Gut health has blown UP over the past few years which is pretty frackin' cool seeing as Hippocrates said it a couple (thousand) years ago: "All disease begins in the gut."
Sure, he may have had some other ideas that have since been proven... well... wrong... (sorry, buddy!), but modern science agrees with and has finally caught up with ancient medicine:
Your immune system?
Your neurological system?
Your endocrine (hormone) system?
They're all impacted by the health of your gut. A healthy gut allows you to properly digest your food, which means all of the nourishment from the GREAT foods you're eating are able to be used up by your sweet bod in all the ways it needs.
So, yes. We're agreed: a healthy gut is UBER important, Hippocrates.
What are we talking about, exactly, we we talk about a healthy gut?
Merriam Webster is who I always rely on to give me a pretty solid and easily digestible (ha) definition, so this is what ol' MW had to say:
Definition of gut
1a (1) : bowels, entrails —usually used in plural
(2) : the basic visceral or emotional part of a person
She knew in her gut that he was lying.
b : digestive tract; also : part of the digestive tract and especially the intestine or stomach
c : belly, abdomen
Basically, a healthy gut means that your stomach, small intestine, and large intestine (colon) are all working harmoniously and as nature intended, with a proper balance of bacteria in all the right places (and not anywhere bacteria shouldn't be... like making itself at home in your stomach or small intestine or leaking out of your gut. Ew, yes. But more common than we think).
You house within you an entire ecosystem of bacteria and yeast and viruses that make up this microbiome. Yes, inside you. Right now. Woah.
They're in there toiling away, working hard to either make your internal life easier (the goodies) or DESTROY EVERYTHING CONQUER ALL AND FLOURISH (the baddies).
I've decided that, rather than try to use one post to cover the wide ranging topic that is gut health, I'm going to break this sucker down into simple, bite sized pieces.
I really just can't stop with the digestion puns... because, you see... gut health really and truly begins in the mouth with CHEWING.
Bite sized pieces that are chewed well are easier to digest, and then large chunks (ew again) of not properly digested foods don't end up sitting in your colon fermenting and creating gas and bloating (ew). I mixed metaphors with the reality of digestion there, but you get my point:
I'm going to hit you with some numbers here:
There are more than ONE TRILLION bacteria, viruses, and yeast cells chillaxing in your colon right now. Of that one trillion, you've got about 1,000 different species.
Over 50 million people a year head to the doctor for help/answers when it comes to digestive issues (costing upwards of 32 billion dollars).
If Hippocrates and modern medicine are right and all disease begins in the gut—how can we cultivate our internal micro biome and digestive tract as carefully as the grounds keeper at a super fancy Country Club?
Honestly we can’t. Or... we can, and we can try to be perfect. We can also drive ourselves insane, but I prefer to do the best I can when I can while also enjoying life.
It’s starts with knowledge and empowering ourselves to know the truth behind crazy-making health trends.
Yes. We all know by now: gut health is important. And everyone is trying to make a buck off of it with powders and potions and pills.
To each their own. I’m just gonna be rolling out my four part “Gut Health for the Holidays” series over the next few weeks as a little recap and reading to take along when you’re hiding in the bathroom at holiday parties. (Or is that just me?)
There is a delicate balance of bacteria within your gut, and it was gifted to you upon your birth, whether you were born via a C-section (where you were colonized by your momma's skin) or came out of the birth-canal (you were colonized while going through the birth canal), and you've had a unique experience that has cultivated your flora: from the nurses who handled you in the hospital to the environment around you. This means that we ALL HAVE A DIFFERENT POPULATION OF MICROBES. (Sorry for yelling... can you tell I really dig this stuff?)
When that microbiome gets out of whack, we experience gut dysbiosis.
Gut dysbiosis is just a fancy way for us to say: your microbiome is not flourishing, and THAT is what we're going to be talking about for the next few weeks.
You can think of this as a series to lay the foundation for understanding what's going on with your gut, which may in turn level up your immune system, any hormone imbalances, and neurological issues (talkin' migraines, stress, anxiety, and depression). But know that there is WAY more to the gut than eating perfectly, and that's why I'm on this here mission.