Good health is the foundation of everything you do in life and especially for making positive changes.
Think of it. When already dealing with physical, mental and emotional challenges, it will be very difficult to take on another challenge such as changing an aspect of life we don’t feel happy with.
To improve and maintain good health, we have three tools to our disposal; healthy nutrition, safe and effective exercising and keeping a state of relaxed awareness to notice, welcome and accommodate all the events that come on our path every day.
This Blog is the first in a series of four in which I will talk about the role each of the three tools plays in our overall health and how they relate to each other.
This first blog is about healthy nutrition. The next blog will be about safe and effective exercising, the third about brain health and in the fourth blog, I will bring it all together.
For this first blog about healthy nutrition, I would like to look at the area of our body where what we eat and drink ends up in the first place which is our gut.
Our gut is a very special and delicate area of our body for two main reasons.
The first reason is that it harbors our Enteric Nervous System or second brain. It is formed from the same tissue as our Central Nervous System during fetal development. Both are connected through a nerve that serves as the primary channel of information between the hundreds of millions of nerve cells in the Enteric Nervous System and the Central Nervous System.
The second reason is that our gut and intestinal walls are colonized by trillions of bacteria and other microbes, collectively called our microbiome or gut flora. Each microbe contains its own DNA, and we interact with these organisms and their genetic material. Because the state of the microbiome is so key to human health, it can be considered as an organ of itself, as vital to health as our heart, lungs, liver and brain.
We have a very close relationship with these microbial inhabitants. They have participated in shaping our evolution and have lived on the planet for billions of years before our emergence.
Here are eight points that explain the important role our microbiome in our gut and on the intestinal walls;
- They help in the digestion and absorption of what we eat and drink
- They form barriers against potential invaders such as bad bacteria, harmful viruses and parasites
- They work as a detoxification machine; a second liver.
- Influence the immune system response; the gut is the biggest immune system organ.
- Produce and release important enzymes, chemicals for the brain, including vitamins and about 90% of the happiness neurotransmitter serotonin.
- Help handle stress through its effects on your hormonal system
- Assist in getting a good night’s sleep
- Help control the body’s inflammatory pathways, which in turn affect risk for virtually all manner of chronic disease.
Think a moment about what can happen if our microbiome can’t do its work properly.
With all the research that has been done, it is clear that our belly bugs play an important role in whether we are fat or thin, experience allergies, asthma, ADHD, cancer, diabetes or dementia. Our gut flora impacts our mood, libido, metabolism, immunity, whether we feel energetic or lethargic and even how we perceive the world and the clarity of our thoughts.
Hippocrates knew what he was talking about when he said: “all disease begins in the gut”.
The Russian biologist and Nobel Prize winner Elie Mechnikov was pretty clear too when she stated: “death begins in the colon”.
If you want to improve and maintain health, you need to take care of your microbiome in the first place, meaning that you need to eat food that is biologically correct, ready for your gut bacteria to work with and thrive on.
What our belly bugs or microbiome don’t like:
- Chemicals present in processed food such as preservatives, emulsifiers, taste enhancers and colorings
- Sugar because it turns good belly bugs into bad belly bugs
- Gluten, present in grains because it damages your microbiome
- Chlorinated tap water
- Antibiotics either from the meat or medication
- GMOs or Genetically Modified Organisms. GMOs have been developed to produce pesticide within their own tissues or become herbicide- and/or pesticide-resistant to withstand direct application of pesticides. These chemicals leave traces of its residue on the food we eat which in turn harms our microbiome.
The best advice I can give to support your health is to eat organically produced whole food; food that is produced without the use of GMOs, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones and with respect for the environment.
If you have a hard time finding organically produced fruits and veggies, then at least stay away from the most harmful ones as listed on the “dirty dozen”. You can read more information when you follow this link (opens in a new window)
And if you want to eat meat; no compromises here. Find a local farm that can provide you with meat free of antibiotics and hormones. Period.
Organic food may be more expensive, but you can work around that by looking for promotions. And by the way, did you price cancer lately?
The big take away; if you take care of your belly bugs with healthy nutrition, your belly bugs will take care of you.
Paying for eating low-quality food with suffering health and low energy and then trying to repair that with painkillers and other forms of medication looks like grabbing a hammer, hitting your thumb and then managing the consequences with bandages, painkillers and avoiding the use that part of your body for a while.
We can do better than that. Here’s to making wise choices that improve our health, that improve our lives, that help to improve the life of others, and eventually contribute to making the world a better place for everybody.
If you want to hear me talk more about this and find out how you and your audience can benefit? Follow this link, scroll down on the page, send me a message and let’s start a conversation.
I look forward to talking to you soon.