Your brain is king, your gut queen of the land that is your body. Respect them.

Posted on October 20, 2009

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take care of your amazing body with proper gut health

take care of your amazing body with proper gut health

The human body is truly a wondrous thing! Truly! I’m right there with you in those moments when your body just won’t do what you want it to do, and that can be frustrating. What quickly banishes anger at myself for some tiny misfire in my body is the reminder that my body is doing a ridiculous amount of work absolutely perfectly. every. single. time.

Do you realize that 50% of your brain’s neurons are working just to keep your brain going? The other 50% takes care of the work in the rest of the body. Did you know your gut is only 2nd to your brain in the amount of neurons it has? Your gut!

I can’t stress it enough people, every part of your body is critically important, but next to your brain, your gut is the most important thing that you should care for to maintain lasting health long into your 80’s and beyond. Just as elders are encouraged to keep a circle of friends going & to do puzzles and brain-challenging stuff every day to keep Alzheimers’ and dementia at bay, we need to be doing daily stuff at every age to keep our gut health in check.

Why the gut? Much of your immunity is stored in your gut, many of the flora and bacteria needed for optimum survival is in the gut, and many of the “bad guy” bacteria lurks there as well, so the chance for things to go downhill quick for your health can come directly from an imbalanced gut & imbalanced diet that you put into that gut.

And ‘gut issues’ are running rampant in this country today…

…with antacids at every corner (btw, those only make your problems worse by creating more acid in the stomach- you shouldn’t take them)…

…pills to neutralize what’s going on in the stomach (which is NOT how you work to rebalance any issues going on in the stomach)…

…IBS diagnoses popping up left & right (which is only a catch-all name for something that some doctors cannot actually diagnose as a specific issue that actually is successfully treated by eastern medicine, naturopaths, and integrated medicine)…

…and fiber in the form of whole wheat being crammed down our throat & even the throats of our kids now with Fruit Loops marketing their new commercial at kids as a “high-fiber cereal” and the kids playing doctor, talking about how much healthier it is to get fiber in their sugary cereal…

Excuse me while I puke at all this stuff being crammed down our literal throats. You should know you actually can control alot more of your gut health WITHOUT pills than you even realize. In fact, if you hadn’t noticed by now in my blogging, I can’t stand most pills – either OTC or Rx – because they treat a symptom, very rarely will they treat the root of the issue. *So no one flips out about the necessity of things like antibiotics for those who are ill, yes, some pills are necessary at some times, but we still overmedicate by about a thousand-fold in this country.*

Here are a few things that can help keep a gut strong & healthy:

– Probiotics. And no, yogurt with bifidus regularis in it isn’t enough. Besides, those things have 17 g of sugar in a seriously tiny container. I’d rather get my sugar from something a little more substantial. Those thing also have chemicals in them, altering them from the original state that yogurt is supposed to come in. That’s why greek yogurt rules – it’s just about as close as you’ll get to the yogurt your great, great, grandparents ate, which means no junk.

  • Probiotics come in capsule form and quality ones are sold at health food & natural health stores. They deliver all the good strains of bacteria into the gut so that more of these good guys populate the gut and can fight off invaders from poor quality food, sickness that is floating around the office or playground, and keep the balance in the favor of good health. This truly can keep a HUGE number of problems at bay. You should have seen me before starting probiotics compared to now. It’s ridiculous how effective those are. Talk to your naturopath about what works best for your needs; if you need a referral to someone, contact me through the blog.
  • Usually people take them right before a meal, but if the gut is weak, it sometimes is recommended to take several more doses through the day to really push up the good bacteria.

-Digestive enzymes. These little buggers help break down the food that has been eaten. Most of us don’t have a healthy balance of these in our stomach, which means food and supplements are not being fully or properly digested & either that protein shake you’re taking in or those supplements you bought may not even be getting absorbed for use! In addition, food bits are not supposed to be making it into the small intestine for passage through the colon. Things are supposed to get broken down, used, and then what’s not used gets mashed up into a watery goo to go through the colon, harden up a bit as it travels, and well, you know where it all ends up. If you’re not breaking down & absorbing well, your body is not getting the right vitamins & minerals for optimal function in many many other areas of the body, all the way down to the cellular level.

  • Digestive enzymes also come in capsule form and are also usually taken just before a meal. They can also be found at natural food & health stores. Some are geared for help in digesting gluten, some for milk protein, and others are an all-around enzyme, which I like because you’re getting a full spectrum of support.
  • Having proper enzyme breakdown can change for the better the way people feel after eating, the way food feels as it is being digested, how much reflux (if any) comes up after the meal, and how much energy the body gains from that meal.

– High quality multi-vitamins. Think you don’t need a multi because you eat your fruits & veggies? Forget it, studies have proven that food today does not have the same nutritional value as it did 30 years ago, so you’re getting less vitamin C in every orange you eat today, then you would have gotten in decades past. This is due in large part to chemicals & pesticides being used in the growth process & because farmers have been forced to grow crops for quantity, not quality. You cannot have both quantity and quality when it comes to produce – either you make a ton of it and get the so-so finished product, or you make less overall product, but you get one helluva an orange, or tomato, or whatever. So is the “Men’s One-A-Day” good enough?….

  • Hate to break it to ya, the One-A-Day formulas just don’t cut it. You’ve heard some people argue that taking vitamins is just creating expensive pee because it passes right through you – well, if you’re taking a One-A-Day formula, then yes, that holds true. You are just peeing it out because One-A-Days 1)don’t have enough vitamins or minerals to meet your quota for the day & 2)are usually made in tablet form that they stomach juices cannot break down before it passes out of the stomach and into the intestine where it will no longer be absorbed for use.
  • Good multi-vitamins should be in capsule form as that is easiest for the body to break down.
  • They should also require that you take multiple capsules at different times of day so your body has the chance to get all the vitamins & minerals it needs. Usually, a high-quality multi will say to do 2 in the morning and 2 at night so there is a time-release effect happening. If you took all 4 at the same time out of convenience to you, your body is inconvenienced because it will be forced to send a few of the capsules through the system without absorbing or breaking them down because it can only handle so much at one time.
  • You can also find high-quality multis at your natural or health food store.

Your body is ridiculously awesome and like a ridiculously awesome German-engineered sports car, it doesn’t just take care of itself for 100,000+ miles. You have to maintain your body as it’s the only vehicle you’ll have for the duration of your life, and a little investment in your gut health goes a long way in your overall health.

*note: I’m not a doctor, so you should still strongly consider meeting with either a naturopath, chiropractor who treats holistically, or integrated physician if you have things like- indigestion/GERD, constipation, gas, diarrhea, a white film on your tongue, upset stomach, feeling very full or very hungry all the time, or unexplainable weight loss or gain.*

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Posted in: nutrition