In recent years much has been written about inflammation, as scientists have discovered it plays a major role in the development of an array of illnesses. But where does inflammation start?
The root of most of it lies in the gut; therefore, anything that promotes a healthier gut will reduce inflammation and its devastating effects on the body.
Link Between Gut Inflammation and Disease
The trillions of microbes in the gut perform multiple functions, including facilitating digestion, regulating metabolism and providing 75 percent of the body’s immunity. This bacterial population is comprised of “friendly” or good bacteria as well as bad or pathogenic bacteria. Inflammation of the gut results when the good microbes decrease and bad microbes increase. When the inflammation becomes chronic, it impairs the normal functioning of nearly every organ systems in the body. The harm perpetrated can lead to cancer, heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, depression, rheumatoid arthritis and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Aside from the general association between gut inflammation and disease, a link exists between a specific gut bacteria, fat cells and type 2 diabetes. It turns out that obese people have higher quantities of the pathogenic bacterial strain Staphylococcus aureus (staph). When staph interacts with fat cells, a heightened inflammatory response is produced, which researchers believe can provoke diabetes.
How to Improve Gut Health
The key to gut health lies in eating a nutritious diet and engaging in lifestyle practices that increase the good microbes while avoiding dietary, environmental and lifestyle elements that decrease them.
- Gut Friends: This includes foods that replenish and nourish the beneficial bacteria. Fermented dairy products like yogurt and kefir along with fermented vegetables like sauerkraut will increase the population of good microbes. A diet plentiful in fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables and nuts will feed the good microbes already present in the gut. The more organic and unprocessed your diet is, the healthier your gut will be.
- Gut Foes: The primary enemy of gut health is the typical American diet, so avoid sugary and processed foods because they feed the bad bacteria. Also, avoid trans fats, foods cooked at high temperatures and unhealthy oils such as canola, corn and vegetable. Drugs that harm the gut include antacids, steroids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents, in addition to antibiotics, including trace amounts in animal food products and antibiotic soaps. Environmental villains are chlorinated water, pollution and agricultural chemicals like glyphosate. A lifestyle gut enemy is stress, a problem that can be reduced through regular exercise and adequate sleep.
Evidence linking gut inflammation to disease is so compelling that some researchers believe supporting intestinal health will become one of the main focuses of the practice of medicine in the 21st century. This emphasis makes sense, as the most effective way of pursuing health involves getting to the root cause of disease.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.