Clean Cut Fitness & Nutrition

The Gut .. AKA our Second Brain

Nov 17, 2021


Did you ever think about how we actually digest?  

Like all systems in our bodies we take digestion for granted and hope the system works.  Choices we make over time will affect all systems, good or bad.  Digestion is the key system to overall health.  It all begins here….

The moment you take a bite of food there is a rapid response of enzymes from your tongue.  Our teeth start the breakdown of the food, and then it travels down the esophagus to our stomach.  The extremely high level of stomach acid continues to break apart the food.  This acid is so high it must be neutralized. The pancreas kicks into gear and neutralizes the acid so that waste? can safely move to the small intestines.  This is where the communication between the brain and gut happens.  In comes the liver releasing bile to finish off digestion so nutrients from food can be absorbed.  The nutrients pass from the small intestines into the bloodstream and lymphatic system and create energy.  FOOD is ENERGY!!!

The large intestine is responsible for all the material we do not digest.  This remaining food is what supports the microbes in our gut.  Microbes support our immune system, intestinal lining and fight against disease.

The foods and habits we choose create a healthy or unhealthy gut microbiome.

If the flora (bacteria) in our gut is happy -- so is our health!  Research shows that an off-balance gut can lead to poor metabolism,  poor absorption of nutrients, and a compromised immune system.  A poor diet and unhealthy gut will lead to inflammation which is a major reason for disease and dysfunction of all systems, even your brain.

Healthy GUT=Healthy YOU.

A person has about 300 to 500 different species of bacteria in their digestive tract.

Many things in life including high stress levels, not enough sleep, processed and high-sugar foods, and overuse of antibiotics can damage our gut microbiome.  

A balanced gut has less difficulty processing food and eliminating waste, leading to less bloat and gas.  The bacteria are what actually break down our food and the byproduct is gas.  When we have the right bacteria, we have less waste.

A diet high in processed foods and added sugars can decrease the good bacteria in your gut. When the bad bacteria take over, the intestinal walls become damaged, leaving holes for the bad bacteria to get out and other toxins to get in. This is known as leaky gut. This imbalance can cause increased sugar cravings, weight gain, brain fog and joint pain because the bad bacteria are sending the messages to the brain.

A probiotic is a great way to support a healthy gut. It should be taken daily to support the growth of our healthy collection of bacteria (flora) in our large intestine.  Adding this in daily, whether first thing in the morning before you eat, or maybe at night, can help increase the good flora.

You can also get ample beneficial bacteria from fermented foods like sauerkraut and kefir (fermented milk).  Maybe drinking or eating a serving a day might be just what you need.

However, a probiotic does need a prebiotic. What is a prebiotic? And what does it actually do? It means “Before Life”. A prebiotic is a non-digestible food (fiber) that can get through the intestines unchanged and will ferment and become the needed food for the probiotic.  Chia seeds are one example.  Prebiotics allow the good bacteria to double, creating a healthy gut.  Any type of cooking, even steaming, changes the composition of food so that’s why the fiber needs to be in its natural state.  

Here's a list of some (raw) foods with prebiotics:

  • Chia seeds
  • Chicory root
  • Dandelion
  • Garlic
  • Leaks
  • Onion (this one can be cooked a little)
  • Asparagus
  • Wheat bran
  • Banana
  • Real cranberry juice (Trader Joe’s carries this)
  • Fermented sauerkraut

Our top pick probiotics:

  • Health Research Institute
  • IMD Complete
  • Renew life (in the capsulated package) or the ones that need refrigeration 
  • Symbiotic 365 (this comes with a Prebiotic of chicory root)
  • Nature’s Bounty
  • Garden of Life
  • Culturelle

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