The importance of your gut health
I did not realize the true importance of the gut in our overall health and wellbeing.
Over 2000 years ago, Hippocrates said, “All disease begins in the gut.” He knew it way back then and we are just coming around to understanding how important it is in our lives now.
About 60-80% of our immune system is found in our gut. The gut is literally the center of our health.
So, it would make logical sense to protect it and treat it with utmost respect, wouldn’t it?
But many don’t and don’t even realize that they’re hurting themselves. I know I didn’t. Not taking care of gut health can lead to something called Leaky gut.
What is Leaky Gut Syndrome
A leaky gut means that something (bacteria, toxins, and undigested food) has entered the sterile blood system through a damaged intestinal wall.
The body reacts and goes on the attack to get rid of these foreign substances that have “leaked through” the protection barrier, the intestinal wall.
Oftentimes someone with a leaky gut will have inflammation throughout the body. You may not see the inflammation because it’s internal.
You may see weight starting to come on and are not able to get rid of it. This could be because of a leaky gut.
Your digestive tract is not processing food the way it is designed to.
How does someone get a leaky gut?
Someone gets a leaky gut due to 1) toxins entering the bloodstream or 2) not enough essential nutrients make it through to the bloodstream.
How do toxins enter the bloodstream
The intestinal wall is like a net protecting what is transferred into the gut to continue with the digestive process.
When the intestinal lining becomes damaged (intestinal permeability) it becomes overly porous and holes develop. When this happens, toxins are now able to pass through into the sterile bloodstream.
Toxins could be undigested food particles from not chewing food enough, gluten, toxic waste products that have been breathed in from your surroundings and bad bacteria.
When toxins invade something sterile, a fight ensues. The body fights to protect itself. Thus, your health starts to decline.
Why don’t enough essential nutrients make it through to the bloodstream?
When your body goes into fight mode inflammation can occur throughout the body.
When the intestinal wall is inflamed, the smaller nutrients that the body needs are no longer able to get into the bloodstream. Now you have a nutrient deficiency.
What causes a leaky gut?
A number of factors can contribute to a leaky gut and it can happen quickly.
- Poor diet ….. added sugars, GMO’s, refined oils, synthetic food additives and conventional dairy products.
- Not enough fiber…. Fiber feeds gut “good” bacteria which make healing chemicals for the cells and immune system. This helps ward off inflammation.
- Toxin overload….. high use of medications and alcohol consumption, tap water, pesticides, cleaning products
- NSAIDS…it is thought that medications can cause holes in the intestinal lining
- Bacterial imbalance (dysbiosis)…..our gut needs good bacteria and bad bacteria to work properly
- High Stress
- Lack of sleep
- Virus or infection
- Food Allergies
- Large consumption of alcohol
- Large meals overwhelms your digestive system
- Incomplete chewing…this allows larger then normal proteins into the bloodstream
How do I know if I have a leaky gut??
There are a number of symptoms, or disorders, that have been linked to a leaky gut.
Some of the symptoms, or disorders, could be:
- Brain fog
- Skin problems
- Joint pain
- Chronic pain
- Autoimmune disease
- Seasonal allergies
- Constant fatigue
- Unexplained weight gain
How can I heal my gut
Just like a leaky gut can happen quickly, it can also heal quickly with proper care.
From the list above, probably the easiest one to address and modify would be the diet.
- You can get an allergy, or food sensitivity test. Many have found that they have a gluten intolerance.
- Once you determine what you can’t have, make a list of what is good and has the nutrients your body needs. If you don’t know how to do this, reach out to a nutritionist or holistic practitioner.
- Keep your blood sugar balanced. In order to have a stabilized blood sugar you need to eat regularly enough to avoid those energy crashes. Watch the added sugars and carbohydrates in your diet because that can increase your sugar levels.
- Regular exercise is also vital to stabilizing blood sugar and promoting a healthy gut.
- As a woman make sure you are getting at least 25 grams of fiber a day.
- Remove ultra-processed foods. They are low in fiber, high in fat and often contain chemical additives. This combination can harm healthy bacterial growth
- It may be necessary to add supplements into your routine, as well. For a list of suggested ones, you can click here
- Fermented foods and probiotic foods can help heal a leaky gut
- Pickles, flaxseed and artichokes are a few examples of fermented foods and kefir, yogurt and kombucha are great probiotics to consume.
It is important to note that the term “leaky gut syndrome” is not recognized as a “medical” condition. However, every day more and more scientific research is being done.
Leaky gut syndrome could lead to other digestive health issues, so it is important to address. If you speak to your family doctor and they aren’t helpful, continue to search. Check out nutritionist and holistic practitioners.
Our gut helps determine how we feel physically and mentally, most days. It is so important to honor it and provide it what it needs.
If you are a midlife woman pursuing optimal living with your mind, body and soul, come join others in our private facegroup group.
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