Gut Health: Why You Should Give a Crap (Pun Intended)
Yogurts….. Probiotics…… Fermented Foods……Prebiotics…….
What’s all the fuss about gut health these days? Why should we care what our digestive systems are up to?
We learn in school that our digestive system takes the food we eat and breaks it down in order for our bodies to use the nutrients for energy, repair, etc. That’s pretty much where the story begins and ends: We eat food and our body turns it into poop and pee.
But there is MUCH more to the story. The health of our guts involves every other organ system in our body! For example, in our large intestine there are millions of tiny pockets (those with diverticulitis know this) that are home to billions of microorganisms and bacteria that fight infection. By the numbers, these little folds comprise 75% of our overall immune cells….
That’s kind of a big deal!
If our guts are not doing their jobs, we cannot absorb the nutrients we need from our food. Similarly, if we’re not eating the foods that our guts need, they’ll get weak just like everything else in our body that needs upkeep and we’ll start to notice symptoms.
Here are some signs and symptoms we see in ur office frequently that indicate you are dealing with an unhealthy gut:
- Digestive issues like bloating, diarrhea, constitution, excessive gas…
- Sugar cravings
- Bad breath
- Food allergies/sensitivities
- When our intestines are weakened, the smooth muscle of our organs start to deteriorate and create gaps or holes in the lining. This allows larger particles to get through to our blood that wouldn’t normally be allowed through. If your body doesn’t recognize something… it attacks it = allergies.
- Moodiness, mental clarity, depression, anxiety
- What?! You read correctly! New research suggests that up to 70% of our serotonin levels (the happy hormone) is found in our gut!! Sad guts=sad brain
- Skin issues like acne, eczema and dermatitis
- Autoimmune disorders or weakened immunity
- ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorders
SCIENCE: Have you ever heard of the gut being the second brain? Or that there’s a gut- brain connection. If you haven’t, Google the Vagus Nerve.
The Vagus Nerve starts at the stem of our brains and wanders its way through our bodies. The importance of this nerve is that it controls things like the steadiness of our heartbeat, the movements of our bowels, veins, arteries, and about 80% of every sensory sensation we experience (touch, sight, sound, smell, balance, taste…).
The bottom line: the same nerve that controls our digestion also controls the way we interact with our environment!! Think about a time you were under extreme stress. Did your stomach feel queasy? Did your heart race? Did you experience butterflies? Did you even throw up? That’s your Vagus Nerve and the gut-brain connection at work.
Now that we’ve discussed what can go wrong… how do we make it right!! Here are ways to keep your guts healthy in order to really be a healthy person:
- Take a GOOD probiotic (most need to be refrigerated and are NOT found in yogurts…)
- Talk to us if you need suggestions!
- Eat lots of fermented foods: sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, pickles, kefir
- If you’re not sure what any of those are… get to google and try some recipes! We’ll be posting Wednesday how easy it is to make sauerkraut at home!
- Reduce your stress
- Chronic stress has a powerful effect on our guts as we discussed earlier. Take the time to evaluate your stress levels and get it under control
- Avoid processed everything
- Overloading your body with processed sugars and chemicals weakens your guts and creates the gaps and lesions we talked about earlier. Stick to REAL food! You know, the stuff that doesn’t have a label.
- Get Your Spine Checked!!
- The importance of a healthy brain and spinal cord cannot be underestimated. The Vagus Nerve is just one nerve that has massive impact.
Chiropractors have been adjusting the spine to ensure proper nerve health for 120 years! Even Hippocrates (the father of medicine) said, “Look well to the spine for the causes of disease”.
If you have more questions about Gut Health or need guidance on how to start your journey, call us at Fletcher Chiropractic Office at 920-230-2800 for a consultation with one of our doctors!
Cheers to you,
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440 North Koeller Street #1
Oshkosh, WI 54902