Friday, September 17, 2010

What about the Gut?

So these days you hear a ton about probiotics, live cultures, and the like.  Someone recently asked me what pro-biotics were, and how they could help her health.  I thought it was a super question that deserved an answer. I also wanted to share it on here for anyone wondering the same types of questions.

The Lord made our bodies in a marvelous way. I know I would never have thought to create a human being like this, not that I am much of an inventor anyway, except for maybe recipes.  We are such complex creatures, that anyone who denies we were designed and believes that life is some random accident formed from a enormous explosion is truly blind.

Back to probiotics, what are they? Probiotics are strains of beneficial bacteria that reestablish healthy intestinal flora (all of the microorganisms in our intestinal tracts) in the human body. They protect the digestive tract from unhealthy microbes, like one popular one we hear about e coli. I never realized how important our intestines were until the past year.  Apparently we all have bacteria roaming around in our systems.  The key is to keeping the right kind of bacteria to hang out in there.

Our bodies are made up of over 100 trillion bacterial cells from atleast 500 species not including viruses and fungi states, Dr. Joe Mercola. All of these friendly bacteria (probiotics) help our bodies with immune function, and digestion. those two topics alone in the human body keep us running, so are you starting to clue in on how important these friendly bacteria are for us? 

A another fact that I never knew was that most people, especially those who eat the SAD (Standard American Diet) way have some type of candida infection. This is another way to say yeast infection. Candida albicans, the proper name, Candida albicans is a fungus that is normally found on the skin and mucous membranes in the mouth, rectum, or vagina. It may also travel through the blood stream and affect various parts of the body. If the fungus is not controlled, problems may occur.

We can get yeast infections in our guts from not having healthy intestinal flora from our diet, taking anti-biotics (yes, they kill all of the bacteria, even the good stuff), birth control pills, pregnancy, and unhealthy bowel movements. There are numerous symptoms. A candida infection can affect you in many ways. It can cause constant fatigue (hey moms you aren't just tired because you have kids hanging on you all day), sleep problems, being overly mucousy, tight joints and muscles, flu-like symptoms (if your kids get sick a lot chances are its a yeast problem), headaches, depression, exzema, acne, along with other issues.

So how might you ask to avoid these problems, and maintain a healthy gut? Glad you asked...hahahaha. You also might be wondering how you can be sure you do have a candida infection. There are tests that you can do. I wouldn't advise a regular doctor for these tests unless he or she believes in alternative methods and is supportive of holistic medicine, otherwise he or she is likely to laugh at you when you bring up the subject. I would see a registered naturopathic doctor. A naturopath has the letter N.D. after their names.To tell you the truth in my honest opinion I would just treat myself like I had an infection anyway simply because treatment is nothing short of being 100% beneficial for your body.

First things first, which you may not like, is the most simple thing that must occur is change in diet.  A healthy diet for anyone, especially someone with a candida infection, consists of raw fruits and veggies, raw seeds and nuts, raw dairy, organic free range eggs, organic free range meats/poultry, and no pork or seafood. Lightly steamed veggies are fine. Healthy grains such as brown rice, millet, quinoa, and amaranth are acceptable.

If you must have bread, flours such as 100% whole grain spelt and buckwheat are better choices than wheat, even 100% whole wheat. Wheat can be very hard on the digestive tract. It can scratch and scar it in some cases due to the wheat gluten (protein in the wheat). Soaking the flours in something such as plain, whole yogurt before you bake is even better if you can make your own bread. Yogurt is cultured with good bacteria, so this sets your intestines up for healthy options.

As a general rule if it is white do not eat it, like white flour, white rice, and white sugar. All of these products have been processed, bleached, and all of the nutrients have been removed. So when we eat these things we are starving our bodies while consuming empty calories leading to obesity. Obesity by the way doesn't mean enormously fat, its just means being overweight. Eating these empty calories leaves out bodies wanting more because the nutrition is lacking, and this why we tend to overeat on these types of foods.

For the first several weeks (atleast 3-4) removal of sugars is really, really important. All sugar must be removed, that includes healthy sugars like fruit, raw honey, molasses, and maple syrup. The reason for this is that yeast feeds on sugar, and it doesn't discriminate. To kill the yeast, you must starve it.While removing sugars start taking a good probiotic supplement. There are hundreds of brands out there. Not all are the same. I recommend Primal Defense by Garden of Life. Make this a daily habit for life. You can purcahse this online through either store on my blog raw life or renegrade health. You can also find this at Whole Foods.

Another way to improve gut health is to eat sprouted and fermented foods.  I will talk about these next time. 

1 comment:

  1. i've been drinking bird nest soup every night (i only get the homemade kind back at home). the only reason why i drink it is because it's supposed to be good for complexion.

    i’ve been taking the store-bought kind online (e.g. of famous branded only of course) which is directly mailed from Hong Kong. this would be at a more affordable price.