Gut Health is the basis of all Health. When your digestive system is inflamed and the balance of bacteria that live there become compromised your health soon starts to suffer.
The gut performs essential functions in the body. How the gut functions has both a direct and indirect effect on every cell in your body.
When we talk about the Gut what do we actually mean? – we mean a lot more than the bodies digestive tube, we are also referring to the living organisms inside the gut, the intestinal flora, and the immune and nervous systems within and around the walls of the intestine. The body doesn’t make a distinction between the different parts and nor should we. These different organs and tissues make up the Gut.
Scientist still only understand a fraction of what goes on in our guts, but we do know that it contains a large portion of our immune system (with research suggesting that this is where some autoimmune conditions originate) and the bacteria there has a massive influence on body function, mood, weight (they influence what calories are worth), nutritional absorption, allergies and many of the modern diseases that are prevalent in the west.
It is vital that you keep these bacterial passengers happy when they can impact your health so much!
These bacteria, quite literally, have a mind of their own. That’s why you’ll frequently hear the gut referred to as your “second brain.” Technically known as the enteric nervous system, the second brain consists of sheaths of neurons embedded in the walls of the long tube of our gut. This multitude of neurons in the enteric nervous system enables us to "feel" the inner world of our gut and its contents. The enteric nervous system uses more than 30 neurotransmitters, just like the brain, and in fact 95 percent of the body's serotonin is found in the bowels.
So in addition to regulating your metabolism, digestion, learning and memory, these bacteria regulate your mood, social behaviour, levels of happiness and anxiety. Essentially, all the important functions of the body!
In simple terms - how do they do that? The bacteria in your gut produces hundreds of chemical neurotransmitters, including one you may have heard of before – serotonin.
Serotonin plays a key role in our central nervous system. Research has shown that those who are deficient in serotonin are more likely to be depressed and suffer from anxiety. As around 95% of your body’s serotonin is produced by the bacteria that reside in your gut, having a gut bacterial imbalance may prevent you from receiving an appropriate amount of serotonin to regulate your physiological and mental systems.
The How to support
Here are some simple things for you implement to support and help your Gut.
Chew Chew Chew. The first step to take is to chew your food well. It’s time to slow down and chew. Put down your fork between each mouthful and engage in conversation. Chew your food and swallow it before you take the next mouthful. Be mindful of how you feel after chewing your food, observe whether this improves how your tummy feels after eating.
Removing toxins and irritating substances. That means limiting or (better yet) eliminating - alcohol, caffeine, processed foods, refined sugars. Also look at the cleaning products and the products you are putting on your skin. We absorb a lot of toxins through our skin and environment.
Eat real food. Consume foods that are pure and natural - fresh food from nature - avoiding processed foods. Ideally predominantly plant-based food, (consume lots of vegetables including the green leafy variety), supplemented by free range and preferably organic eggs, fish, beef, and chicken. The best way to eat clean is to cook from scratch and stay away from sachets, pre-made sauces and pre-made meals. Avoid all foods with additives.
Start consuming lots of fermented foods such as Kombucha, a good quality natural milk yoghurt and kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi. These are rich in probiotics, which repopulate your intestines with the good bacteria needed for optimal digestion and health.
Take a powerful probiotic. In addition to fermented foods, take a course of probiotics to increase your good bacteria.
Take a course of multi-enzyme supplement (preferably one with every meal). Digestive enzymes break down the foods we eat so we can absorb the nutrients. But things like ageing, chronic stress, and inflammation can decrease our digestive enzymes. When that happens, even if we eat healthy foods, we won’t get the nutrition we need. To aid this situation, take a supplement that provides enzymes that break down carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
Drink bone broth at least once a day. Bone broth offers incredible intestinal healing power and disease prevention.
While you’re supporting your gut, there are many natural gut-healers you might want to consider taking or consuming. For starters, consider:
Chamomile Tea – Not only is Chamomile great for calming, it soothes upset stomachs and can assist in the relaxation of the muscles and lining of the intestines. Chamomile can support people suffering with poor digestion or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It is a great remedy for constipation and assisting with evacuating the bowl, as it can soften the waste and help the bowl wall to relax. Use organic leaves and infuse for 10-15 mins - drink lots of this nourishing tea throughout the day in between meals
Dandelion Tea – Has many benefits include the ability to detoxify the body, regulate digestion, supports liver function. Dandelion is high in inulin, a type of carbohydrate that supports healthy gut flora. We are unable to digest inulin, it passes to the colon where it ferments and feeds the healthy bacteria. Use organic leaves and infuse for 10-15 mins - drink lots of this nourishing tea throughout the day in between meals
Oregano oil – If you suspect a parasite infection take Oregano oil, it has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Also Oregano oil is known to stimulate the flow of bile into the digestive organs, enhancing the digestive process. Take 3 drops of Oregano oil a day in a small glass of water for 3 weeks (only take for a maximum of 3 weeks at a time).
Eat More fibre: Especially eating vegetables such as artichokes, garlic, leeks, onions, asparagus daily can help. The healthy bugs in your gut feed off the prebiotic fibres found in these vegetables and in turn help keep your gastrointestinal health and wellness on track.
Develop a daily relaxation practice. Stress can seriously contribute to damaging your gut. When you think about it, your stomach and your digestion are two of the first things that get affected when you go through an emotionally difficult time. (As mentioned above, your gut is where the most of your body’s serotonin resides, and it’s sometimes referred to as the “second brain.”) One of the best ways to counteract the stress in your life is to make sure you exercise, walking in nature is one of the best options to relieve stress and stimulate digestion. Even a short walk aids digestion and bowel movements and reduces stress.
Be aware of the chemicals you are using in your house and on your body: I believe that the products we put on our skins have the same effect as the foods we put into our mouths. Potentially harmful chemicals are absorbed into the blood stream and carried to every organ of the body. Our bodies are poorly equipped to eliminate synthetic substances, and growing independent evidence suggests that toxic chemicals widely used in personal care products can accumulate in the body, and cause a frightening range of avoidable health problems!
New studies: But while most studies so far have focused on the microbes that live in the gut, researchers are now turning their attention to the skin microbiome.
If you’re looking to re-start, re-align or re-balance your body, then you may want to try our beautiful and gentle 21-day gut reboot program, which is the ultimate support for an easy to follow and nourishing overhaul.
Unlike those cleanses that leave you hungry and with complicated expensive recipes to follow (oh, we’ve been there) ours does the trick and without the dreaded deprivation. The secret is our easy to prepare and healing recipes that are loaded with dense nutrients, metabolism boosting foods and clean green recipes to keep you feeling fuller, for longer. Through regular, nourishing meals in just a short time you can support your digestion into a regular rhythm of absorbing and rest – giving you optimal nutrients when your body needs to heal and repair.
If your body needs a little extra care, this stress-free cleanse will help get both your mind and body functioning at its best.
We all have divine access to our own answers within, but sometimes we just need a little help to unlock them! You’ll discover hidden gems within yourself and develop the goals and inspiration you need to compel you through this journey – and to greater health beyond!
But no matter what your health is like right now, remember that healing starts in your gut—and when you do a reset, miraculous things happen!