How to Safeguard your Gut Health

AzimaWellness Talk 7/2017

How to safeguard your Gut Health

In our continuing series on know thyself, we discussed in article 5/2017 that the gut is very critical in human life. It comprises many tissues and organs all with unique roles to play in the digestion and absorption of what we eat and drink.

The organs that play crucial roles in the digestive process include the stomach, pancreas, gall bladder, liver and the small and large intestines. The gut is incomplete without microbiome which as we discussed earlier is a community of microscopic organisms. We have more than 500 known species of microbiomes which are largely made of bacteria. Each person alive carries around 10-100 trillion microbes within the body. They are mostly concentrated within the digestive tract but some are found in the mouth and the nasal cavity.

Another major role of our gut bacteria besides digesting food is in regulation of our immune system. It is on record that 80% of all diseases originate from the gut.

The gut is also considered to be the second brain (this is why talk of trusting our gut feeling means making the right choices ) The gut is host to millions of neurons along the inside walls that release important chemical messengers known as neurochemicals or neurotransmitters.

This allows the gut to keep in close contact with the brain and influence our moods and emotions. It explains why some foods enhance our mood soon after we consume them. The opposite is also true. Our gut bacteria play a key role in the production of certain neurotransmitters such as serotonin which is manufactured in the gut (also known as ‘happy hormone’)

It is important to note that we have unique microbiome like we do with fingerprints. The quality of our microbiome is influenced by a wide variety of foods , toxins and other substances. Major enemies of our gut bacteria include antibiotics, a poor diet high in sugars, stress, toxins and chemical exposure.

The antibiotics that we commonly use to treat some types of bacterial infections in the body also kill the good bacteria because they cannot differentiate them. Constant use of antibiotics may wipe out the good bacteria as well.

Sugar is inflammatory and affects the lining of our digestive system where a lot of our microbiome live. Stress can also change the number and diversity of our gut bacteria, which in turn weakens the immune system.

To improve your gut health, start with your diet. Reduce or cut out refined sugars, artificial sweeteners and processed foods. These will reduce inflammation and thenceforth reduce damage to your gut bacteria.

Ensure to consume a wide variety of fruits and fresh vegetables in your diet. They are good sources of soluble fibre which are very important for feeding the good bacteria. Other high fibre foods include beans and pulses such as chicken peas, lentils, wholegrain bread, brown or whole grain rice, nuts, seeds, oats and sweet potatoes. Fermented foods like kimchi and natural yogurt have many friendly benefits to the gut flora

It is advisable that we choose wisely what we send to the gut at all times. We should not eat for satiety or to excite our taste glands. The food we eat supply our cells, the micro-organisms and the brain with the nutrients they require to keep us alive

In the next article, we will examine in details the nutrients each organ in our body require to carry out the daily functions and the energy to power the systems that keep us alive

Kindly keep it here and put to use the knowledge we share for a more radiant living.

Your wellness is our concern

Maina Azimio

Founder and CEO

Azima Wellness Consultants Ltd and

Corporate Trainer in Total Wellness

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