The gut does so more than just digestion of our food. Our gut microbiome (the genetic material of all the microbes – bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses – that live in our gut) controls how we feel and our mental state, controls inflammation, regulates hormones, balances blood sugar, and enhances our immune system. In fact, 70 to 80 percent of your immune cells are located in your gut lining which begins in your mouth and extends through your stomach and intestines. This gut barrier stands between you and disease protecting you from flus, viruses, and many ailments. Yes, even COVID-19!
Here are six facts you need to know about your gut:
Our diet may be harming our gut.
Refined carbohydrates and sugar, fried foods, gluten, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, pesticide residues, and any foods you are personally allergic to can weaken and irritate our gut. With high pesticide residue being found in my body, I now eat organic as much as possible. I don’t worry about the fruits and vegetables that have low pesticide residue. https://www.ginnybrant.com/whats-clean-and-dirty-on-ewgs-2020-produce-list
Eating probiotic foods enhances our gut.
Probiotic foods include fermented vegetables and sauerkraut, apple cider vinegar, and yogurt. I put a few tablespoons of organic fermented vegetables and coconut yogurt in my daily smoothie. The chocolate covers the fermented vegetable taste. In the morning, I drink a hot lemon and apple cider vinegar tonic to jumpstart my day. To top it off, I take a probiotic supplement daily.
Eating lots of plants enriches our gut lining.
And the more plants, the better. The fiber in these plants feeds the good bacteria in our gut in addition to regulating our bowels and removing toxins. I recommend eating 10 plants per day. Plants include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, lentils, herbs, etc. These plants also provide antioxidants and phytochemicals which boost our immune system.
The gut influences the brain.
What happens in the gut doesn’t stay in the gut. If you have an increase in the permeability of the gut, you will see an increase in the permeability of the blood-brain barrier, which protects the brain. As the daughter of a father who declined from Alzheimer’s disease, I’m nourishing my gut on a daily basis. I want to prevent this disease that caused my family so much pain.
Many autoimmune diseases can be traced to the health of your gut lining.
When the gut lining is not healthy, macronutrients which are not suppose to get through, leak through this lining causing inflammation throughout the body. When this lining is properly nourished with probiotics such as yogurt and fermented foods along with prebiotic fiber from fruits and vegetables, it allows the good nutrients to flow throughout our body and keeps the bad stuff out. Research shows that a healthy gut can take care of many germs and viruses that enter our bodies. Our gut is an important part of our God-designed, protective armor that also protects us from cancer and many chronic diseases.
Medications can irritate your gut lining.
Proton Pump Inhibitors (antacids), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin, Advil, and pain medications), antibiotics, and chemotherapy all damage the gut lining. Antibiotics and chemotherapy are the worst. As a cancer patient, my naturopathic doctor gave me supplements to protect my gut. I also ate gut-enriching foods. But when chemotherapy was over, I went on an all-out mission to restore my gut. Protecting and restoring your gut should be a main goal of a chemotherapy patient. Many of the side effects of chemotherapy come as a result of the gut lining being destroyed.
The importance of a healthy gut was one of the last steps I learned in the cancer journey. Thank goodness, my nutritionist and naturopathic doctor had my back. Nourishing and protecting this gut allowed me to suffer fewer side effects and kept my immune system hovering just below normal. Since chemotherapy, I’ve rebuilt this important gut lining so it is thriving. As a result, I’ve not caught the usual cold, flus, or stomach viruses that normally come around. And so far, no COVID-19!
When our gut is sealed and healed, our immune system is strong and armed to attack foreign invaders like COVID-19. Healing your gut is a great way to restore your health and prevent disease. Next week, we’ll look at ways we can support a healthy gut.
My gut was last on my list, when it should have been first. How many of you knew how important your gut was to the health of your entire body?
For Your Health,
Ginny Dent Brant is a speaker and writer who grew up in the halls of power in Washington, DC. She has battled cancer, ministered around the world, and served on the front lines of American culture as a counselor, educator, wellness advocate, and adjunct professor. Brant’s award-winning book, Finding True Freedom: From the White House to the World, was endorsed by Chuck Colson and featured in many TV and media interviews. Unleash Your God-Given Healing was released in May 2020 after her journey with cancer and was recently awarded the First Place Golden Scrolls Award for Memoirs and was written with commentary from an oncologist. Learn more and cancer and wellness prevention blog and book information at www.ginnybrant.com.