Fix Your Gut, Fix Your Health

Once our food has made its way to the 20-foot long small intestine, enzymes are secreted by the pancreas to further digest fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.  The pancreas also makes insulin, which helps to control blood sugar.  Too many processed foods can weaken the pancreas over time, and digestion, as well as insulin production, can be adversely affected.  You may need to support your pancreas when you eat processed foods by taking digestive enzymes.

About 90% or more of the nutrients from what we eat is absorbed in the small intestine, which is lined with finger-like villi.  These villi contain digestive enzymes that finish preparing the food for absorption.  Villi also help prevent “leaky gut” by letting in the good and keeping out the bad, similar to using a strainer.  When villi become damaged due to inflammation, they can no longer do there job efficiently.

Damage resulting from inflammation can come from many sources, including the malfunction of other organs, like the stomach not producing enough stomach acid or removal of the gall bladder.  Other pro-inflammatory conditions include a poor diet (including food sensitivities), fungal and parasitic infections, medications, and toxins.

When the villi can no longer properly absorb nutrients and keep out what doesn’t belong in the bloodstream, inflammation can affect the entire body.  This can trigger an immune system response, and, when chronic, can turn into an autoimmune condition.

Some ways to stop inflammation and improve a “leaky gut” condition:

Remove food sensitivities (you may need to get an IgG Antibody Test).  You can also use a food journal to write down what you eat and drink, how you feel, and poop observations.  Eliminate any suspect foods for two weeks, and then reintroduce them, one at a time, over a three-day period, to see if you have any negative reactions.

Eat fresh produce, organic meats, fermented foods, and bone broth.

Stop eating hydrogenated oils (soy, canola, corn, vegetable, cottonseed, etc.).

Stop eating refined sugar (especially high-fructose corn syrup).

Stop eating fast foods and packaged foods.

After nutrient absorption, what remains enters the large intestine, or colon.  Some additional nutrients are absorbed there, especially fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K).  This is where beneficial bacteria (probiotics) assist in digestion–about 90% are located in the colon.

The final step in digestion is the timely elimination of waste.  The average time for stool to pass through the colon is about 36 hours.  If constipation is a problem, probiotics may help, as well as flax or extra-virgin olive oil, which help to lubricate the colon for easier passage.  Fiber, found in whole plant foods, is important for moving waste along, as well as for feeding the good intestinal bacteria.  Water is another crucial element for helping to prevent chronic constipation.

Some ways to help remedy constipation:

Include healthy fats in your daily diet, eat a minimum of 25 grams of fiber, drink approximately half your body weight in ounces of pure water, and take probiotics as needed.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Natural Health Consultant

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, cure, 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.

Aluminum additives in food and personal care products can accumulate in the body, including the bones!

Aluminum toxicity accumulates over time and can be difficult for the body to eliminate.  Beware of your exposure from various sources!

Aluminum hydroxide is used in many antacid medications.

Aluminum phosphate and sodium aluminum sulfate are used as stabilizers in many processed foods.

Aluminum salts are found in many antiperspirants (aluminum chlorhydrate, aluminum chloride, aluminum hydroxybromide, aluminum zirconium) and can be absorbed through the skin.

In one study published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology, researchers found that women with breast cancer had a higher accumulation of aluminum in their breast tissue.  Aluminum salts can also mimic estrogen, which has been shown to increase the risk for breast cancer.

There is growing evidence that chronic aluminum exposure can be a factor in many neurological diseases, including dementia, autism, ADHD, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s.

A study from Keele University in the UK shows high levels of aluminum in the brain of an individual exposed to aluminum at work, who later died from Alzheimer’s disease.   In 2004 high levels of aluminum were found in the tissues of a British woman who died from early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Cooking with aluminum foil and/or aluminum cookware increases absorption of aluminum into food and beverages.  This includes making coffee in an aluminum espresso maker.

Aluminum can be inhaled through cigarette smoke.

Read labels and avoid ingredients containing forms of aluminum.

Some foods that may contain aluminum:  baking powder, self-rising flour, salt, baby formula, coffee creamers, processed foods

Foods and drinks in aluminum laminated pouches or aluminum cans

Toothpaste containing aluminum oxyhydroxides

Deodorants, antiperspirants, cosmetics, lotions, sunscreens, shampoos, bath salts, and other personal care products

Over-the-counter medications and/or dietary supplements containing aluminum, including the additive magnesium stearate

A healthy digestive tract will help move most of ingested aluminum out of your system before it gets absorbed.  This means that you need to eat in a way that doesn’t leave you reaching for antacids or make you constipated for days.

Eat foods rich in fiber, especially vegetables, and avoid processed carbohydrates that are high in sugar and low in fiber.

To help restore a healthy balance of gut bacteria, eat some fermented foods like sauerkraut and apple cider vinegar.  Add foods that contain live probiotic cultures like unsweetened yogurt and cottage cheese.  Choose products from grass-fed cows and those not raised with antibiotics or growth hormones.  If you don’t consume dairy products, consider taking a probiotic supplement.

Consume bone broth to help repair the gut and to supply collagen, shown to reduce the loss of bone mass and the likelihood of hip fractures.  There’s a basic recipe on my website.

Eat foods high in sulfur like garlic, onions, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, asparagus, mustard greens, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, broccoli, avocados, bok choy, sweet potatoes, nuts, turnips, and watermelon.  Sulfur helps the body to produce the antioxidant glutathione, which is essential for protecting the body from damage caused by chemicals like aluminum.

Drink enough pure water (tap water can also be contaminated with aluminum).

Get enough daily exercise and practice deep breathing to help remove toxins through perspiration and respiration.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Natural Health Consultant

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, cure, treat, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need.  Consult with your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.


The Essentials–Probiotics

Take care of your digestion first. Overall health will be reflected by what happens here. A healthy balance of friendly bacteria is one essential necessary for good digestion. Essential lactobacillis bacteria like acidophilus and bifidophilus aid the digestion and assimilation of many nutrients and may help produce vitamin B12. They also help protect against yeast and other harmful micro-organisms and are useful against traveler’s diarrhea as well as constipation. Reduction of inflammation, gas, and bloating are other benefits of healthy gut bacteria. Probiotics should especially be taken after a round of antibiotics to restore balance. A strong immune system depends upon this balance. All health issues depend upon a strong immune system, of which approximately 75% is in the digestive tract!  Children may benefit highly from bifidopholis, and it can be sprinkled in the diaper area for thrush-related rashes.

Eating yogurt and fermented foods can also be beneficial, but make sure that your yogurt is from grass-fed cows that haven’t been treated with hormones, and that no sugar is added, because sugar feeds candida, promoting further imbalance. Taking probiotic capsules or stirring their contents into smoothies, applesauce, oatmeal, vegetables, or juice, are some other ways to add them to your daily supplement plan. Start with this number one essential and see what happens!