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