The Gut May Just Hold the Golden Key to Health
The stomach and intestines, also known as the gut, are the gateway for nutrients to enter the body. There are a large number and variety of bacteria that inhabit the gut, most of which aid digestion. There is evidence that unhealthy bacteria could be a major reason so many diseases gain a foot hold in many people. Digestion of food begins in the mouth, goes to the throat and then the stomach. As the food passes through the large intestine and into the small, micro-nutrients and minerals your body needs are extracted and the rest is excreted as waste.
Here are 6 tips to keep the gut in good working condition:
1. Liquids are Important
Water aids in digestion and helps food flow through the body. Too much water is not a problem, your body will process what it needs and the rest is eliminated. Fruit juices are very good as well, particularly cranberry and raspberry as they contain phenols; an acid compound which aids digestion. Are you a tea drinker? Natural teas such as oolong and ginger are very good for the digestive tract; both suspected to prevent some forms of colon cancer. Help keep your food and digestion moving by drinking water regularly throughout the day.
2. Foods that Help
Fruits are very helpful to aid in digestion, particularly raspberries and cranberries. All fruits are very simple to break down, making the digestive system’s job easy. Vegetables are also a great option containing both macro and micro-nutrients that help to easily digest them. The eight "cruciferous" vegetables including kohlrabi, kale, bok choy, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower are exceptionally beneficial for digestion. A few other recommended vegetables are green and yellow beans, spinach, and carrots. Other food types that are easy for the digestive system to use and don’t cause any blockage are brown rice, dark chocolate, nuts, oatmeal and other 100% whole grains. Then you have legumes which supply the gut with fiber, as well as nutrients and minerals.
3. Feed the Good Bacteria
We have 2 types of bacteria in our gut that are waging a war for control. The bacteria family that wins depends on the types of food that they are fed. The good type is called Bacteroides, they help digest food quickly, efficiently and feed on fruits and vegetables. When high carbohydrate and high sugar foods are consumed, the other bacteria type called Fermicutes thrive. They actually extract more calories out of the food which keeps it in the intestine longer. Other digestion helpers are yogurt, cheese, miso, and sauerkraut which help the colon create bacteria that aid digestion. The moral of the story is: feed the good bacteria and keep the flow through the intestines moving.
Soothing spices like caraway, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, oregano, and cumin supply our bodies with many micro-nutrients. When cooking with these spices, the smell that is released starts the digestive system by releasing the enzyme in the mouth which makes the mouth water. One of the best spices for digestion is ginger, which is known for its warming properties; the warming is due to increased blood flow. Ginger will help create the digestive juices that your body needs and is easily added into many dishes.
5. Unsaturated Fats
Saturated fats, like those found in red animal meat, are complex and difficult for our system to break down. The fats slow down the digestion of the proteins making for a lot of work for your intestines. They also clog our veins and arteries and then the unused fats are stored in the body tissue – mostly around the belly and bottom. Consider eating more fish, chicken and soy bean products and less red meat. Try substituting unsaturated fats such as olive oil in place of the saturated fat found in butter and margarine. Instead of adding fat to your system, you will be helping your body eliminate the fats when you use the oil on, say, your toast with jam in the morning.
When we exercise our heart beats faster, moving the blood through the veins and to the surface of the gut. This is where the cells can pick up the minerals and nutrients as they pass by. The arteries transport those minerals and nutrients to the places they are needed. The laws of gravity are an obvious reason for exercise; as we stand, run, or walk; we are helping the food pass through our body’s digestive tract.
Go With the Flow
Be on your way to a healthier gut by drinking lots of water, eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, using unsaturated fats and exercising regularly. You want to keep the flow going through your digestive tract so that nothing is stagnant. When substances are in the system too long, fermentation and petrification occur and toxins are released. Health problems of many sorts start there. Follow the steps above to ensure your gut is healthy and able to deliver all the nutrients to the rest of your body efficiently.