70% of your immune system & 90% of Serotonin (feel good chemicals) are made in your gut. And wether our immune system is strong, head is happy, and nutrients get absorbed from food is heavily dependent on OUR GOOD GUT BACTERIA (aka PROBIOTICS).
These are found naturally in Fermented Foods as well as in pill & powder Probiotic form.
Fermented foods are a great natural source of probiotics that often have even more strains of bacteria than even the store bought saviors. Like anything made in a lab, probiotics in pill form have their naysayers. Apparently we can make our own fabulous fermented foods- though I haven't gotten this deep yet.
Wellness Mama explains that fermentation is the process of natural bacteria metabolizing starch into lactic acid. This lactic acid preserves the food, and creates beneficial enzymes, B-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics.
These are the sauerkraut, kimchi, greek yogurt, kombucha, kefir, aged cheeses of the world. Obviously we want to eat the ones that our body is ok with- ahem dairy.
How Probiotics work:
Processed foods & crappy starches feed our bad bacteria / soldiers. Good food feeds are good bacteria / soldiers. Probiotics simply add more good soldiers to the ranks.
So keep replenishing your good soldiers/ probiotics & feed the existing ones good food while starving out the bad ones by reducing your sugar and crappy starches. This will keep your stomach lining strong to absorb nutrients and keep toxins from leaking through a damaged gut wall.
How our gut gets in trouble:
- Our low fiber, high sugar, processed food, nutrient poor, high calorie diet that makes all the wrong bacteria and yeast grow in the gut leading to a damaged ecosystem.
- Overuse of medications that damage the gut or block normal digestive function – things like anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, acid blocking drugs, and steroids.
- Chronic low-grade infections or gut imbalances with overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, yeast overgrowth, parasites, or even more serious gut infections.
- Toxins damage the gut such as mercury and mold toxins. Specifically carboxymethylcellulose and polysorbate-80 in processed foods.
- Lack of adequate digestive enzyme function – which can come from acid blocking medication use or zinc deficiency.
- Stress can alter the gut nervous system causing a leaky gut and changing the normal bacteria in the gut.
Many diseases that seem totally unrelated to the gut, such as eczema, psoriasis, or arthritis, are actually caused by gut problems. Fix our Gut, Fix the Symptom. -Mark Hyman
What happens if our Gut is Imbalanced?
"Gut bacterial DNA controls immune function, regulates digestion and intestinal function, protects against infections, and even produces vitamins and nutrients".- Dr. Hyman
All sorts of diseases, irritable bowel, acne, fatigue, arthritis, and autoimmune disfuctions occur. If we've let our lifestyle breed the bad yeasts, like Candida, out of control to the detriment of our immune system, stomach lining, adrenals, energy levels, and liver overwhelm. Here is a good article on how to tell if you already have a Candida overgrowth that may be controlling your food choices - and what you can do about it..
5 steps to fixing your Gut
- Eat a fiber–rich, whole foods diet—it should be rich in beans, nuts, seeds, gluten free, non U.S. grown whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, all of which feed good bugs.
- Limit sugar, processed foods—these provide food for unhealthy bugs.
- Avoid the use of antibiotics, acid blockers, and anti-inflammatories—they change gut flora for the worse. Good bugs get killed leaving bad bugs able to over power
- Take probiotics daily—these healthy, friendly flora can improve your digestive health and reduce inflammation and allergy.
- Consider specialized testing—such as organic acid testing, stool testing (new tests can look at the DNA of the bacteria in your gut), and others to help assess your gut function. Functional medicine practitioners like Dr. Stephanie Daniel, Dr.. Mark Hyman, & Dr. Andrew Weil can effectively test and treat imbalances in your gut.
Great Article on Tummy Imbalance. Great Article on Probiotics.
TESTING YOUR GUT- $99 American Gut Project SD