Functions of Gut Health

As we’ve discussed in the previous weeks, what you eat builds the foundation for good gut health.  This comes from fiber-rich vegetables, legumes, grains, and low-sugar fruits, as well as a good source of probiotics from fermented foods.

What you may not know is that your gut houses 70% of the cells that make up your immune system.  We may not immediately think of digestive problems with allergies, arthiritis, autoimmune diseases, mood disorders, cancers, or other conditions as being related in any way to gut problems but they have a direct correlation.

Consider the important tasks your gut is constantly performing: breaking down food, absorbing nutrients, keeping out toxins and producing nutrients.  For optimal immunity, detoxification and nourishment your gut must function properly.

Certain things that may knock off our digestive balance:
1. A nutrient-lacking diet inhibits proper bacterial growth
2. Medication use: Chronic use of anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, acid blocking drugs and steroids can damage the gut and/or block normal digestive function.
3. Infections: these include small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, yeast overgrowth and parasites
4. Inadequate digestive enzymes: stress, acid-blocking medications and zinc deficiencies can all contribute to lack of adequate digestive enzyme function
5. Stress: chronic stress can alter the gut nervous system, changing the normal bacteria in the gut.

To rebuild a healthy gut flora, focus on thde following:
1. Fermented foods high in probiotics such as yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut
2. Prebiotic foods such as onions, asparagus, green leafy vegetables, apples, oats, and chicory.
3. Whole grains which contain non-digestible fibers such as beta-glucan.
4. Eat foods high in polyphenols.  Polyphenols are plant compounds that have many health benefits, including reductions in blood pressure, inflammation, cholesterol levels and oxidative stress.

 

Come see our Wellness Staff for more information! Image result for gut flora