October 8, 2017
I read a great article in the Delaware News Journal yesterday all about our second brain.
"SAY WHAT?" (I can literally hear you thinking!)
And anyone who's ever attended any of my nutrition classes knows that I've been talking about the second brain (ie the gut) for a LOOOOOOONG time as have some of the most highly respected Functional, Holistic, and Integrative Medicine professionals like Dr Mark Hyman, Dr Michael Greger, and Dr Jonny Bowden (OK truth be told I learned about the second brain from them LOL.)
But what I loved most about the article was the implication that the relationship between a healthy digestive tract and our overall health is less and less frequently considered a "fringy" topic these days (YAY!!!)
Another point the article made (which I've also been saying for years) was that even mainstream medicine is now acknowledging how lifestyle trump's genetics every time...here's how.
1. We now know there's a direct connection between the diversity/abundance of gut bacteria and the overall health of the body.
2. And environment (including the chemicals we encounter, the food we eat, and even physical stress) has a huge impact on the gut's "flora and fauna."
3.So genetic predispositions are important but they don't necessarily define your health the way we thought they did even just a year or two ago!
Another point the article made (which I've also been saying for years...I literally jumped for joy yesterday when I saw it in print!) was that you can take probiotic supplements till you turn blue in the face but if you don't adjust your lifestyle your health will still suffer.
All that being said, here’s something that will probably blow your mind completely…a partial list of the chronic, systemic, inflammatory (in other words REALLY NASTY) conditions that are often linked to (or are at least aggravated by) weird gut bacterial balance:
· Acid reflux/heartburn
· Alzheimer’s disease
· Bipolar Disorder
· Celiac Disease
· Cirrhosis of the liver
· Crohn’s Disease
· Diabetes (Types 1 & 2)
· Grave’s Disease
· Hashimoto’s Disease
· Heart Disease
· High cholesterol
· High triglycerides
· Multiple Sclerosis
· Parkinson’s Disease
· Raynaud’s Disease
· Rheumatoid Arthritis
· Sjögren’s Syndrome
· Ulcerative Colitis
"How the heck is all that even POSSIBLE?" (I can literally hear you thinking again!)
So the following is a simplistic description of a creepy-sounding condition you’ve probably heard a lot of folks mention lately but most likely don’t understand: the dreaded “leaky gut”
1. Our digestive tracts haven't evolved much since we lived in caves but our farming and food manufacturing processes have shot light years ahead (just in the last 50 years alone.)
2. When we eat processed food (or even foods that are fractionated so they no longer resemble foods actually found in nature) the gut simply doesn't understand what it's encountering and becomes inflamed (or at least goes into overdrive just trying to figure out the easiest way to digest that Ritz cracker.)
3. When digestive inflammation goes on for too long it eventually becomes a chronic digestive condition (ever wonder why IBS is such a common diagnosis these days?)
4. Then your immune system gets overloaded (because it's working so hard to figure out what's going on in the gut) and becomes less effective at its most important jobs. In other words some immune system functions won't happen properly while others won't happen at all...the result is that inflammation essentially begins building up in other areas of the body.
Now go back to that crazy list and read it over once again...are you getting it now why many of the nation's top docs take the perspective that all major diseases are effectively the same at the beginning because the first step is simply inflammation in the gut???
So let's say you're suddenly very interested in the best (or at least the quickest) ways to create a better bacterial balance in your gut...how's that done exactly?
Well you certainly don’t have to be a Nutritional Counselor to know that no one ever got sick, sicker, or fat by eating too many carrots…that's just common sense, right? So I'm sure you're not surprised to hear another important point made by the News Journal article that a plant-based diet is one of the keys to maintaining healthy gut bacteria. Maryanne Carter, the director of Delaware Center for Health Promotion noted that "the diversity of nutrients" and "high fiber [in a plant-based diet] act as fuel to produce healthy bacteria."
And wait, remember how I say literally all the time that every major world health organization (including THE World Health Organization) now claim we should be eating 9-13 servings of fresh whole produce EVERY DAY?
So what if you want to eat more veggies but you either don’t know how to fit them all in (or you simply don’t like them?)
Of course I’d be happy to show you 100 ways to EASILY learn to like veggies but one way is to make them into smoothies! And I don’t just mean boring old strawberry & banana smoothies…we’re talking veggie smoothies that taste great (even by kid standards!)
So don’t miss my next Smoothie 101…you’ll taste tons of yummy stuff guaranteed to improve your “belly biology” while learning all about:
· Which blenders are best?
· Which veggies and fruits taste best together and why?
· How the heck do you keep veggies fresh for days in your fridge (including AVOCADOS...now THAT'S a toughie!!!)
· And which veggies should you always buy organic? (But did you know that some organic veggies are a WASTE of your hard-earned money?)
And class is right around the corner so don’t miss out: click here for more info or to sign up on my website or sign up on Facebook (click the “Class Schedule” button on the left and all will become clear.)
Photo courtesy of The second brain? How the gut plays a big role in health