Your gut is home to trillions of bacteria that help fight disease, produce nutrients and, of course, process your food. You actually have much more bacteria in your gut as compared to the cells in your entire body! These little guys can prove to be of vital importance and they depend on you for allowing them to do their job. Whatever you eat, drink and even think, can affect your gut immensely. Those bacteria can either help or destroy your overall health, depending on what you choose to eat and do.
Balance Is Important
When your gut is at its best, you will have about 80-85 percent of friendly bacteria and around 15-20 percent of the bad guys. At this point, you energy level will be high, your body will feel strong and you’ll rarely get sick and you’ll leave the bathroom as a fully satisfied person! All your little friends will be doing their job aiding digestion, warding off the bad bacteria and producing antibodies, hormones, nutrients and vitamins.
But as soon as the bad guys get an upper hand, they will wreak havoc in your system. They are famous for providing blockages which can cause inflammation and infection, which can further lead to more serious problems like allergies, depression, candida, constipation, arthritis, headaches, autoimmune disease and many more.
Everything you throw down your throat will be processed by your gut. It will determine whether to have it absorbed into your body or be eliminated. It also completes the task of digesting your food and squeezing out all the vitamins and minerals out of the food so that they can be absorbed into the bloodstream.
And that’s not all, your gut can detect any invaders which may include toxins, viruses, allergens or microbes that could harm any aspect of your health. After detection, it moves them to your digestive system so that they are excreted as soon as possible.
How can you help?
Medicines, more specifically antibiotics and antacids, other chemicals, environmental toxins, illness and even stress can greatly affect the ratio of your good-bad bacteria. When bacteria are wiped out without reason, the bad guys take advantage and multiply, making it difficult for the good bacteria to come back on top, that’s where the chronic health issues enter.
You can help your gut in helping you out by:
• Feeding your body plant-based, nutrient dense whole foods
• Maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes less stress, less exposure to toxins, sufficient rest and increased exercise. This will support the good bacteria and keep the harmful bacteria under control.
• For gut disorders and health problems, seek a more natural approach before consuming drugs that may harm the delicate balance in your digestive system.
Basically, you need your gut and your gut needs you. Healthy bacteria need to thrive and keep its numbers high to keep the harmful bacteria at bay. So make sure you eat good food and physically keep yourself fit so your gut doesn’t have an excuse to let you down.
Call our clinic if you’d like to find out more about our testing and health programs related to digestive problems. I have a “gut feeling” you will be glad you did!
Dr. Shah, MD