The Importance of Gastrointestinal Tract Health
...5 ways to improve it and help you lose weight!
Your gastrointestinal tract (gut) plays an integral part in maintaining good health and can even help you lose weight! However,
many people don't understand how important gut health is but when you consider some of the facts about the gut, its importance becomes obvious.
Firstly, the gastrointestinal tract is around 30 feet long. This is more than 5 times the height of an average person! Plus, the total
surface area is approximately the size of a full-size tennis court! It has about 150 times the surface area of your outer skin and its
job is far more complicated. In fact, around 70 percent of your immune system is located immediately below the surface of your gut lining
because it comes into contact with more foreign organisms than any other organ in your body!
Furthermore, the average adult gut contains almost 2.5 kilograms of bacteria (gut flora) made up of around 500 different species!
Some of the bacteria are pathogenic (bad for you) but only have an impact when you're in poor health, whilst others support your health
and body functioning.
Since the primary function of your gastrointestinal tract is the absorption of nutrients from the food you eat, if this is impaired to
some extent, then it will have a direct impact on the function of the other organs and systems of your body as well! Of course, this can
have an impact on your body's overall metabolism and therefore, your ability to lose weight.
Plus, if your gut health is impaired, which means your ability to absorb nutrients is also impaired your body may become
deficient in essential nutrients, resulting in cravings, which may lead to weight gain.
Some people who have gut problems and may suffer from
ibs symptoms have inflammation occurring in their
gastrointestinal tract. Whenever there is some degree of
inflammation in the body, the body itself
tends to retail fluid and this may also result in weight gain.
Due to the gut's complex nature and important role in maintaining optimal health, it simply makes sense to support its functioning
as much as possible. Unfortunately though, with our busy lifestyles, stress and sometimes poor eating habits that often includes too much sugar,
too much alcohol and too little
fibre, it is often
difficult to provide our gastrointestinal tract with the support it deserves.
As a result, many people suffer from a range of digestive problems including,
reflux, gallstone disease, diverticular disease, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer.
Nevertheless, there are some simple steps you can take to improve your gut health and therefore, by extension, improve your
body's health as well.
Here are the 5 simple steps
to improve gastrointestinal tract health:
1. Eat whole, fresh, natural, unprocessed (and ideally organic) foods as much as possible. These foods include: fruits and
vegetables, legumes (beans, peas, lentils), nuts and seeds, organic eggs and poultry, grass-fed lean meat, and wild cold-water fish
and whole grains.
2. Eat foods and nutrients that aid digestion and support gut flora. The foods and nutrients that aid digestion include: peppermint,
cumin, lemon, fennel, fenugreek, pineapple, papaya, celery seeds, glutamine, quercetin and cardamom. Some of these ingredients are found in
The foods that support gut flora include 'prebiotics' and 'probiotics'. Prebiotics improve digestive function, boost the immune system
and complement probiotic functions. One of the most powerful prebiotics is a nutrient called 'Arabinogalactins'. It primarily comes from
the larch tree and is a soluble fibre. It is contained in BCN's Gastro Forte AG. It has the effect of increasing the production
of cytokines in the body, which are chemical messengers that aid in cell communication which modulates immune system activity.
Therefore, if you body is battling an infection, bacteria, viruses or even a tumor, arabinogalatins will certainly be beneficial by
boosting immune system functioning. By the same token, if you have an auto-immune condition which has resulted in your immune system
over-reacting, i.e. allergies and chronic inflammation, then arabinogalactins can help to reduce the over-activty.
Other prebiotics include soluble fibre sources that help to feed the good bacteria in the gut. These include: guar gum, inulin and pectin.
These are contained in
Prebiotic foods include: almonds, asparagus, garlic, bananas, oats, onions and leeks.
It is also worthwhile including plenty of foods that contain probiotics. They are found in fermented foods such as, yoghurt, cottage cheese,
kefir, fermented beverages, fermented grains, miso and tempeh.
Probiotic supplements may also be somewhat beneficial but keep in mind that they generally supply bacteria in the billions, whereas the
gut contains trillions of bacteria!
3. Avoid common food allergens and intolerances. Food allergies and intolerances vary widely from person to person. Most people
have some degree of intolerance to certain foods. It may be possible to identify foods that you have an adverse reaction to by simply
eliminating them from your diet for a period of time and then re-introducing them into your diet and watching for symptoms.
Here are the foods that cause most food-allergic reactions: eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soy, walnuts, cashews and wheat.
Some of the ingredient in
have been shown to soothe an inflamed gut, which may result from eating these foods. These include: peppermint oil, glucosamine hydrochloride
4. Eat only until you are satisfied, not full. Good gut health comes from the ability to assimilate and digest foods properly.
When foods are poorly digested a whole host of problems relating to the bacteria in the gut can result. One of the most common reasons
for poor digestion is overeating.
Overeating may also lead to digestive upset, gas, malodorous stools, diarrhea, and plenty of other unpleasant symptoms.
5. Eat in a relaxed state. There is a strong relationship between your gut and your brain and when we are stressed,
digestion is impaired. Unfortunately, most of us are constantly under stressed and we are forced to eat meals when we are stressed.
As a result, we do not digest our food properly.
By paying attention to the enjoyment of a meal ('eating with awareness'), we will be able to efficiently extract all the required nutrients
from the food. This will also make it much easier to control the amount we eat as well as making it a far more enjoyable experience.
If stress is a problem for you then perhaps try
BCN's Rhodiola Advanced.
It will help your body deal with stress more effectively and this will aid your digestive system as well.
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