Is Your Gut Healthy?

I thought I’d investigate more about the gut after a comment Rod said to me in our lunch break. It all started with a conversation between Rod and Narelle discussing a sauerkraut receipt. Rod said to Narelle, after letting the ingredients ferment make sure you let the gas out of the container before placing it into the fridge or the lid will explode. I commented that’s what cabbage does to me in my stomach. Rod laughed and said, that is why you need to eat the fermented version each day to balance your gut. After that I decided to investigate what he meant.

Within your gastrointestinal tract, there is a vast colony of intestinal microflora. This complex ecosystem contains over 400 bacterial species. Small amounts can be found in your stomach and small intestines, but the majority is found in your colon. The intestinal microflora aid in digestion, synthesise vitamins and nutrients, metabolise some medications, support the development and functioning of the gut, and enhance the immune system.

We know that our digestive tract needs a healthy balance between the good and the bad bacteria, so what gets in the way of this? Over our life time there are factors that effect this balance. Poor food choices, emotional stress, lack of sleep, antibiotic overuse, other drugs and environmental influences can all shift the balance in favor of the bad bacteria.

When the digestive tract is healthy, it filters out and eliminates things that can damage it, such as harmful bacteria, toxins, chemicals, and other waste products. On the flip side it takes in nutrients from food and water. The idea is to have a balance of good and bad bacteria. When the bad out weighs the good, our bodies are affected by symptoms of diarrhea, constipation, urinary tract infections, muscle pain, fatigue, ulcers and other disorders related to inflammatory bowel diseases, and one of the most important, it can affect our immune system. When our immune system is affected, we can suffer from a vast range of ailments, such as allergies, autoimmune disorders and infections. By maintaining the correct balance from birth, the hope would be to prevent these. It is never too late to help restore the balance in our gut.

We can do this by taking a manufactured supplement of probiotics, or you can try to add into your daily diet some foods which are naturally fermented to correct the balance. Some of these foods are sauerkraut, miso soup (fermented soybean), traditionally fermented yoghurt (not the stuff from Woollies), or kefir.

So why don’t you try and add one of these to your daily diet and see if your health improves, by correcting the bacteria in your gut. It can help with the following:

* Improve the digestion and absorption of essential vitamins and minerals.
* Relief from constipation, diarrhoea and inflammatory bowel diseases and ulcers.
* Regulation of blood pressure, blood sugar and cholestrol.
* Better regulation of the immune system and therefore an improvement in autoimmune disorders.
* Anti-ageing, antioxidant, natural antibotic and anti-stress action.

Look at how these supplements can improve your health. A small change in your diet may improve your life. And you might just avoid exploding after cabbage….

Lucy Corradi