Where Diseases Begin – The Gut
The understanding about the role of the gut in our overall well-being seems to grow by the day and besides being important to your mental and emotional health; our digestion can play a key role in our natural immunity to diseases. This is because your gut isn’t sterile.
“All disease begins in the gut.” ~Hippocrates
It’s been well over two thousand years since Hippocrates made this statement; yet it has never been as true as it is today. Our digestive system is a passageway through one end of the body to the other and provides a barrier between the outside world and our inside world.
Poor diets, toxic chemicals in our food, water, and environment, consumption of alcohol, stress and frequent use of antibiotics all deplete our healthy supply of beneficial bacteria and provide opportunities for unhealthy bacteria and yeast strains to take over. Also, a weakened intestinal wall can disrupt the normal transport and surveillance of foods from the gut into the body, can cause food sensitivities, and can trigger autoimmune reactions, leading to such things as autoimmune diseases, asthma, and eczema.
One way to ensure that your intestinal tract stays as healthy as it can is, to regularly repopulate your friendly gut bacteria. There are several ways to achieve this:
- Often people think the easiest way to go is to buy a probiotic from the pharmacy. However, be careful when buying a probiotic in a jar. They have limited amounts of stains, so in my opinion you are feeding only a few populations and this can be detrimental to health. Only use these if you have had a course of antibiotics. Then take a course of store bought probiotics and buy one that has the most strains in it.
A second option is to eat cultured foods and there are many to choose from, such as kombucha, kim chi (pickled vegetables), sauerkraut and even blueberries (the white on the blueberry is a probiotic). Miso and tempeh, as well as additional fermented legumes, grains, and breads are excellent. I frequently eat culture vegetables as a source of beneficial bacteria for a number of additional reasons:
– The fermentation process neutralizes any toxins in the vegetables themselves
– They provide the nutrients and fiber from the vegetables
– They are partially digested and easier on the stomach than raw vegetables
Including a small serving of cultured foods in your diet everyday will help you maintain a healthy variety of beneficial microbes to keep your digestion running smoothly and your immune system strong.
Your gut will thank you!