerusalem artichokes are especially high in inulin, an indigestible fiber that feeds our gut bacteria. Like the fiber in oranges, inulin is also fermented in the colon and a butyrate is formed as a byproduct of this fermentation. Butyrate has been shown to improve the health of the intestinal barrier and also have anti-inflammatory effects.
Butter is a source of naturally occurring butyrate in our diets (versus that which forms as a byproduct of fermentation in our large intestine). Food sources of butyrate may also enhance intestinal barrier function and improve overall gut health. Remember to look for butter from grass-fed cows.
Garlic can act as a prebiotic, or a food source for our healthy gut bacteria. However, those with IBS might want to avoid garlic, as it is also high in fructans, a type of carbohydrate that some have difficulty digesting.
Lentils can contribute to our gut health in a few different ways. Lentils contain soluble fiber, which is fermented in our colon. Lentils are also a source of prebiotics that feed our existing beneficial gut bacteria.
10. Dark chocolate
Great news! The bacteria within our GI tract can efficiently ferment chocolate and even produce anti-inflammatory byproducts. These fermentation byproducts have been found to benefit both a health gut and also a healthy heart. Look for dark chocolate with at least 70% cacao content.
Start eating better today and feel the difference. Your gut will thank you!
Stay tuned for Part 3: Revive the Spirit: The Benefits of a Spiritual Cleanse