Dr. Todd Pesek, MD
posted on March 13, 2014 08:15
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?