Turns out the old saying ‘I feel it in my gut’ makes a lot of sense. The cells we are now finding in the gut tissue startlingly resemble the cells in the brain. What? Oh yes! You have a second brain in your belly.
As modern science continues to explore the extensive connections between the gut, the brain, and the immune system, one thing becomes only clearer: your health starts in your belly.
There are a lot of reasons why this is the case, and we’ll cover that. However, the main takeaway here is that most of us aren’t taking care of our gut the way we need to. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is leaving us microbially unbalanced and devoid of the right kind of bacteria – and I’m here to tell you how to fix that.
It’s long been known that certain bacteria in your intestines create environment that is essential to having a robust immune system. What scientists are discovering now, however, is that the improper distribution of gut bacteria is a material contributor to a myriad of diseases. The list of clinical conditions that align with a mistreated gut are staggering and span the entire spectrum of disease. With a bad gut, you can expect to be at risk for diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, fungus, and even cancer. Believe it or not, studies increasingly show that gut health is also linked to mental health and can be associated with ailments like depression, anxiety, psychosis, and even autism.
So now that we know all this, how are we responding to it as a society? The answer is poorly. The inclusion of gut-supporting foods rich in probiotic organisms is a rarity in American households. Most of us are content to eat processed food long after it has lost any nutritional value. That, along with poor bowel movements that I hear people suffer from every day, keeps your gut health from being where it needs to be. The good thing is there are foods you can eat to naturally keep your gut microbiome in check, and most of them taste great, in my opinion.
The right kind of food to eat for your gut health involves food with a lot of bacteria in it. Although that statement may be hard to accept, keep in mind that I am referring to the good kind of bacteria – the kind that’s essential for your health. Foods that are naturally high in probiotic organisms are fermented. Within the fermentation process that occurs in these foods, bacteria are consuming the sugars that are present. The result is a somewhat distinct sour flavor, recognizable in things such as sauerkraut, yogurt, raw cheese, kefir, kimchi, pickles, and kombucha. If you’re not eating any of these foods start now. If you are, eat some more.
Eating right can put your gut in line, but it’s important to be consistent. If you only eat probiotic foods once in a while, you’re likely not correcting your unbalanced gut microbiome. Ideally, fermented foods should be eaten daily. If you’re not a fan, then there’s another option. High quality, food-based probiotic supplements can be an easy choice for you if you hate eating anything fermented. Taking a probiotic supplement consistently can work wonders for someone who otherwise has a poor diet. If you don’t eat fermented foods, it is imperative you take a probiotic supplement regularly.
Maintaining overall health by eating fermented foods is great for preventive reasons, but sometimes doing so becomes medically critical. When you take antibiotics, they destroy the bacteria in your gut indiscriminately and can leave you wide open to infection – just after you got over your last infection! After a course of antibiotics, you absolutely must reseed your gut with good bacteria by eating fermented foods or taking a probiotic supplement. Neglecting to do so is playing with fire at a time when you are most at risk to get burned.
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of gut health in your overall health. And if you’re lost among the variety of supplements and healing methods that exist today, don’t hesitate to use my experience and expertise. Don’t do it alone. Do it with Dr. Inna. Because when you replace “i” with “we” – illness becomes wellness.