Building the Foundation of Good Health – Part 2
In the last issue I introduced the idea that real food is good for us (how amazing is that?) and that being able to process that food is important too. I told you about the ideal good:bad ratio of the 4 pounds or so of bacteria in our gut and the likelihood that our own personal ratio is probably not even close to that. The normal North American lifestyle isn’t particularly kind to the good bacteria that are a basic requirement of good health.
What’s the big deal you wonder? “So I have acid reflux (I can take a pill for that), or only have a bowel movement every couple of days (more time to do something else!), or have IBS (the doctor says that’s incurable anyway), and yeah, I have a few colds every year, a few allergies, and sometimes I’m depressed (what’s that got to do with anything?) and, I have eczema (that’s a skin problem you silly woman!)”
The Big Deal is this:
1) About 80% of the cells in your body that make up your immune system are in your gut. That, clearly, affects everything related to health! Colds, allergies, skin conditions, infections, cancer cells, etc. If some part of your digestion isn’t what it should be, neither is your immune system.
2) Regarding OCD, depression, ADHD, etc. Studies are showing a direct and profound link between what’s in our gut and what is happening in our mind. Scientists have discovered that they can change the personality (and stress hormone levels!) of animals by transplanting fecal bacteria between them. (Something you might want to give a lot of thought to if your doctor suggests a fecal transplant after a course of antibiotics. *blink*.) And we now know serotonin (the “happy hormone”) is for the most part created and resides right there in the gut too.
3) Bacteria keep our digestive system healthy and functioning; they are also responsible for the manufacturing of some nutrients and the processing of some nutrients we can’t use until they’ve done their magic on it. Good bacteria fight off the bad bits that can cause stomach ulcers, c.diff, and other harmful conditions. Different types of bacteria live in overweight or slim people too.
When we look at that short list we come to realize there are very few aspects of our life not changed in some way by the type of bacteria we live with. The best ways of getting beneficial bacteria are as follows:
1) A high quality, refrigerated, human-colonizing, named-strain probiotic supplement. Look for numbers like HA-135 after the probiotic name to make sure you’re getting something reputable. There are many strains per name (like ‘acidophilus’) and they are not all created equal.
2) Lots of unpasteurized fermented foods (unpasteurized kefir, unpasteurized brine made pickles, tempe, and unpasteurized vegetables like sauerkraut).
3) Grow your own organic vegetables and get your hands deep in that living soil every day (without gloves).
Take your probiotics, eat real food, and start building a healthier and happier life.
Mona Sims, CNPA