Sick Of Getting Sick?
Research shows that as much as 85 percent of the immune system lies in the gut (Campbell-McBride, 2010). How can that be? Isn’t the gut just a part of our digestive system? No. The gut is home to over 100 trillion bacteria and 70 percent of the body’s immune cells. Poor digestion and poor gut health leads to a weak immune system, chronic illness, and disease.
The term dysbiosis refers to a state of imbalance among colonies of microorganisms. This imbalance of good and bad bacteria is where most disease begins. Over 2,000 years ago, Hippocrates said, “all disease begins in the gut.” (And he was right.)
Causes of poor gut health
Poor Diet. An overgrowth of fungus and yeast (bad bacteria) is caused by consuming a diet that is high in refined carbohydrates and sugar. Sugar is what feeds bad bacteria. Remember that starches including grains, fruit, starchy vegetables, and lactose get broken down as sugar! Not surprisingly, eating a diet high in carbohydrates has been shown to lead to poor gut health. Food intolerances or sensitivities also contribute to an unhealthy gut. Check this out: http://www.lorisian.com/food-intolerance-explained/
Stress. Chronic stress elevates stress hormones (cortisol) that wreak havoc on your immunity, making you more susceptible to an imbalance in gut flora. Also, during periods of high stress, blood flow to the gut decreases as we’re in a “fight or flight” mode. Historically speaking, when the hunter/gatherer was being chased by a lion, digestion became unimportant for survival needs and blood supply to the gut was shut down.
Antibiotics. There are certain times when antibiotics may be necessary, but for the most part, antibiotics are being entirely over prescribed. Antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria in the gut. When we kill the good bacteria within our gut, our immune system gets wiped out. This imbalance in bacteria immediately becomes the perfect breeding ground for candida, a bad bacteria that runs down the immune system and often leads to autoimmune diseases.
NSAIDs. The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Advil, Ibuprofen, Aleve, Motrin, Excedrin, and Aspirin) inhibits growth of healthy bacteria and causes leaky gut. Leaky gut occurs when the intestinal barrier becomes permeable (i.e. “leaky gut syndrome”) and large protein molecules escape into the bloodstream, causing an immune system reaction.
Recommendations for treating poor gut health
Eat a diet high in vegetables (fiber), protein, and healthy fats
Decrease and manage stress
Eliminate sugar and simple carbohydrates
Decrease use of antibiotics and other pain medications
Replenish the good bacteria by taking a probiotic
Eat a few servings of fermented foods (like sauerkraut or Kombucha) every day: fermented foods are loaded with good bacteria
Eat more coconut oil: it’s a very powerful anti-bacterial and helps manage candida production