A plant's roots are critical to its survival. Roots are what anchor a plant to the ground and
they enable it to take what it needs from the soil to survive. As a human being you don't need
roots to anchor yourself to the grounds but you do need "roots" to extract what you need from
your environment and that's the function of your gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
There are many parallels we can draw between a plant's roots and your GI tract. Both assimilate nutrients, but both also help to digest nutrients for absorption. Roots break up soil
and even rock to make minerals available to the plant.
A plant's roots are covered with a biofilm of bacteria, fungi and other organisms, just like
you have a microbiome in the biofilm of your intestines. In both cases, the biofllm acts both
as a protective barrier and as an aid in assimilating nutrients.
The Roots of Health
When we talk about getting to the bottom of something we often use the metaphor of
"getting to the root of the matter." This is because roots are foundational. Your GI tract is
foundational to your health. It is the starting place for building health and no other organ or
system can fully heal until the gastrointestinal tract is supported.
Along with being responsible for assimilating the nutrition your body needs, your GI tract is
responsible for 70% of your ability to resist disease. So, without healthy guts you can't properly
defend your health against infections. It's no wonder guts are used as a metaphor for courage.
The Second Brain
Your intestines also serve as one of the major pathways of elimination. They quite literally
help the body get rid of crap it does not need. And, if that is not enough to convince you how
important the GI tract is to your health, consider this-your intestines produce numerous
neurotransmitters that influence your mood, which is why some researchers have referred to
them as the gut brain or second brain. So, it's hard to be in a good mood at all if your GI tract is out of whack.
It Starts with What You Put in Your Mouth
Of course, it all starts where the GI tract begins. We're talking about
what you put into your mouth.
If you want to grow a healthy plant, put it in good soil. Your body's soil is the food you ingest
and your GI tract will tell you whether the soil you're creating is good or bad through symptoms.
To help you understand this, let me use an analogy. If you were to put some cream or lotion
on your skin that had a chemical in it that your body found irritating, the effects would be
apparent rather quickly. Your skin would respond with an inflammatory process characterized
by redness, swelling and/or pain. When you see this, you'd most likely quit using that product
because you'd recognize it wasn't good for your skin.
Unfortunately, most people are often less aware when it comes to diet. What is sweet to
the tongue can be bitter to the belly. Processed foods often taste good, but when you consume
them regularly your guts complain. You get indigestion, acid reflux, belching, boating, diarrhea,
constipation and other GI tract problems.
You have to start connecting the dots by paying attention to
how you feel during the two or three hours after you eat certain
foods. Again just because it tastes good doesn't mean it's actually
good for you. So if you suffer ill health and especially if you suffer
GI tract problems as part of your ill health, start by changing what
you put into your mouth.
Nourishing Your Intestinal Roots
Although there is no one magic diet
that works for everyone, there are a few
general principles you can start with.
First, eat natural foods instead of
processed foods. Make vegetables
especially non-starchy ones, the bulk
of your diet, along with some fresh
fruits. Eat some raw food, as most raw
foods are easier to digest than cooked
food. In fact, even rare beef is easier to digest than well-done beef.
Second, any packaged foods that you eat should be minimally
processed and free of chemical additives. If you can't understand
what an ingredient on a label is, that is, if it sounds more like a
chemical than an actual food, consider buying something else. You
can also minimize your exposure to chemicals by eating organically
Stress and Your Gut Brain
Although diet is important, GI tract health isn't just about
the food you eat. Your digestive system is activated when you're
relaxed and shuts down when you're stressed. So, taking time to
relax when you eat is important to good GI tract health. If you are
stressed, there are herbs that relax the nerves and help the GI tract
at the same time. Chamomile is one of them. The herbal formula Stress-J was also created specifically to both calm the nerves and
aid digestive function. Mood Elevator can also be helpful for the
guts when you feel discouraged or depressed along with having
GI tract disturbances.
The Magic of Enzymes
The digestive system has to digest food to prepare it for assimilation. If your stomach is low in hydrochloric acid (HCI) or you
don't have enough enzymes or bile salts to properly break down
your food, then it will decompose rather than digest, causing gastric irritation and distress. Your enzyme levels are taxed when you
eat primarily cooked food, and they also tend to decline with age.
Digestive enzyme supplements can be extremely helpful in
maintaining gut health. Younger people can benefit from plant
enzyme supplements like Proactazyme. Older people will usually do better with Food Enzymes which supplements hydrochloric
acid, pancreatic enzymes and bile salts to help the body properly
digest fats, proteins and carbohydrates.
Low stomach acid is a serious problem for many people. If
you don't have sufficient stomach acid (HCI), your body doesn't
break down proteins properly nor can it absorb certain minerals
like calcium, phosphorus or zinc. Since zinc is needed for HCI
production, this can create a vicious cycle of declining digestive
function. Low stomach acid, oddly enough will actually cause
acid indigestion because it will allow food to ferment in the small
intestines producing both waste acid and gas.
So, if you have an acid stomach that starts about one hour
after eating and is accompanied by belching and/or bloating, you
may need an HCI supplement like Protein Digestive Aid (PDA). Taking antacids for this kind of acid indigestion will actually make
Building a Healthy Gut Biofilm
It is likely that the disruption of friendly
flora has a lot to do with the development of
serious GI tract diseases like Crohn's, Celiac,
colitis and irritable bowel syndrome (lBS),
as well as less serious digestive issues like
gas, bloating and acid indigestion. Studies
have shown improvements in ulcerative
colitis and other inflammatory disorders
after taking Probiotic supplements.
Improving gut flora enhances immune
resistance to infection, reduces allergic and autoimmune reactions,
improves digestive function, and can even enhance mood.
Build Stronger Gut
Imbalances in the friendly flora and intestinal inflammation
due to irritating substances in the GI tract can cause a widening
of the gap between intestinal cells. This causes excessive intestinal
permeability, a condition known as leaky gut. Leaky gut allows
substances that would normally be rejected by intestinal membranes
to be absorbed, causing irritation to the body as a whole.
There are supplements that can soothe this irritation and restore
proper tone to the intestinal membranes. Intestinal Soothe and
Build is an excellent formula for soothing intestinal irritation and
toning gut membranes. It works even better in combination with Stress-Jmentioned earlier.
Another great formula is Una de Gato (Cat's Claw Combination). It helps to normalize gut flora and tone the intestinal
membranes. Also consider single herbs like black walnut, marshmallow and licorice for reducing irritation and aiding the health
of intestinal membranes.
1. Our very existence is dependent upon the body's ability to utilize minerals because minerals activate enzymes! More about minerals
2. Digestive Enzymes: If food is not digesting properly, it creates waste that builds up downstream in the colon... an open door to toxicity & diseases! More Info
3. Probiotics: "Friendly gut bacteria play a crucial role in preventing diseases, from cancer to obesity". Dr. Robynne Chutkan M.D. More info