Hippocrates – Father of Modern Medicine, Greece, 1400BC
The study of gastrointestinal disorders dates back to Ancient Greek times, when Hippocrates – known as the Father of Modern Medicine, announced that “all diseases begin in the gut”.
Well, we probably will never know how he derived this hypothesis however this is what we know today through scientific studies. The human gut surface area measures about the same size as a regular tennis court and its responsibility is to break down and digest proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. This is all we’ve known up until recently.
Our gut is a precious eco-system of micro-organisms, which includes fungi, viruses, yeasts and bacteria, known as the gut microbiome and it resides in the large intestine. The gut is now also being referred to as the “Sixth Sense” as it receives and interprets information from its microbiome. It is not just a digestive processing organ as we have always known it to be, instead, the gut microbiome is in constant interaction with the oral cavity, the stomach, the small bowel, and the colon. It processes and interprets the bacterial and viral signals, modulates and controls gut metabolism, and directly affects emotional states, brain function, and neuron survival. It is the portal and controller of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and motor neuron disease and has attributed to most common autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, ulcerative colitis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Harvard Medical School recently shared a new study that made the same point about diet. It confirmed the microbiome benefits of eating foods like spinach, nuts, whole grains, fish, and eggs and added another point: The less processed the foods were, the better and more diverse the protective gut microbes were.
“Emphasizing minimally processed plant foods allows the gut microbiome to thrive, providing protection against, or decreasing the risk of, chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, metabolic disease, and obesity,” according to the April 2021 Harvard Medical School article.
So enough about the science, let’s now look out for the following signs that something is not quite right with your gut. Do you experience any of the following?
- Food sensitivities or allergies
- Recurring digestive problems like gas and bloating
- Weight change
- Skin issues like eczema and acne
- Mood swings
- Difficulty concentrating
If any of the above resonates with you, a good place to start is by healing your gut. Start by introducing some good sources of probiotics, you can either take this as a supplement or include foods such as kefir, yoghurt, kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, to name a few. Then don’t forget to feed those good bacteria that you’ve introduced into your body, by including prebiotics in the form of fibre-rich foods, such as kale, broccoli, cabbage, roots (chicory and dandelion roots), whole grains, nuts & seeds, legumes, berries and raw cacao powder. Up to 25 grams of fibre a day is a good start.
And finally, avoid the following:
- Processed Foods
- Fast Food
By eliminating these foods and including good sources of pre and probiotics, you will be on your way to creating an optimal healthy gut to help prevent disease, and support you to lead a healthy life.
Yours in wellness,