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You know the old cliché telling you to “listen to your gut”? Well, it’s actually true, except it is referring not only to intuition, but also to digestion. Some 2400 years ago, Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, said that “All disease begins in the gut.” We are only now coming to understand the scope of this statement—and that he was absolutely correct.  The science is clear on the fact that gut health is crucial to overall health.

An imbalanced digestive system contributes to modern maladies such as chronic inflammation, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, anxiety, depression, arthritis and chronic fatigue to name a few. With this in mind, supporting gut health should be one of your most important preventive health goals. There are two major components to supporting your gut health: optimizing your intestinal flora, and supporting the integrity of your digestive lining.

To assist with maintaining healthy digestive flora, take a good probiotic dietary supplement regularly. One of my absolute favorites for probiotic dietary supplements are made by Garden of Life—there are a lot of great probiotic supplements out there, have a look. In addition, follow my Eat Yourself Super strategy by incorporating Superfoods or plant-based, calorie-sparse, nutrient-rich, health-empowering foods. A diet such as this will provide a bounty of prebiotics which feed and support the growth of good bacteria. Some specific foods that are great in this regard are raw onions and garlic, bananas, artichoke and greens, particularly dandelion greens. Be sure to get your daily dose of fermented Superfoods and drinks such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha for an extra boost.

To facilitate digestion and support that important lining—the link between your food and your body—incorporate your Superfoods, manage your sugars and fats, know your source and avoid processed items.  Remember to snack regularly (but not constantly) on healthy options throughout the day, effectively delivering frequent nutrient-dense bursts to your system. I like to keep sprouted almonds and pumpkin seeds and raw veggies on hand to sustain my energy, boost brain power, fend off hunger pangs, and give my gut what it needs.

Next, stay hydrated. If your urine output is not clear and regular throughout the day, then you need more water. And always drink pure water: spring water or appropriately filtered tap water are my top two choices, respectively.

Lastly but very importantly: you want to mitigate or eliminate stress and move your body daily! We were not meant to sit all day, and doing so can wreak havoc on your digestive system.  Superfoods, water, and movement will equal a happy system, and a healthy body. Now aren’t you glad you and your gut had this talk?

Be well,

Dr. Todd

Actions: E-mail | Comments (8)

Comments

83. ellen
Thursday, March 13, 2014 3:36 PM
Will taking a probiotic helpful in combating bad bateria in gut
or just as a precaution

Will eating organic yogurt help
Thursday, March 13, 2014 3:42 PM
BThanks for your advice. I have acid reflex and a hiatel hernia, so I have to eat often during the day. I exercise almost every day. I also have a tummy I would like to reduce in size :>). Any suggestions?
86. Michelle
Thursday, March 13, 2014 8:23 PM
What is a good probiotic number to start with? I seen some with 5 billion to 32 billion to 500 billion. Is there a good starting point?
87. Susan
Thursday, March 13, 2014 8:30 PM
I would love to hear your answer to "toby perry." That is exactly my situation: hiatel hernia, acid reflex, large tummy. The acid reflex requires Prilosec, Nexium or Prevacid. I'm 73 and very active.

Please respond, Dr. Todd and thank you!
Susan
Friday, March 14, 2014 2:54 PM
I am in the same boat as Toby Perry . . . so I need that same advice! Thx!
96. Michael Saltzman
Saturday, March 15, 2014 12:06 PM
Do you need a Heinen's Card to cash a Gut Check?
97. Cathy Doerrman
Monday, March 24, 2014 10:11 AM
WOW, we knew gut health was an important issue and your responses have confirmed the need to pay close attention to it. Several general observations I think would be helpful. Probiotics are fundemental to our overall health. Research is coming out everyday that is proving their benefit to us. So yes I would take probioitcs everyday because everyday all sorts of bacteria is entering our bodies thru our eating, drinking and breathing. All bacteria would love to set us house in our nice warm dark digestive tract; so the more friendly, health giving bacteria we introduce the better. How many you take depends on your particular situation. Natasha Trenev, a leading expert in probiotics, suggest at least 2 billion colong forming units of each bacteria per day for maintenance of good health. Under stress, taking medications especially antibiotics, eating out can all indicate a need for greater supplementation. A personal converstaion with any of our wellness consultants would help you make the best choice.
98. Cathy Doerrman
Tuesday, March 25, 2014 8:35 AM
Regarding specific conditions such as acid reflux, hiatal hernia and belly fat there can be a number of causes (as well as several simultaneous things taking place). I have had good results myself by taking a powder or chewable probiotic for acid reflux. The specific probiotic, Lactobacillus Bulgaricus (found in some yoghurt) relaxes the muscles of the digestive tract thereby allowing the flap at the top of your stomach to close; thereby keeping your stomach acids where they belong. It is also advised to eat raw fruit and vegetables with your meals (they have naturally occurring enzyme that facilitate digestion and move food out of the stomach faster), chew your food slowly and completely, avoid liquids during the meal (the dilute the action of enzymes) and take digestive enzymes at the beginning of the meal.

With regard to belly fat and losing weight; I like to take a bit of a wait and see approach. Because probiotics increase enzyme activity there can be a marked increase in absorption and utilization of nutrients from you food. This in turn may decrease your appetite because you are now accessing the nutrients in your food. After 6-8 weeks of probiotic supplementation. continue this conversation with your wellness consultant and see what your next steps could be.

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