Did you know the health of your digestive system will influence the health of every other organ and body system?
The large intestine is often called ‘the mothership of health’ because it impacts every other organ in your body.
The digestive tract is the only system that is separated by the rest of our internal body by a long tube running from our mouth to our anus. Nutrients are the only things that should be getting into the bloodstream through tiny gaps in the gut lining. This is unless you have inflammation and other issues that lead to leaky gut and those gaps grow larger. Leaky gut is where large food particles & bacteria escape and wage an immune response causing food intolerances and inflammation all over the body.
The health of your digestive system is also crucial for a strong immune system. About 70% of your immune system resides in your gut.
Consider these 2 big factors when you want to improve the health of your digestive system. They can really send the balance of your digestive tract out of whack.
2 Big Factors Influencing Your Gut Health:
More research is coming out on this and the medical system is finally waking up to the fact that we have a gut-brain axis. Our gut is now being called our ‘second brain’, due to its enteric nervous system which relies on the same types of neurons and neurotransmitters that are found in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). It regulates intestinal contractions that push the food farther along, breaking it down into nutrients and waste.
Everything that happens in the brain affects the gut and vice versa.
The huge impact stress has not only on the digestive system, but on the health of our entire body, is also much more researched.
The gut/brain axis is connected mainly by the large nerve called the vagus nerve. Ever wonder why you can feel butterflies in your tummy when you’re stressed, nervous or excited?
This is why!
There’s hundreds of millions of neurons in the gut which function fairly independently and are in constant communication with the brain. Stress can affect this gut-brain axis & communication. This may trigger symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain and other digestive discomfort to be felt more easily.
Along with all those neurons, the gut is also home to trillions of bacteria which can also influence the brain’s health. This can impact the ability to think and it affects emotions. Stress is associated with changes in gut bacteria which in turn can influence mood. More than 80% of the body’s supply of serotonin is made in the gut. The digestive system uses this to communicate and interact with the central nervous system.
Stress leads to a flight-or-fight response, which is the sympathetic nervous system. In this state, digestion slows down. It may even stop as it wasn’t required for survival which is why this system evolved in humans in the first place.
Stress can also affect what nutrients the intestines absorb. The intestines have a tight barrier to protect the body from (most) food related bacteria & large particles getting into the blood stream. Stress can weaken the intestinal wall and allow gut bacteria to enter the body. Most of these bacteria are attacked by the immune system and don’t make you sick, but the constant low grade inflammation can lead to chronic mild symptoms and food intolerances.
Stress especially affects people with chronic bowel disorders, such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
To heal the gut and keep a healthy digestive system, it’s essential to decrease and manage stress within the body as much as possible. Chronic stress is what causes the most issues.
Sugar induces a state of stress on our bodies. It’s highly toxic in quantities more than the body can handle on a daily basis and it’s inflammatory. There are many different forms of sugar. Each form can impact digestion differently.
Sugars can affect the balance of your microbiome. If you eat a lot of sugar, you may feed the bacteria and other micro organisms that feed off sugar such as candida. This may lead to overgrowth. Conditions such as SIBO (small intestinal overgrowth) and IBS react to fructose and other FODMAPS. This causes fermentation leading to IBS symptoms such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation.
For those without IBS, this could still be a concern. Polyols, which are naturally occurring sugars found in foods and synthetically made, are also FODMAPs and may have a similar effect as fructose.
With these conditions, removing sugars is essential to help clear out the overgrowth and rebalance the gut microbiome.
Sugar increases cortisol levels which is one of the main stress hormones. Cortisol works to suppress the immune system if levels remain elevated too long. As mentioned earlier, a high level of cortisol will shut down the digestive process. If it remains high, then it won’t allow you to digest or absorb your food well.
It’s important to understand what is going on in your digestive system. To address the imbalances while eliminating the sugars that lead to more inflammation and worsen symptoms.
When you’re eating too much fruit, honey, maple syrup or agave, I invite you to pay attention to how they make you feel. This could be a sign of fructose malabsorption, IBS or SIBO.
We all know the Holiday Season can be fueled with all kinds of sugary treats and often stress. Have you noticed any digestive symptoms creep up over the Holidays?
Take time out for yourself, for relaxation and to recharge into the New Year. Enjoy your fave treats, but try to eat & drink in moderation with lots of vegetables and wholefoods to nourish your body and keep your tummy happy.
If you’re feeling bloated after the Holiday Season or suffering from any other digestive issues, giving your digestive system a well-deserved RESET could be very beneficial.
Download your FREE Reset + Recharge 3-Day Sugar Detox to give your body the break it deserves after all the indulging and to reset your eating habits.
Not only will you detox from refined sugar for 3 days, but also gluten, diary, processed foods, meat and alcohol. All of which cause inflammation and digestive imbalances if consumed regularly.
Give your gut some loving to feel energised, lighter & full of vitality to start the New Year!
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