So far with part 1 we learned that stress plays a significant role in challenging our digestive system and the fact that those who are gluten intolerant may actually be living with undiagnosed inflammation in their gastro intestinal tract, due to the consumption of gluten. This inflammation can lead to many challenges with digestion, immune function as well as adrenal insufficiency.
In part 2 we learned the importance of using a high quality digestive enzyme due to the lack of naturally occurring enzymes in many of our foods today.
Today, in part 3, we are going to discuss bacteria in your gut as well as suggesting a very simple, yet effective way, to assist your body in balancing your digestive system.
Let’s first talk about bacteria. Did you know that there is actually more bacteria in your gut than there are cells in your body. That is astounding and shows the importance of bacteria for an optimal functioning digestive system. Most of the time when you mention bacteria, a red flag goes up for most people because we have been taught that bacteria is bad and this is why we get sick.
It is important to recognize the difference between beneficial and detrimental bacteria. Detrimental bacteria are single celled microscopic organisms that are capable of exerting toxic effects on the digestive system. Our beneficial bacteria though, have a tremendous effect on allowing balance and function within your GI tract. An important understanding is to recognize the significance of allowing the proper ratio of detrimental to beneficial bacteria. Beneficial bacteria will comprise approximately 90% of the digestive tract in a healthy person while the other 10% is comprised of detrimental bacteria.
I believe that there are three main reasons for the lack of bacterial balance in our culture today. Number one is the simple fact that we do not consume raw fermented foods any more. Sure we will occasionally consume some yogurt or kefir from the local market and of course it mentions all the bacteria on the label for our benefit. What the label is not telling us though, is that once this product is pasteurized, the bacteria is killed and honestly, dead bacteria does not provide any benefit for us. In the history of humanity, we regularly consumed raw fermented foods with the benefit of significant quantities of beneficial bacteria. There are some individuals that consume their own naturally fermented foods that they produce at home, or they may have a contact with a raw food coop to purchase these foods. Unfortunately most do not make the time to ferment their own foods or do not have a source, or the financial means, of purchasing these healthy foods.
The other challenge is tied into our high stress life and poor diet. The unfortunate fact is that most of us, are chronically stressed, or we are making poor nutritional choices consistently. This will lead to an over-population of detrimental bacteria. The end result sadly, is the crowding out of the beneficial bacteria which creates a very unhealthy ratio of beneficial to detrimental bacteria.
There are some simple solutions though to improve this ratio. Of course you know that I am first going to mention the importance of reducing your stress and improving your nutritional choices. I would recommend reviewing the blog on Gluten Intolerance and Nutritional ID for this. Beyond these basic shifts, I would recommend that you take a high quality probiotic on a regular basis unless you are going to create a shift in your lifestyle choices by consuming raw fermented foods on a daily basis. Taking a probiotic has been shown to allow for improved balance within the GI tract which in turn will allow your body the ability to utilize your food and nutrients at a higher level. I will share that even though I have a very healthy digestive system, I take a probiotic on a daily basis.
The other benefit is tied into the fact that most of your immune system function originates in the GI tract, so any focus to create balance in the GI, has the ability to assist your body’s immune system function. Remember, a healthy digestive system generally leads to a healthier immune system.
One natural product that I suggest regularly with my Express Track to Health & Wellness program is Ultimate Aloe® Juice which is a rejuvenating tonic made from 100 percent aloe vera, 50 percent aloe concentrated powder, more than 200 nutrients, enzymes, vitamins and minerals, including 13 of the 17 essential minerals needed for good nutrition. The aloe concentrate is actually the aloe vera gel with the liquid removed to allow a lesser intake while maintaining the positive benefits of this rejuvenating plant. Studies have suggested that aloe, when consumed orally, imparts a wealth of health benefits, including aiding digestion and supporting the immune system.
If you are interested in purchasing the Ultimate Aloe® Juice feel free to visit www.marketamerica.com/vitalize or refer back to the newsletter where a link is provided for you.
To review all that has been discussed through our three part digestive series, “You Are NOT What You Eat”. Here are just some of life’s imbalances that lead to digestive difficulties:
• Chronic stress
• Gluten intolerance
• Lack of digestive enzyme activity
• Lack of beneficial bacteria
If you can address these you are on your way to allowing your body to balance the digestive system to assist in reaching your health and wellness goals.
Thank you for being a part of this three part series!
Please post any comments or questions as they are presented.