The importance of digestive health
The optimal functioning of our digestive system is very important for our general health. It’s been shown that 70% of the immune system and 80% of our antibodies are contained in the gut lining; inside resides the microbiome, that has now come to be seen as the foundation of human life, health, and most interesting human consciousness itself.
80% of the population these days complains about some form of digestive issue, from acid reflux, food allergies, IBS, Crohn’s, constipation and more. Other disorders like allergies, arthritis, autoimmune disease, acne, and mood disorders; although seeming unrelated start in the gut.
Gut health affects the entire body. If you have gut issues it is very important to fix them.
These are the 3 elements to gut health.
- The Microbiome. Is the mix of bacteria, fungi, and parasites that reside in the gut. They not only help digest food, they work all over the body and can be good for physical as well as mental health. The microbiome is the frontline of the immune system; it helps detoxification and recognizes invaders. When in balance it has also antibacterial and antiviral properties. Chemicals in the food, environment and water disrupt this fundamental aspect of your health. An unhealthy balance of the microbiome can also contribute to obesity, by sending signals to the brain that confound hunger with satiety. Obesity is the main risk of infection by COVID19 for people under 50.
- The Barrier. The single lining of cells that covers the inside of the digestive system constitutes the boundary between the outside and inside world. The gut is the largest system in the body; its extension covers 2 tennis courts. If the gatekeeper function of the lining is compromised all kinds of compounds like chemicals, plastics, and toxins can enter the body.
- The Immune System. Behind the lining of the gut resides the lymphatic system of the gut. The function of this component of our immune system is to recognize self and foreign material therefore preventing autoimmune disorders.
How can we strengthen and heal our gut.
- Adopting a healthy nutrition system
- Eating a variety of foods, preferably freshly picked from local farms.
- Incorporating fermented foods like miso, sauerkraut and kimchi.
- Eating organic foods that have nor been stripped of nutrients and beneficial bacteria by chemicals.
- Reduce the amount of alcohol, anti-inflammatory drugs, antacids, and constipation medicine.
- Increase the amount of fiber, critical for gut health.
- Support the immune system with good sleep, exercise, being outdoors and acupuncture.
Gut health is not about taking medication or probiotics that limit the diversity of the flora; it is about supporting these 3 principles: the microbiome, the barrier and the immune system. It’s here where we can change our health and increase longevity.