Today I decided to talk about the essential link between our gut health and our overall body health. We underestimate the importance of our gut flora, our digestive tract, and its impact on our mood, our mental health, our immune system, our hormonal system….. Yes, you’ve got it. Its impact on our entire body.
Today we know that 85% of our Immune System is based….in our gut. And this is mainly due to the 100 trillion bacteria, good and bad, that thrive there. Ideally, we should have 85% of good bacteria, 15% of bad. But today, because of the amount of antibiotics around us (those we take, those in our meat, the antibacterial soaps and gels …), and because of the food we eat (sugar, refined carbohydrates, processed food, junk food, poor quality foods…), many people lost that gut flora balance. And often, they don’t connect the dots between that and the different symptoms they can have: mood swings, immune weakness, inflammation, allergies, autoimmune diseases, mental troubles… (to name just a few).
When your Gastro-Intestinal tract (GI tract) doesn’t function well, it is your whole system that starts suffering. This bacteria community is basically responsible for our entire body metabolism. They play a key role in our overall health.
If you suffer from any kind of illness, you have to heal and seal your digestive tract in order to become stronger and fight the disease. It should play a key part in your treatment.
So how does it work?
The digestion process starts in the mouth, when you chew your foods, when your saliva starts dissolving some particles of food, preparing your body to start the digestive process.
Then it comes to the stomach. The stomach is highly acidic. Those acids and enzymes together allow the natural selection of good and bad microorganisms. They help kill harmful pathogens: fungi, virus, bacteria, worms, protozoa. When the level of acidity and enzymes is optimal, only good and beneficial microbes go through and continue onto the digestive tract.
It’s been proven that older people, usually after 70, start losing stomach acidity. And for example, people with dementia have more pathogenic microbes in the stomach than average people from the same age: it shows how important this pre-selection of good/bad bacteria is, and how important the impact of a healthy gut flora is.
What happens when the gut flora is out of balance?
Bad bacteria release noxious byproducts called endotoxins. Those endotoxins stress the immune system, make the walls of your gut weaker and more permeable, causing what is called the “leaky gut syndrome”. The leaky gut syndrome is a mix of stress and inflammation. Because the gut wall becomes too permeable, those endotoxins can penetrate the blood flow and this is how your entire system gets attacked and becomes inflamed.
Your body reacts by increasing Insulin release and fat storage, in order to provide energy for the battle it is having. More particularly, the hypothalamus, centre of the appetite control, gets inflamed and because of all of this metabolism damage, people start gaining weight, and more and more, this can lead to obesity. And obese people tend to have a more inflamed and damaged hypothalamus than average people… dots connected?
How to calm down, or even reverse, this continuous inflammation process?
I hope that now, you understand why it is so essential to have a healthy gut flora. By balancing the microorganisms in your gut, you help heal and decrease the inflammation, and restore your entire metabolism.
A great, tasty and easy way to restore your gut flora is to start having raw fermented foods on a daily basis.
What are raw fermented foods?
It is vegetables, like cabbage for sauerkraut for example, that are placed in an airtight container. The lack of oxygen initiate the growth of lactic acid bacteria. These bacteria convert the natural occurring sugar of the vegetables into lactic acid. This process is called “lacto-fermentation”.
Lactic acid and the added sea salt preserve the vegetables and prevent them from rotting. They are left there over a few weeks before they can be eaten.
Those fermented vegetables HAVE TO BE RAW. If not, it means they were pasteurized, which means that they lost all benefits whatsoever! Pasteurization kills ALL bacteria and naturally occurring nutrients. So what you get is simply dead food.
Due to the natural process of fermentation, those raw fermented foods are very rich in good healthy bacteria, often called probiotics. Those are the ones that will help you balance out your gut flora and improve your digestive system, immune system, mood, energy levels, mental health, etc etc.
Different fermented foods contain different strains of bacteria. Therefore, I would suggest to vary as much as you can: have some kefir, some sauerkraut, some kimchi….. and become creative! You can even do it yourself, there are many recipes that you can find out there.
What are the other health benefits from Organic Raw Fermented Foods?
- they are potent detoxifiers, that help break down and eliminate heavy metals and other toxins
- they increase mineral absorption from your food
- they help produce B vitamins and vitamin K2 (which is essential with vitamin D to take the Calcium out of your arteries and into your bones, reducing the risk of coronary artery disease)
- they prevent diabetes
- they prevent obesity
- they improve your mood and mental health
- because they help detoxify your system, your skin gets cleaner, your acne is decreased significantly
If you have never tried fermented foods before, you should probably start with just a little bit every day. When bad bacteria get killed by the good ones, they release potent toxins and might give you symptoms of “healing crisis”. Therefore, just start small and increase progressively.
You can not go wrong by adding Organic Raw Fermented Vegetables in your daily food. You will soon see that you can mix them with anything you are eating! And they are fabulous for your kids, so the sooner you get them used to eat them, the better.
My personal favorite mix?
raw sauerkraut with kimchi, some fresh spinach salad, avocado, pumpkin seeds and coconut oil….. YUMMMMMMMMY.
Let me know how you like to include them in your food!
Hope this helped,
In Health and Happiness