“All disease begins in the . . . .

gut.”  Hippocrates

January is associated with new beginnings and fresh starts.  A good place to start working on your health is to pay attention to what’s happening in your gut.

Your gut is your digestive tract, including the stomach and intestines.

The health of the gut affects just about everything:  the immune system, digestion, brain, bones, heart, kidneys, skin, and joints, to name a few.  Also, B-vitamins are manufactured in the gut from good bacteria.

Things that can harm the gut:  artificial sweeteners (sucralose, aspartame, saccharin, etc.), refined sugar, genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), NSAIDS (aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.), gluten, chemicals in foods, tap water, cleaning and personal care products, some vitamins and minerals (containing inorganic minerals like copper, iron, tin, etc.), medications (including statins, oral contraceptives, antibiotics), etc.  Obviously, we can’t avoid everything.

When the lining of the gut becomes compromised due to irritation and inflammation, it can become permeable, allowing substances from the digestive tract to enter the bloodstream.  This can trigger inflammation anywhere in the body, which can set up an autoimmune response and lead to chronic health issues.

When you have a leaky pipe, you repair it or live with the damage!  I know, because our recent pipe damage cost us a lot of money.  We not only had to fix the leaking pipe, but we had to find the root cause to prevent the same problem from recurring.  A rodent had chewed the pipe.  The rodent had gotten into the attic via holes in the exterior of the house.  So, we had to have the exterior damage repaired to keep the rats out!  To back it up, the first sign we had that there was a problem was the water pouring from the ceiling in the kitchen when we ran the water in the bathroom sinks upstairs.  It took a combination of us, the plumber, the exterminator, and the home repair company to get to the root of the problem!

Get to the root of your health problems by fixing your gut!  An unhealthy gut makes the perfect environment for bacteria, viruses, and fungus to thrive.  These microorganisms can further contribute to a “leaky” gut.

Some good places to start:

Eat more gluten-free gains like quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat.

Eat plenty of fiber-rich vegetables.

Eat cultured and fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, and miso.

Eat artichokes.  They help to feed friendly gut bacteria.  They also contain silymarin, which helps stimulate the gallbladder to release stagnant bile into the colon.  Bile helps to digest fats.

Consider turmeric for its anti-inflammatory benefits.  The whole spice contains more health benefits than the isolated curcumin compound.  Try one teaspoon mixed into food, tea, or taken in capsules.  Know your source, because some turmeric has been found to be contaminated with lead.  Nature’s Sunshine (www.learningtobehealthy.mynsp.com) tests every batch for contamination.

Avoid artificial sweeteners.  There’s a possible link between sucralose (Splenda) and a higher incidence of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Avoid GMOs (look for the label “Non-GMO Verified” on packaged products).

Some helpful resources:

www.nongmoshoppingguide.com

www.greenmedinfo.com

Listen to free online videos this week from experts in the field of gut health:

https://ju127.isrefer.com/go/healyourgutreg/learninttobehealthy/

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Natural Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

www.facebook.com/learningtobehealthy

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need.   Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

 

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Don’t be deficient in vitamin D–here’s some important reasons why!

Every cell in our bodies need vitamin D, which is really a steroid hormone made from our exposure to sunlight.  It’s estimated that more than 50% of us are deficient in this health-protecting vitamin, and we tend to become even more deficient in the winter months.

Some signs of possible deficiency include aching bones, a sweaty head, and depression.  Increasing vitamin D levels has often proved helpful!

Studies are indicating more and more that vitamin D deficiency may be a contributing factor in autoimmune conditions.  These include multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and psoriatic arthritis.

Vitamin D deficiency has also been found to affect the health of the eyes, contributing to dry eyes, a lack of tear production, and an increased risk for age-related macular degeneration (especially if one is genetically predisposed to AMD).

Low levels of vitamin D are routinely found in people with heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes, as well as the aforementioned autoimmune and mental disorders.

The best way to find out your vitamin D level is through a blood test.  When you get your results, ask your doctor what your vitamin D level is.  Many times, they just say that it’s within the normal range, but that range may not be enough to keep you healthy.  The optimum range is at least 40 ng/ml, with 50-70 ng/ml being even better.  If you are fighting a disease, check with your doctor about increasing your levels even higher.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is absorbed in the intestinal tract.  If you have a chronic inflammatory bowel condition, you may not be absorbing adequate amounts.  If you eat an extremely low-fat or bad-fat diet, you may not have enough good fats to absorb this fat-soluble vitamin.  Also, as we age, absorption may become impaired.

It’s easy to take a supplement, and many foods are fortified with vitamin D.  Unfortunately, companies do not always use D3, which is the best form.  Most fortification is done with the cheaper, synthetic form, D2.  When buying a supplement containing vitamin D, look for D3 on the label.  I take Elderberry D3fense made by Nature’s Sunshine.  It has 2,000 IUs of vitamin D3 per capsule, plus elderberry, which helps protect against viruses.

Some foods that contain vitamin D are fatty fish like tuna, mackerel, salmon, and sardines, egg yolks (the growing bird receives its nutrients from the yolk while in the shell), cod liver oil (don’t worry–it comes in capsules and flavored varieties), and mushrooms grown in ultraviolet light.  Check out the Mushroom Soup/Sauce recipe I added to my website!

Get your levels checked!  Even a slight deficiency can cause small problems now, and possibly bigger problems down the road!

Before I go, I want to tell you about the Healthy Start 30-Day Online Challenge that starts Monday, January 11!  Once you sign up, I’ll send you four weekly emails to help you implement healthy habits that will set you up for long-term success.  You’ll also get a 22-page Fit & Healthy Recipe Guide, 20 Healthy Snack Ideas, and other helpful tools.  This is not a quick-fix weight-loss program.  You’ll also be invited to be part of my private Learning to be Healthy with Lisa Facebook Group, where you can ask questions and receive daily support and encouragement for the duration of the challenge.

We’d love to have you join us!

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Natural Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

www.facebook.com/learningtobehealthy

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need.  Consult your health care provider about dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.