Let’s keep it really simple here. Those who want to study biology probably already have, and those who don’t … won’t. Our goal isn’t to help you get through medical school, but to help you get through life. And that, my friend, requires a discussion about food and digestion.
You can’t have one without the other.
Back to the basics of health
The human body is often likened to an automobile. Our food is our fuel and we can only run as well as the quality of the gasoline (says the analogy). If you’ve ever filled up at a cut-rate gas station, then sputtered down the road wondering why your car is running so poorly, you know exactly how that works.
Our diets have changed in a big, big way in the past century. Prior to the rise of industrialism and the exodus from farm to city, most people ate fresh foods from their own garden and traded with the farmer down the road for anything lacking at home. Food came from fertile soil. Nothing was labeled “Organic;” everything was organic.
Fast forward 100 years and most people could not live without the supermarket. They have no idea how to cultivate a garden, milk a cow, or build a chicken coop. In Florida, when a hurricane is on the way, store shelves are all but depleted of goods within a day. It’s an odd thing to see, something that can open the eyes of the most enthusiastic supporter of our “advancements in technology.”
It’s often observed that we are the most overfed and undernourished people ever to live on Earth. That is why obesity and malnutrition can go hand-in-hand. They are an odd couple, but that’s an adequate assessment of our overall health.
What’s gut got to do, got to do with it?
What’s gut but nutrient absorbtion… If what goes in, must go out, the system that makes that happen is known as your “gut function.” From first bite to final bowel movement, your intestines move what you eat through the body – taking energy and nutrition from the food during the process – then eliminating the waste. When you eat well, you tend to function well, your body is exceptionally efficient at its job, always seeking to keep you healthy and energized.
But sometimes things go wrong. Whether brought on by a nutritionally poor diet, foods laced with toxins, prescription drugs that upset your internal balance, or some other means – gut function gone awry can have serious, even life-threatening consequences.
Here are some of the possibilities:
- GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
- Candida albicans overgrowth, leading to Candidiasis (yeast infection)
- Heart burn, chest pain, difficulty swallowing
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Bloating, constipation, diarrhea
- Leaky gut syndrome
- Autoimmune disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Crohn’s Disease
This is not an exhaustive list. Gut problems are widespread, and they can affect every other system in your body. From skin eruptions to psychological problems, gut problems can have wide-reaching effects throughout the body. And much of the function of your intestinal tract depends on the little critters that populate it. Consider this: About three pounds of your body weight is made up of bacteria. Some are “good” and some are “bad.” The idea is to keep the good guys winning, and the term we have for them is “probiotics.”
This article is the beginning of a series focused on gut function. We will take a close look at what science knows, what science postulates, and what researchers from many disciplines are saying about gut function and gut flora.
Should you have questions or concerns, do contact Stockton Aloe 1 and let us know.
Have you heard a fitness instructor refer to exercises for “building the core”? That’s exactly what we are talking about here. Your gut is the core of your health. It is the place that supports all other body functions. We are going to be encouraging you, not just to learn about gut function, but to take steps to improve yours. And we’ll be walking right along beside you, practicing what we preach.
Watch for coming articles and, please, leave your comments below.