By Dr. Graham
Giulia Enders, author of the international best seller “Gut”, says; “Our gut is almost as important to us as our brain and our heart, yet we know very little about how it works”. However, scientific research is leaping ahead with insights on the centrality of gut importance, finding these organs to be one of the most miraculous parts of our anatomy. Recent research is revealing the role the intestinal bacteria plays in many health problems including obesity, Alzheimer’s, depression, autism and allergies. For it is the existence of a vibrant microbiome (community) of the right bacteria species that best facilitates easy and efficient uptake of the precious nutrients we need from our yummy veggies!! and other delights………..
Very recent research in the news lately has underlined the importance of nutrient absorption. Australian researchers have found a link between adequate intake of vitamin B3 in pregnant women in preventing birth defects and abnormalities. Of course vitamin B3 is not a stand-alone nutrient in healthy pregnancies and babies. But in prescribing the required daily dose of vitamin B3, researchers have said the recommended daily amount for a pregnant woman is 18 milligrams. They also added that if there is an inflammatory bowel problem, this amount will need to be higher (and it will be more difficult to find the right amount needed). This is because whenever there is inflammation in the gut (even at lower levels, not detectable on a biopsy) the amount of nutrient absorption declines significantly. Imagine that – going to all the effort of shopping for the food, cooking, cleaning up etc. then knowing we are missing out on the “good stuff”!!So the thing is, we need to protect our gut as much as we can from foods that kill the good bacteria and cause inflammation (think preservatives and chlorine in water – both are added because they kill bacteria – they do this in our intestines, too!). And, if we know our good bacteria need a boost, we can get pro-biotic supplements from our trusted supplier. More basically, find out what are the very best foods that are pro-biotic in nature – that is, the foods that create a “good, bacteria friendly” environment in our tummy – and munch on those foods. These are often fermented foods, like sauerkraut or keffir. Prebiotic foods are also very helpful, these are foods for your good gut bacteria, like garlic, onion, leeks or chicory.
It is very useful to know if there is something we eat that perhaps we like but which actually causes irritation / inflammation in the gut. When our insides are exposed to irritants over time the small hairs that line the tubes die off and lessen the nutrient absorption. If that process continues, the health of our insides declines and so does our overall health and wellbeing. But, often if we avoid the pro-inflammatory foods and go for the ones “right for you” then our gut will be working better. That means we will have more energy because we are getting REAL FUEL for our body and not having to rely on the fast flash of coffee and sugar to keep us going!!
There is a wealth of information online and we now have our very own holistic nutritionist at Spectrum, Lydia, who can help you find the right foods for that sparkle.
So people, love your gut!!
Reference: Enders, Giulia. 2014. “Gut”. Scribe Publications, Brunswick, Victoria Australia.