Gut health – 2 | Did you know that 70% of your immune system is controlled by your gut? – Birds on the Blog
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Gut health – 2 | Did you know that 70% of your immune system is controlled by your gut?

Our metabolism is completely dependent on how smoothly our digestive system works; and gut health is an integral part of it. In my first blog on gut health, I wrote about the positive impact that exercise has on our gut. In this article, let us look at the next most important aspect which directly impacts gut health – Food. There is so much more to it than just about processing the food that we eat. So, it is important that we understand it better to appreciate it.

Even though there are trillions of gut bacteria and other microbes living inside your digestive tract, every person has his/her own unique bacteria mix.

According to studies, having a diverse population of gut microbes is associated with better health.

However, the factors that influence these bacteria are:

  1. Genetics
  2. Lifestyle
  3. Environmental
  4. Cultural and
  5. Dietary factors

Hence it is important to recognize the fact that what works for one person may or may not work for the other. Most of the time, these bacteria live in harmony and manage themselves well.  However, when there is an imbalance between healthy and unhealthy bacteria, it can cause severe problems. It impacts your oral health, obesity, bone mass, body fat to skin conditions. It influences your central nervous system, joints and lungs. The organ which directly gets impacted though is your liver! Because it receives its nourishment straight from the gut. When there is an imbalance in the gut bacteria, it can lead to increased risk of liver disease. Hence a good gut is your biggest investment as it is extremely influential.

You are what you eat!

When it comes to food, our palate has been evolving. Focus is on faster, quicker and easier food. This means buying a can of sauce and adding it to your frozen food. One step faster is order a meal or go to a restaurant.

Surprisingly, I have seen beautifully designed kitchens but a dislike towards cooking.

When you cook with fresh ingredients, there is trust and confidence between you and your food. This relation with food is crucial. It is important to understand what we are feeding ourselves.

The food that you eat, will become food for your gut. When we eat good healthy food i.e the food that your gut loves, it will help with the digestion process. The digestion process produces short-chain fatty acids called butyrate. This helps in fighting chronic diseases like diabetes, arthritis, depression, heart disease and colon cancer.

 What is good gut food?

  1. Choosing high fiber – Fiber is the most important nutrient of all. A diet, high in fiber means a healthy, smiling gut. Our body needs both soluble and insoluble fiber. These are barley, oats, berries, potato, avocado, oat bran, whole wheat flour, lentils, beans, legumes, root vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. They help reduce the cholesterol, control blood sugar and makes you feel fuller.

Oh! And when I say potatoes, I don’t mean French fries or potato wedges, yummy but bad for the tummy!!

  1. Take probiotics – Probiotics are live strains of bacteria. These bacteria help in proper digestion and absorption of nutrients which help build the immune system. Foods such as yogurt, milk kefir and aged cheese kombucha are high in probiotics.
  1. Drink plenty of water – Water is extremely important not only to keep the organs healthy and running but also to clean your system from any inflammation or infection. How much water? At least 3-4 liters per day. Its tough initially because you need access to the toilet often, but after some days, the body acclimatises, and the frequency of visits reduces.
  1. Eating dinner early – Our forefathers or for that matter even our parents, have been eating dinners early. By doing so, we have enough time for our body to digest the food. Thus, helps in repairing and restoring your body while at sleep. But surviving the “crave” between dinner and sleep time is a task. Those “night caps” are putting a cap over your gut!
  1. Take time to eat – As much as cooking your own food is important, so is focusing on how you are eating. Eating slowly, mindfully and with a relaxed mind can help digest the food and prevent bloating and other discomforts.
  1. Good night sleep – Our body works even when we are asleep! So, its important to have a good night’s sleep. This helps in repairing cells, manage stress and balance our hormones. For more of this topic please read – The missing element

Over the years, I have experienced clients giving higher priority to one factor above the other, while working towards their health. Striking that balance has been the biggest challenge.  All the above elements have their own important role to play. We need to keep a check on all these factors if we want to be healthy, lose excess weight and stay fit. Being mindful and sensible with our habits is what will keep our system flourishing.

 

AUTHOR: Parnita Senjit

About the Author Parnita Senjit

• Parnita Senjit has been a registered wellness coach for more than 19 years. Apart from this, her creative journey has taken her through being an Interior Designer, a portrait artist, an Author of series Lil' Leo and a Motivational Speaker.