Digestive health is a big topic these days.
People are talking about digestive enzymes, probiotics, the GAPS, SCD, gluten-free and candida diet.
Truth is, our digestive systems are a big deal and people are starting to pay attention.
Isn't it hard to know which one you want to hear first–the bad news or the good news?
I typically would rather the bad first, so that I have something to look forward to.
Amazing Facts about our Digestive System
Did you know…
1. If you were to lay your digestive system flat, it would cover the area of a tennis court? That's so your intestines can do the job of absorbing nutrients in to your blood stream.
2. You have about 3-4 pounds of bacteria in your intestines. Their job is to produce vitamins, make your metabolism work, and protect you from infections.
3. About 70% of your immune system is in your gut. Wow. So you can see how important it is to make sure it is functioning at peak performance.
4. 90% of the cells in your body are gut bacteria and other flora.
5. Your gut is your “second brain”. It has more than 100 million neurons in it and even if your brain were severed from your digestive system, your gut would still work. Unbelievable.
Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
Getting a handle on gut health is CRUCIAL for overall health.
Yes, there are other things that I am thinking about too….emotional health and heavy metal toxicity, to name a few.
But digestive health is super important.
So now—for the Good News / Bad News part.
The Bad News about Digestive Health
1. The nutrients in our food supplies are severely depleted.
What we get from our food today is NOTHING like what we used to get. Check out these statistics:
- calcium levels in vegetables have dropped 12% from 1995-1997
- iron levels have dropped 37%
- vitamin A levels have dropped 21%
- vitamin C levels have dropped 30% (Source)
2. Auto-Immune Diseases and other diseases are on the rise:
- Between 2001 and 2009, Type 1 diabetes has increased by 23% (Source)
- The increase in cases of celiac disease has increased five-fold since the 1950s (Source)
- diagnoses of autism have increased 72 percent in 2011-12 from 2007 (Source)
- Cancer rates are on the increase and a French study suggests they could increase by 75% between now and 2030. (Source)
Now, I know there are other factors involved in all of these diseases, but I think it's pretty clear that our digestive systems are key in all of this.
I wrote about many issues that are compromising our health in my series on Candida and Gut Health.
You can eat all the grass-fed beef, whole grains (or no grains), organic fruits and greens you want, but if you can't get the nutrients out of your food, then your body doesn't get the fuel it needs to do its work.
So—that's pretty bad news, isn't it?
Things You Can Do for Better Gut Health
1. Avoid Processed Foods
2. Take Antibiotics Only When Necessary
3. Take Probiotics
4. Use Prebiotics
5. Eat a Varied Diet
7. Avoid Stress
8. Get Good Sleep