But more than trusting it, turn to healthy eating and to your diet to protect, cleanse, and strengthen it. The importance of our gut in defending the body against viruses and “bad” bacteria, in boosting our immune systems, and in preventing a range of disorders and illnesses, from neurological imbalances to cancers, is finally beginning to be understood and acknowledged. Take a look at our quick guide to recognising the symptoms of an unhealthy gut, and the steps you can take to redress imbalances.
According to Hippocrates, “All diseases begin in the gut”. While we know that not all diseases are related to gut imbalances, links are increasingly being made between poor gut health and a wide variety of chronic diseases. As the gut is the final barrier between the outside world and our bodies, it’s crucial that we shore up that barrier – largely made up of “good” bacteria (also known as “gut flora”) – as much as possible!
Modern food-processing methods are stripping foods of their nutrients which, coupled with our obsession with cleanliness, has resulted in the depletion of our gut flora. Because of this, even the healthiest of us should be taking preventative steps to protect our gut health – in particular by using a diet plan to build and strengthen our gut’s defences.
Healthy eating in itself is important – plenty of wholegrains, soluble fibre, and the avoidance of processed food – but as much as possible you should also incorporate food high in naturally occurring bacteria to bolster supplement your existing gut flora, such as:
- Fermented vegetables – particularly sauerkraut (which we include daily in the Pure Package’s paleo-inspired diet plan) and kimchi
- Natural yoghurt
- Naturally aged cheeses – which are also a great source of protein. Eat in small amounts if you are on a weight-loss diet
- Kefir (fermented milk) drinks
Symptoms of an unhealthy gut include:
- Abdominal bloating
- Sharp pain
- Exhaustion, brittle nails, and irritability (all arising from poor nutrient absorption).
Obviously, if you have any concerns about your gut, you should see your doctor.
However, if there are no underlying medical issues, it’s well worth making fundamental changes to your diet – in particular removing processed sugar and refined carbs, and letting nature – and bacteria – take its course!