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Why wellness is a gut feeling

There are wellness trends that come and go, but then there are realisations and developing knowledge that simply gain more and more credence as time goes on, and gut health is one of them.


Widely recognised as the body’s ‘second brain’ in recent years, everyone from nutritionists to doctors have been taking gut health more and more seriously when treating everything from obesity to stress. Neurologists are leading the way in gut health because they are finding that even in schizophrenic patients they see positive changes by getting diet right. Even Hypocrates said the gut was the foundation of health, and in the 1700s they believed that mental health problems start in the gut.

Hypocrates said the gut was the foundation of health

In short, the theory goes that if you have inflammation in the gut you will have inflammation in the brain, and equally, if you have a head injury you can develop a condition called a leaky gut which is when the layer of cells that line the intestinal wall become irritated and stop working the way they should.

The result is that larger, undigested food molecules and other ‘stuff’ that your body normally doesn’t allow through, will flow freely into your bloodstream. That is then linked to conditions such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, or inflammatory bowel disease, and other knock on effects such as tiredness, eczema, acne and a poor immune system… obviously there are a few stages before all of that, and there’s a very wide spectrum of food sensitivities that can be early indicators, not to mention the fact that everyone is different.  The bottom line is that the gut is responsible for a lot more of our wellbeing than we might historically have given it credit for.

So what can we do to help look after this all important central hub of health?

Many of the recommendations will not surprise you, but it may explain some of the obsessions of nutritionists and dieticians.

  • Firstly, limiting the amount of refined sugars, processed foods, preservatives, refined flours, and flavourings is something we should all take seriously as they introduce large amounts of chemicals into the body.
  • Take stress seriously as chronic stress can suppress the immune system and thus increase inflammation in the gut.
  • Take care with prescriptions and medications as they can have a knock on effect in the gut, irritating the intestinal lining and decreasing the mucosal levels. You can support the gut by getting good bacteria into it. Sauerkraut is amazing for this and so simple to make, yoghurt has some good bacteria in it and kefir is amazing.
  • Have warm water with raw apple cider vinegar before meals - it’s an amazingly good way to stimulate digestion and it’s really simple. Just make sure when you buy it that it’s from a health food shop and that it’s unfiltered or raw - it should look cloudy rather than clear.
  • Chew your food properly and try not to eat when you’re tired or stressed out. When you sit down to eat, make time for it and be present. When and how you eat is extremely important.


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