All Disease Begins in the Gut ~ Hippocrates
This statement was made over 2,000 years ago by the Father of Medicine and as we study the gut microbiota, we are finding that this is truer than ever.
So what does the gut have to do with disease and health? The short answer is ~ a lot. The long answer quite intricate, but it boils down to the fact that we have trillions of bacteria that reside in our bodies. In fact, there are 10 times more bacteria in our bodies than we have cells in our bodies. So the balance and types of bacteria we host in our bodies is extremely important.
When you look at the numbers, we have over 10 trillion cells in our bodies, so that means that we have over 100 trillion bacteria in our bodies. That’s astounding! What’s more astounding is the fact that the majority of them reside in our guts – so many that they actually contribute 3-5 pounds of our body weight. Think about that. That’s a lot of bacteria!
So what’s so significant about that? Scientists are finding out that bacteria can influence the ways our cells express themselves and how they communicate with each other. Different strains of bacteria in varying quantities affect your body differently. Bacteria are more intelligent that we realize. They have the ability to sense how many of their kind are around them and what other kinds of bacteria are present. Once they reach a “quorum” of their own kind, they can mount their own defenses against threats and function in specifics way that are in their innate programming. When you get a bacterial infection, you often feel very sick very quickly because once the bacteria have a certain quorum, they rapidly kick into action.
Then what does this have to do with health? And what are the implications of this? Again, the answer is ~ a lot. Since we are finding out that the bacteria in your gut have the ability to alter the way certain genes are expressed, we can alter that expression by altering the microbiota in the gut. What we once thought was a genetic roulette, may now be a factor we can change with the foods we eat, the supplements we take and the lifestyle choices we make. We can change the way our genes get activated. What was once thought to be risk factor may now be simply seen as genetic predispositions that we may be able to control. The rising field of epigenetics deals with these very issues.
This all makes sense. If we look back far enough (for some that may be one generation and others it may be many) to where our ancestors lived more simply and ate real food without sugar and with much less flour than we consume now, we find that the causes of death were much different. People weren’t dropping dead of the “diseases of modern civilization”, such as heart disease or cancer, especially in rural areas. They succumbed to old age, accidents or infections related to sanitation issues, such as lack of running water or sanitary toilets. Those who had easy access to processed foods had higher rates of the “diseases of modern civilization”. This may simply be access to sugar and refined flour.
Therefore, taking care of the gut is extremely important. Building up the good bacteria and limiting the bad bacteria is critical. There are several ways we can do this. First and foremost is to pay attention what we put in our mouths. Less refined foods, especially flours and sugars, and more good quality fats, proteins and vegetables promote health gut bacteria. Consuming fermented foods and beverages will also add to the health of the gut by increasing beneficial bacteria. Cutting out sugar, even natural sugars, also allows the good bacteria and yeasts to flourish which will naturally control the balance of your gut flora.
An overlooked aspect of gut health is stress ~ physical, emotional and mental. Therefore, slowing down and managing our stress, as well as minimizing physical stress through energizing activity and adequate restoration (rest and relaxation), maximizes our body’s balance.
Making the proper lifestyle choices can be challenging. It is easy to think that your actions won’t matter. Sometimes, we all need support in making positive changes, even when we know they are right.
In order to help you, I have a 14-Day Take OWNERSHIP Challenge, a REAL food and wellness coaching and cleanse program. It gently guides you back into balance with food, fermented beverages and lifestyle changes through intense email support and conference calls. I am offering complimentary coaching sessions to follow-up the program through the New Year......ALL the way through 2016. The next session begins on January 25 to help you lead off your New Year well after reassessing your resolutions. I plan to offer this every month and if you register in January, you will receive the year long coaching bonus also! I encourage you to join me in Taking OWNERSHIP of your health and your life. Find out more about the program HERE and if you’d prefer one-on-one work, consider my coaching or consulting services. Either way, make the right changes for yourself, get your gut into balance and live your life abundantly!
To Your Health and Wealth!