When I ask you the question, what’s your gut say about you? What’s the first thing that comes to mind? Perhaps it’s something like, it’s always bloated, or I have gas a lot, or I seem to catch all the bugs going around.
Does any of this sound familiar? Have you heard that anywhere from 70-80% of your immune system comes from the health of your gut? This is why in some circles it’s referred to as your second brain.
There is so much going on inside our gut, it’s like a little city all of its own. It’s actually quite amazing. I read an interesting take on our immune system from my friend Wardeh that I thought I’d share because it helps put this into an easy to understand perspective.
A layer of bacteria protects the gut wall, also known as the digestive tract. In a healthy adult, that bacteria weighs between 2 and 4 ½ pounds. This is the heart of the immune system and here’s why.
Think of the digestive tract like a pasture. The gut wall itself is the soil. The beneficial bacteria that reside there are the various grasses, herbs and legumes covering the soil. These plants, a highly organized system, act as protection against invasion and erosion. There are some opportunistic plants in the pasture too, as well as various passerby floating in the wind, but the healthy plants keep everything at bay and tightly regulated by out-competing it all.
However, if the beneficial plants in this pasture are damaged, the soil will be exposed to anything else that comes along and takes root, such as a virus, fungus, pathogen, or toxin. Over time, further erosion and stripping occurs. Eventually, the enemy invaders may take over completely. They will continue damaging the soil, sucking up nutrients and spreading disease.
Remember, this analogy is about the gut and the microbial population. But don’t think for a second that what happens there is isolated. No, our overall health is intimately tied to this balance of organisms. When the good buys are in charge, they facilitate efficient absorption of nutrients from food. They neutralize potential toxins and anti-nutrients. They produce antibiotic, anti-tumor, anti-viral, and anti-fungal substances. And certainly not last or least, the acids they give off make the gut all an uncomfortably acidic place for pathogens.
There is so much evidence that suggests that compromised gut health leads to development of food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances. There are many others, including myself that believe that good gut health can improve these conditions, as well as reverse or significantly improve diseases such as depression, autism, dyslexia and other mental diseases.
This circles back to my belief in eating or consuming fermented foods and beverages daily as a way to supply our bodies with beneficial organisms to keep the health of our gut running smoothly. When our gut works optimally, it has the ability to nourish the rest of our body, which also includes the immune system.
The end result in this…..your immune system relies on the health of your gut. How healthy is yours?
I mentioned fermented foods and beverages as some of the sources for helping your gut stay healthy or if already compromised, help heal it or greatly improve it.
My love for fermented foods came about as an experiment really. The more I’ve dabbled in and taught classes of how to, the more I truly love the magnificent abilities that these foods have.
Not only is it a way to be super-efficient with our resources, saves time and money, but it has the ability to give so much more! Not only the pure pleasure of eating or drinking them, but the art and craft of preparing them.
Have you tried any fermented foods or consumed any fermented drinks? If so, what was your experience? Share below. I can’t wait to read your comments.
Here’s to abundant health,