by Joanna Vinsen Loveys
Naturopath and Medical Herbalist
I believe that a well-functioning gut holds the key to our overall good health.
There is such an epidemic right now of gut related illnesses – irritable bowel syndrome, food intolerances, inflammatory bowel diseases like crohns and colitis, cramps, pain, gas, heart burn, reflux, bloating. And what if you eat well, but you just don’t feel well? Why are you not getting all the nutrients you could be from your food? If you eat a balanced healthy diet this can be incredibly frustrating.
Digestive wellness is directly correlated to the food we eat, the way we live, genetics, the stress in our lives, how much dietary fibre we eat, the health of our gut microbiome, whether we smoke, lack of exercise – it’s a long list! And of course, one person will be able to cope with more than another before a gut problem occurs. Strong constitutions have a lot going for them!
The purpose of the digestive system is to process whatever we put into it (food, drinks, medications, supplements). It makes vitamins, runs our metabolism, communicates with our immune system and nervous system, delivers nutrients to the right place (that is every cell of your body) AND it gets rid of the waste products. It’s when your stomach starts to complain and we start to feel symptoms that we take notice of our gut!
If you have a look at the statistics of pharmaceutical drugs sold in New Zealand and worldwide those that treat gastric disorder are right up there at the top. Why is this? I think it is because nowadays we have so many new factors that affect digestion than even 100 hundred years ago – the quality of food we put into our bodies, pesticides, pollutants, highly processed food, more stressors in our lives which of course affect the gut.
Lets get into some digestive system facts:
- If spread flat your digestive system would stretch the length of a tennis court
- More than 60% of the immune system is in your gut mucosa
- Microbes outweigh cells in your body by 10 times. The health of these communities of bacteria determine our overall health
- The DNA in our cells and gut microbiome talk to one another
- The gut has a vagus nerve, which connects the brain and the nervous system. If this is stimulated it can induce nausea and vomiting, but if it is disabled in some way the digestive system can still function.
- Your gut can manufacture those important neurotransmitters so necessary for healthy brain function and mood such as serotonin
So, you can see, that if your body can’t digest or use the food you eat due to a poor digestive function, eventually you will begin to experience fatigue, nutrient deficiencies, headaches, mood disorder, cognitive and memory problems and, there is screeds of research available that shows that the health of the gut is linked to arthritis, auto immune disease, autism, fibromyalgia, heat health, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue and more
It certainly bears thinking about doesn’t it.
If you are having issues with your gut feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org