The more we study it, the more we learn it is the seat of all healing and the seat of all chronic disease. It has a huge impact on our brain, our mood, our ageing and given the right treatment, the right food and the right nutrients, it will serve us well, keeping us healthy and happy.
However, this should not really be a surprise, Hippocrates 460BC – 380BC has been quoted as saying all disease begins in the gut.
If all disease begins in the gut, then it is imperative to keep the gut healthy. Right? So let’s take a closer look at the gut so we can understand why and how.
The gut bugs inhabit our gut and they live symbiotically with us. There is 10x more bug cells than human cells. We humans have 20,000 genes, but the gut bacteria have between 2 million and 20 million according to biologists, and there is somewhere between 1000 – 1500 different species. Don’t you think this is incredible?
Everyday we are learning more and more about the link between the gut bugs/microbiome and our health, so feeding them correctly should be our main aim.
Gut bugs can be split into two categories, good and bad. They can cause an out crowding of other species, invade that species territory and subsequently wipe them out, leading to a deficiency of a species that played a role in our health and made us healthy.
We all have unique gut microbiome. What bugs keep you happy and healthy may be different to someone else’s.
Disease happens when there is an imbalance between good and bad bugs. The bad bugs can cause an increase in inflammation, dis-ease, cravings, bloating, constipation, diarrhea and can increase the risk of obesity and heart disease. They will also decrease our mood, immune system and ability to deal with stress.
The good bugs do the opposite jobs. They make us happy, regular, thin and filled with vitality and vigor.
Gut bugs are also responsible for making serotonin – 95% of all serotonin is made in the gut, so if you want to be happy it is important to have a healthy gut.
So what do they all eat?
Bad bugs eat, animal based products – meat, cheese, diary, eggs and fish, along with free oils and fats and sugars. They thrive on C.R.A.P – calorie rich and processed foods.
The good bugs, the ones that keep the gut healthy, thrive on whole foods and love plants. They are the vegans in this world and love fibre.
In the 1950s Denis Burkitt an English physician working in Africa studied the effect that fibre had on people in Africa vs. people in the west.
He found there was a direct correlation between a diet low in fibre and the hospitals that existed around that population. Low fibre = large hospitals. If fibre was low there was more disease present. In Africa where the daily fibre intake was approximately 100 grams per day, there were fewer diseases present. High fibre = small hospitals.
Today, in most western countries, like the USA and Australia, our fibre intake is less than 15 grams. The government nutrition sites recommend a daily intake of 28 grams per day. This is abysmal.
Fibre is king, and in particular resistant starch. The gut bacteria loves resistant starch, which comes from cold baked white potatoes, cold rice, cold porridge/oats and green bananas.
Fibre is a vital component for health, and is often forgotten. We count calories, but never fibre. Foods from the plant world = fibre, foods from the animal kingdom = no fibre. Foods found in bottles, like olive oil or vegetable oils = no fibre, and without fibre our gut bugs are not happy.
The bottom line is, if you eat a diet that is plant-based and fat free, you will feed your good bugs and give yourself the greatest chance of being disease free.
Good health is just a matter of asking yourself, daily, (three times a day in fact), will this food I am about to eat promote health or disease?
Kathy Ashton understands which foods benefit the body. As a nutritional medicine practitioner she uses whole food, plant based, oil free foods to produce amazing results, transforming lives through improvements in sleep, energy, sustainable weight loss and a reduction in symptoms from chronic diseases. Kathy believes change is only one decision away.