Gut Health

We have all heard the famous saying –
“you are what you eat”.
But when we talk about gut health it would be more accurate to say –
“you are what you absorb”.

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The gut is our gastrointestinal tract, and is integral to our overall health, affecting everything from our metabolism to our immune system function and even our mood. (Jamie Oliver)

I have spent my summer break trying to learn more about gut health.  My girlfriend spent many years fighting lyme disease and in the process she has learnt a lot about her gut. She has inspired me to take a look into my gut health.  I have started to read about things that I never knew existed!  It has been such an interesting journey already and I have only just scratched the surface. To negotiate my way through the complex jargon and topics of this new area of health research is going to be quite tricky for a junior primary teacher!!

When I typed ‘gut health’ into a google search about 88,500,000 results come up..!

Where do I start???

I decided to hit the book shops and found this:

Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Under-rated Organ by Giulia Enders.

gut-by-gulia-enders

Giulia writes in a really  entertaining and easy-to-read way and it is captivating from start to finish. I must admit there are a lot of words I had to google but overall it gave a great insight into the function and importance of our gut.

Here are a couple of reviews about it.

Enders argues that even scientists like her – a 24-year-old doctoral student at Frankfurt’s Goethe University – have only in recent years started to explore the possibility that the health of our bowels could have a more direct influence on our mental wellbeing, our motivation, memory and sense of morality than our DNA…

From – The Guardian

The key to living a happier, healthier life is inside us.

Our gut is almost as important to us as our brain or our heart, yet we know very little about how it works. In Gut, Giulia Enders shows that rather than the utilitarian and — let’s be honest — somewhat embarrassing body part we imagine it to be, it is one of the most complex, important, and even miraculous parts of our anatomy. And scientists are only just discovering quite how much it has to offer; new research shows that gut bacteria can play a role in everything from obesity and allergies to Alzheimer’s.

From – Scribe

I have almost come to the end of her book and I have enjoyed learning so much about gut health.   She answers questions like : Why does acid reflux happen? What’s really up with gluten and lactose intolerance? How does the gut affect obesity and mood? Communication between the gut and the brain is one of the fastest-growing areas of medical research—on par with stem-cell research. Our gut reactions, we learn, are intimately connected with our physical and mental well-being.(Good reads)

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This is a link to a great interview with Giulia Enders that helped me to understand more about her book and her area of research.

http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2015/s4266602.htm 

It is an area that intrigues me and I actually can’t wait to find out more.

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Jamie Oliver has also taken on this new area of research and on his webpage he explains it like this.

GUT MICROBIOTA

Microbiota is the name given to the trillions of microorganisms or bacteria living in our gut, made up from thousands of different species. It’s about 50% of our total bodily cells, and two-thirds of our gut microbiota is completely unique to us, similar to DNA.

When we’re in our mother’s womb our gut is sterile, meaning it’s completely free from these bacteria. During labour we acquire gut microbes from our mum’s body, as well as from the environment we’re born in and the air around us.

WHAT GUT MICROBIOTA DOES

When we feed our gut microbiota it increases in numbers, helping us to have a happy gut. As well as helping us to maintain a healthy digestive system, it:

•Helps us to break down foods that we cannot digest, specifically fibre, into energy that we can actually use

•Helps our immune system to fight infection and helps to prevent harmful bacteria from transferring into our bloodstream

•Helps with the production of some vitamins, such as:

◦Vitamin B12 – for healthy metabolism, immune and nervous system function, and red blood cell formation, keeping us awake and alert

◦Vitamin K – for strong healthy bones

◦Folate – preventing tiredness

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Another interesting clip that I found on gut bacteria is a two part episode from an Australian television program called Catalyst.

Catalyst : Gut reaction pt 1 – http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/4067184.htm

(part 2 next week)

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Phew… I think I have stumbled upon a subject that will take me quite some time to understand.

So, next week I am going to look at –

PROBIOTICS VS. PREBIOTICS

&

FIBRE and POO!

Until then, take a look in the toilet bowl and be amazed and what your gut has produced!!

poop

FEATURE IMAGE – What Does Your Gut Has To Do With Your Mood?

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