For this read, we thought we would focus on the gut and its inner eco system and how you can keep it healthy, which could possibly be the single most important thing you can do to keep yourself and your family in the best of health.

Most top health professionals today agree that good health starts in the gut; this is after all where more than 75% of our body’s immune system lies. Everything we eat and drink passes through our gut, which is host to millions of bacteria, some good some bad, whilst others are simply neutral. Some bacteria colonise in the gut, whilst others are transient, or ‘just passing through’ and together they form a hugely complex ecosystem, comprising of more than 1,000 species of bacteria.

When well balanced, which would be a ratio of around 85% ‘good’ bacteria, normal gastrointestinal function is promoted, the metabolism regulated and the body is protected from infection.

However, the delicate balance of our inner eco system is easily disrupted and with a decline of healthy bacteria, the gut has an overgrowth of yeast (candida). This wreaks havoc on our health and can cause a huge host of health problems ranging from low energy, obesity, malabsorbtion and even Leaky Gut. This in turn can lead to a whole host of other illnesses such as chronic fatigue, autoimmune diseases, allergies, autism spectrum disorders and even certain types of cancer.

These disruptions may be caused by quite a few factors, but the general consensus seems to be –

  • A diet high in processed and sugar-laden foods
  • Pesticides
  • Vaccinations
  • Antibiotics – the seemingly main culprit

It might be interesting here to have a look at what ’antibiotic’ actually means. ‘Anti’, as a prefix, means ‘fighting’ or ‘opposing’, or ‘killing’ and ‘biotic’ comes from the Greek word ‘ bios’ meaning ‘life’. So the word antibiotic means life-killing and as Doug Kaufman (M.D) and co-author of an excellent book ‘The Fungus Link ‘and a really interesting article cited below, states that ‘antibiotics are poisons that are used to kill’, and while many people have benefitted and continue to benefit and even live thanks to antibiotics, misuse and overuse can have the opposite effect.

Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride, an extremely highly regarded Neurologist and author of the greatly acclaimed books, ‘Gut and Psychology Syndrome’ and ‘Put your heart in your Mouth’, who also places the blame on the discovery of Antibiotics for the altering and decline of our gut flora, explains that while the antibiotics are killing the bacteria that are causing whatever infection is present, they are also killing the healthy, friendly, bacteria in our gut that make up our immune system. As she states...

So now, how can we ensure that our gut remains healthy?

One sure way to keep a healthy gut flora is to ensure we eat a diet high in fermented foods and probiotics (‘pro’ meaning ‘for’ and again ‘biotic’ means life)

Most foods can be fermented, with many people favouring fermented vegetables (recipe to follow shortly) and there are also many fermented beverages and yogurts available, though making your own would certainly get the most bacteria into your gut. We make kefir daily at home* and between this and the fermented veggies, you can ensure healthy, live bacteria in every meal.

We also drink kefir, eat it as a yoghurt with breakfast, use it in salad dressings, put it in our green smoothies and even make a ‘ricotta cheese’ out of it! Recipes and ideas coming soon.

You can also take a probiotic supplement, there are many available on the market, just ensure you do your research well and get a good one.

And last but certainly not least, we have to mention the importance of a diet high in raw veggies and fruit, which also help your gut thanks to the fibre and enzymes found in them.

So, here’s to a healthier gut and a healthier you!

Sources

  • The Body Ecology Diet - Donna Gates
  • http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2003/06/18/antibiotics-bacteria.aspx
  • http://www.doctor-natasha.com/dr-natasha.php
  • http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/07/31/dr-natasha-campbell-mcbride-on-gaps-nutritional-program.aspx
  • http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/autoimmune-diseases
  • http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/2010/01/good-bacteria-prime-immune-system/
  • http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/060112p58.shtml