Gut Health 101
How important do you think your gut health is, to your immunity against viruses, flus and infections? The answer is, extremely important! Nearly 75% of our immune system relies on our intestinal health.
Do you think your immune system at risk? That all depends on the foods you eat and the bacteria you are choosing to feed.
Your immune system is a complex network that includes many processes and biological components, which serve as an army protecting you from trillions of invader germs that hang out in airports, yoga studios, grocery stores, shopping malls, the gym, public bathrooms, your door knob and even your cell phone and remote control!
Your immune system is also responsible for the communication of inflammatory responses through your body. This serves as a warning to you that something is out of whack and your system (the army within) is fighting
When you attack your own personal army by stress, dead / chemically altered / processed/ sugary / refined foods or over indulging over the weekend on pizza and beer, your immune system goes down the drain. The trouble with this is that over time, with repeated abuse, you’ll put yourself at a higher risk for autoimmune disorders such as:
- Crohn’s disease
Now let’s talk about good bacteria and bad bacteria. Not all gut bacteria is created equal and if you are eating a typical Western world/modern diet, you are likely contributing to the bad bacteria.
Our gut biome is comprised of more than 90 trillion bacteria cells. Bacteria cells are the most common type of cell in the human body!! Most of these bacteria cells reside in your guts and one of them in particular is directly linked to your immune system. It is called gut-associated-lymphoid tissue and it accounts for 70% of the immune tissue in the body.
Cells called lymphocytes are stored in this tissue. Lymphocytes attack foreign invaders and while doing so, create antibodies against them.
If you feed the "bad" bacteria, even a small amount of the stuff that causes them to rapidly multiply, they will kill the good bacteria. In this case, the bad overrides good.
The "bad" bacteria wants you to feed them:
- Highly refined carbs
- Processed foods, dairy
- Artificial sweeteners
- Vegetable oils
Now that you know and knowledge is power, YOU have the power to feed the good bacteria. What’s the best way to do that? EAT FERMENTED FOODS!!!
- Yogurt (homemade best and no added sugar)
Also eat plenty of cruciferous vegetables like kale and romaine. Veggies are a great source of nutrients and feed good bacteria, not the bad ones. Eggs are great too! We recommend limiting animal protein (for various reasons we’ll discuss in another blog post) but healthy grassfed/free range meats that are humanely treated and live healthy long lives don’t feed the bad bacteria, so long as you eat fermented foods and veggies with it.
Recipe for Homemade Sauerkraut
1 head of green or red cabbage
Sea of Himalayan pink salt
Chop the cabbage into thin pieces and sprinkle salt all over it. Leave one leaf for the finishing touch. Massage the salt into the cabbage (the same way you’d massage salt into kale.) Then pack the salted cabbage tight into the mason jar. Using a wooden spoon or pestle works great. Make sure there aren’t air pockets and really jam that cabbage in there. Add a little water (2 - 4 T is sufficient and I find that purple cabbage needs the water more than green cabbage.) Put the leaf on top of the chopped cabbage and ;eave about 1.5 inches between the top of the cabbage and the lid of the mason jar.
Place jar in a warm and dark place and leave it for 2 days. Then burp the jar daily or every other day for the next week. It depends on how warm it is in the location the jar is in, but you could have sauerkraut in as little as 6 days!
Eat daily and enjoy with at least one meal/day.