Discover these 7 amazing facts about your stomach

The Good Life Letter 

30th July 2017

On Friday I wrote about how stress can seriously affect how our gut works.

Today I want to explain something truly amazing about this body system that we sometimes choose to ignore, yet actually holds the key to our daily lives, our emotions and above all else our health.

Just to get you thinking here are some amazing facts about the gut:

  • Around 70% of your immune system is located in the alimentary canal. This means that your body defence is largely dependent on good gut function.

  • The feel good hormone, called serotonin, is principally made in the gut (80-90% of all serotonin produced). In fact the gut manufacturers more neurotransmitters than are made in the brain and central nervous system.

  • Your gut contains a constellation of bacteria, fungi and other creatures known as the microbiome. Most of these are harmless and without them we would not survive – bear in mind that there is 100 times more DNA in these creatures than in your entire body!

  • The digestive tract has its own ‘brain’ known as the ENS (Enteric Nervous System) which connects directly to the brain via the vagal nerve, through the central nervous system through spinal nerves and the autonomic nervous system too. The ENS ensures that even if all of these connections were cut it would continue to work.

  • Gut feeling is real – researchers have shown that the input from the gut is interpreted as emotions by the brain. Different foods stimulate the tract in differing ways either by chemical interaction or by texture; this is the basis of cravings.

  • Digestive insufficiencies contribute to a wide range of health issues, including migraine headaches, depression, arthritis, foggy thinking, autoimmune illness, autism, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, multiple sclerosis, and more.

  • Your gut lining is only one cell thick and replaces itself every few days. It is worth remembering that the contents of the tract are actually outside the body as it is basically a tube through us with a closure at each end, so this single cell lining is critical in our physical defence system.

Discover how you can look after this vitally important system – click here

Is your gut under attack?

Until you started reading this had you ever thought about the importance of your digestive tract to your health?
Sure when we get an upset tummy, bloating or flatulence we might give it a once over, but usually we think of it as a waste disposal system...and being British something we don’t usually talk about.

But now you know a little more about it perhaps it is time that you started to do more to look after your poor overworked and undervalued abdominal system.

Foods that are rich in fibre are the first place to start looking if you want to help your gut along.

In the past when people have talked about high fibre foods they usually start talking about bran and oatmeal which really doesn’t excite me but there are other, much more interesting options such as lentils, artichokes, broccoli and perhaps surprisingly raspberries and blackberries too.

These allow the muscular movements of the walls of the alimentary canal to work effectively and also stimulate the feel good factor through the nervous system I described above.

Eating for a healthy gut really isn’t hard; in fact it is the mantra I have been advocating for many years now – fresh, seasonal and local. Nice crisp salads, free range chicken and fresh fish are always popular but don’t overlook the chance to make satisfying soups and stews with a bit of added pearl barley too.

The danger is that as soon as someone in the press starts to mention healthy gut function it usually ends up as a promotion for a probiotic preparation.

These milk/yoghurt based products often claim to contain all of the essential helpful bacteria that your gut needs to recharge itself, but in reality they are sugar rich imposters that do little to help your intestines at all.

Find out a much better way to keep your gut on an even keel – the French way!


A common cause of your discomfort

Over eating is not uncommon at this time of year with the BBQs out and big family gatherings, plus the annual holidays where we all indulge a little too much... or is that just me?

This leads to feeling bloated and occasionally some reflux or heartburn.

But these are conditions that we can understand and also deal with by being a little more abstemious and try not to get snared by too much rich food, sweet desserts and alcohol.

However, one often misunderstood problem is also self-generated, in a way.

Do you regularly take drugs such as ibuprofen, diclofenac or aspirin? What about co-codamol or codeine? Well a little known side effect of these medications is that they completely disrupt the function of the gut and in some cases actually destroy that precious single layer of lining cells.

Symptoms such as constipation, nausea and acid reflux and even stomach ulcers have been shown to be directly caused by these commonly taken preparations – yet very few doctors tell us about them.

Long term use of these pain killers and anti-inflammatories is not uncommon in this day and age; however the warnings of their effects are often hidden in the small print.

If you have been taking any of these drugs for over six months it is worth asking your doctor or pharmacist for alternatives, or you could try a daily dose of turmeric instead, which has been used for thousands of years as an anti-inflammatory as well as a tonic for the gut.

So, let’s be clear about this shall we.

It is time we all thought a little more about our amazing, interesting and surprising digestive tracts and started to do more to look after it and achieve better health as a result.

A great way to start is to begin using this well proven and very popular natural tonic – you won’t regret it

Yours, as always


Ray

 

 


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