By Linda Anne Kahn, HHP CLT-LANA CCN CIDESCO Clinical Aromatherapist, Certified Health Coach, Nutritionist, Lymphatic Therapist, President- Beauty Kliniek Aromatherapy Day Spa
On a daily basis our digestive systems are overworked and saturated due to overeating, medications, fast foods, processed and genetically modified foods, toxins, alcohol consumption and stress. The gut is your body’s gatekeeper, and lets in helpful compounds while evicting harmful ones. Most of us do not understand or know that digestive problems wreak havoc in the entire body when the gut is healthy, our systems run efficiently, but when it’s not we can experience a myriad of symptoms, such as leaky gut mood disorders, allergies, fatigue, weight gain, heartburn, constipation and more.
The Second Brain
It is crucial to have a healthy gut as this is central to so much of what happens in your body. Your gut is regarded as the second brain and a big part of our emotions are probably influenced by the nerves in our gut. There are some 100 million neurons in the gut; more than in either the spinal cord or the peripheral nervous system.
Neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine originate in the gut. Scientists discovered that about 90 percent of the fibers in the primary visceral nerve, (the vagus nerve), carry information from the gut to the brain. Technically known as the enteric nervous system, the second brain consists of sheaths of neurons embedded in the walls of the long tube of our gut, or alimentary canal, which measures about nine meters end to end from the esophagus to the anus.
The human gastrointestinal tract house constitutes about seventy percent of the immune system. The gut is swarming with about 100 trillion bacteria, or flora and these bacteria are often considered “good” or “bad.” Your gut protects you from infection and disease through an abundance of these healthy bacteria. When our gut flora is functioning optimally we feel energetic and function well. .
Our intestinal flora informs and influences our immune system. A diet high in sugar, fat, and processed food, causes a proliferation of unfriendly bacteria. These flora can also emit chemicals that compromise the intestinal lining. This can cause gas, discomfort, bloating and inflammation.
Causes of a Poorly Functioning Gut
- Our low-fiber, high-sugar, processed, nutrient-poor, high-calorie diet, which causes all the wrong bacteria and yeast to grow in our gut and damages the delicate ecosystem in your intestines
- Overuse of many medications can damage or block digestive function
- Stress can alter the gut nervous system by decreasing the amount of beneficial bacteria in the gut. This causes an increase in inflammatory chemicals in the blood serum, digestion and blood flow in the gut slow down and elimination and digestion are affected.
Steps for a Healthy Gut:
If you want better immunity, efficient digestion, improved clarity and balance, focus on rebuilding your gut health.
- Eat fermented foods which contain large amounts of beneficial bacteria, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, coconut kefir or fermented vegetables
- Eat plain yogurt. Bifidobacteria, found in most yogurt, release chemicals that create an acidic environment in which many harmful bacteria can’t thrive
- Lessen stress. Take care of your gut health by coping with stress through yoga, mindfulness meditation, massage therapy, aromatherapy and deep breathing
- Eat whole foods like plant based fiber rich foods such as vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. These foods feed and support the growth of good bacteria
- Heal your gut lining. Use gut-healing nutrients such as glutamine and zinc to repair the lining in your gut so it can resume its normal function
- Colon Hydrotherapy. It is one of the best ways to cleanse your colon, detox and reduce digestive discomfort
- Eat foods high in omega three fatty acids such as flax, chia seeds and fish and supplement with a good fish oil to cool inflammation in the gut
- Manual Lymph drainage can help to improve digestion and colon function