Two thousand years ago Hippocrates said, “All disease begins in the guts”, summarizing an idea that’s just as true today as it was back then. Our body is an amazing organism that works very well on its own, but only does so when not compromised by outside forces.. In many oriental studies of medicine diseases are linked to your guts and it has been shown that if the flora is restored the body will recover. Today, too, many holistic practitioners, chiropractors, and nutritionists understand this principle and focus on healing that system in their prescribed therapies. During my studies at the Integrative Institute of Nutrition this topic intrigued me and I wanted to learn more. Here’s what I found out.
When you speak about gut flora, people tend to understand it only to a certain extent, but most can’t see the big picture. Our gastrointestinal system constitutes about 70% of your immune system. What does this system do? In simple words, it protects our body from getting sick and fights off invaders. When our gut works properly it breaks down the food we eat and converts it into short-chain fatty acids. These acids are essential for insulin sensitivity and increase of mitochondrial. Unfortunately this perfect balance tends to get disrupted, leaving us susceptible to autoimmune diseases, diabetes, leaky gut syndrome, and autism.
Here are 5 tips to keep your guts in good health:
- Start fresh
When you start a new diet the first thing to do is to begin with a clean slate. This might seem like the hardest part but when we talk about the gut you need to change your diet to make it heal. This means cleaning your system from food which makes you feel bloated, irritated, or heavy. For example, start by ridding your diet of gluten, dairies, processed food, and refined sugars; and replacing them with dark-green leafy vegetables, limited organic and grass-fed animal proteins, and pasture raised eggs.
- Feed on probiotic foods
Probiotics improve your intestinal system with live microbes that balance your guts. These bacteria cultures can be found in any health store and should be stored in the fridge to keep them alive. Together with probiotics there are a variety of foods that help the gut system; a few of my favorites include sauerkraut, miso and yogurt.
- Love your broth
Making broth is an ancient tradition that our ancestors used a lot when people got sick. I believe in the importance of older remedies. Studies and doctors have shown the benefits of this liquid. Dr Frank Lipman is fond of the healing power of bone. This golden liquid can be used for soups, stews, and legumes and doesn’t only taste delicious, but also improves the immune system, gives your guts many of the minerals it needs, reduces inflammation, and brings your guts both health and nourishment. In NYC trendy new shops like Brodo are offering bone broth substitute for your morning coffee!
- Coconut oil love
Many people with gut problems use coconut oil, since some of the causes of it are candida, fungi, parasites, viruses or microorganism that invaded the system. This oil is not only sweet and delicious but has antiviral effects and its acids and its fats are beneficial for the guts and its recovery.
- Stress and lack of sleep are enemies
Harvard Health Publication linked stress to gastrointestinal system problems, stating that these two systems work in symbiosis and it’s difficult to cure one without the other. Many stressed people sleep very little, which is crucial to restore and recharge your body. A minimum of 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep is what a human needs.