Your gut is just responsible for digesting your food, right?
Researchers are becoming more and more aware of the powerful connection between your gut and, well, a lot.
Sure, it’s always been known that certain conditions are inherently linked to your gut, such as:
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Acid reflux
- Ulcerative colitis
- Crohn’s disease
- Celiac disease
- Among others
But with the rise of modern science, we’re discovering that more and more seemingly unlikely health conditions can be directly linked with poor gut health as well.
- Skin conditions, such as acne
- Autoimmune conditions, such as autoimmune hepatitis
This means the allopathic method of disease identification, where a health problem is identified by the area it affects, is starting to become outdated.
Asthma, for example, was considered a lung problem because it affects the lungs, and acne a skin problem because it affects the skin.
This isn’t entirely wrong, but it’s also incomplete.
Sometimes, health issues have to do with the place where they’re located in the body, like lung cancer in a lifetime smoker, for example.
But your entire body is connected.
Treating a problem located in your lungs as a lung issue means you may miss the issues in other parts of your body which may be contributing to the problem.
I’m Dr. Maria Cavallazzi, naturopathic doctor at the Mindful Healing Integrative Naturopathy Clinic and today I’d like about the incredible importance of your gut and what you can do to go about improving yours.
Why Is Your Gut So Important For Your Health?
Your gut is filled with trillions of microscopic organisms of an incredibly diverse nature.
According to a 2014 paper published in Cell Host and Microbe, there are over 1000 different species of microorganisms in your gut.
In the broadest sense of the word, these are “germs”, but they’re not like the germs you want to get rid of when you wash your hands.
Those types of germs get you sick and can be eradicated with antibiotics.
Instead, these bacteria provide your body with a variety of essential uses, such as:
- Digestive system support
- Immune system health
- Regulation of your brain health
Each of these functions is important enough that you would have a difficult time if you were to lose any single one of them.
For instance, poor immune system health can lead to frequent, severe infection.
Meanwhile, poor brain health may lead to cognitive dysfunction and disorders like dementia.
So, you can see how important the health of your gut is.
It has the potential to affect your whole body.
What Makes Your Gut Unhealthy?
Modern medicine has provided us with plenty of groundbreaking discoveries.
For instance, the development of antibiotics has directly led to the eradication of certain contagious diseases, such as smallpox.
Nonetheless, medical advances often come with certain drawbacks.
Again, antibiotics provide an excellent example of this.
When you take an antibiotic to fight off a disease, you’re essentially dropping a carpet bomb on your entire system.
Yes, it may take care of the harmful bacteria in your body, but it will take out a lot of your friendly bacteria as well.
And since we already talked about how important those bacteria are, we can see the damage an unhealthy gut can cause.
At The Mindful Healing Clinic, we can advise you on how to recover from a round of antibiotics, but this process is made a bit harder if your gut health was already struggling prior to taking antibiotics.
So, what can you do to improve your gut health?
Below, you’ll find three tips on how to improve the health of your gut.
1. Eat A Fibre Rich Diet
Fibre is an important part of keeping your gut healthy.
According to a 2013 study by Joanne Slavin, dietary fibre plays a role in the production of the healthy bacteria in your gut.
Despite this, your body can’t actually digest fibre on its own.
That’s where your healthy gut bacteria step in.
So, by providing them with the nutrients they need, they can continue to work for you.
As a general rule, eating a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, and beans will provide you with enough dietary fibre.
But if you’re looking to add some extra fibre into your diet, try eating plenty of the following foods:
- Whole grains
2. Eat Fermented Foods
Fermented foods are foods that have gone through a process called lacto fermentation.
During this process, bacteria feed on the sugars and starches in the food, creating a substance called lactic acid in the process.
This helps preserve it, which is why sauerkraut lasts a whole lot longer than regular cabbage.
Some of the most common fermented foods include:
3. Limit Your Consumption Of Alcohol And Sugar
Of course, there are some fermented foods that should only be consumed in moderation.
Alcohol provides a perfect example.
You might not think of alcohol as a fermented food but take a moment to think about the process of creating it.
The process of creating beer, for example, relies on many of the same processes as creating sauerkraut.
After all, it’s essentially fermented barley.
The same can be said of certain artificial sugars, including fructose and corn syrup.
These types of sugars are fermented through yeast.
But unlike sauerkraut, excessive alcohol and sugar consumption can lead to some pretty serious health issues.
For instance, excessive alcohol consumption has been linked to a condition known as leaky gut syndrome which causes the boundary between your gut and the rest of your body begins to leak.
This means all sorts of things which are good for you when they’re found within your gut can escape, where they start to create side effects.
Additionally, 2012 study by Hartmann et al. argues that poor gut health, such as that seen in leaky gut syndrome, plays a role in the development and severity of alcoholic liver disease.
Give us a call at The Mindful Clinic if you think you could be living with leaky gut syndrome.
For now, it’s helpful to limit your consumption of alcohol and sugar to help avoid developing leaky gut syndrome as well as improve the overall health of your gut.
Book Your Appointment With The Mindful Healing Clinic Today
Are you experiencing one of the conditions listed above?
Do you believe you may be suffering from poor gut health?
If so, contact Dr. Maria at the Mindful Healing Clinic to book your FREE health and wellness session.
You’ll get a chance to sit down with Dr. Maria and get all your questions answered.
From there, Dr. Maria will listen to your concerns and help you understand a treatment plan to address these issues and get you feeling healthy again.
Book your appointment with The Mindful Healing Clinic today to address your gut health and start feeling your best.
Until next time,
Dr. Maria Cavallazzi is a medical doctor from Colombia where she practiced as a family physician for 8 years until she moved to Canada 16 years ago and became a naturopathic doctor in Mississauga.