The first and most overlooked reason that our digestive tracts are critical to our health is because 80 percent of our entire immune system is located in our digestive tract. That is an astounding percentage.
In addition to the impact on our immune systems, our digestive systems are the second largest part of our neurological system. It’s called the enteric nervous system and is located in the gut. This is why it’s called our second brain!
If these issues and many others are connected to our gut health, then what elements are essential for digestive health?
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, upward of 60 million to 70 million Americans are affected by digestive diseases. In addition, digestive disease and disorders cost the U.S. over $100 billion per year.” (1)
These statistics are staggering, yet poor gut health actually affects much greater numbers than these statistics illustrate. That’s because our digestive health affects every physiological system in our body.
The many toxins we’re subjected to today decrease digestive function, affecting our ability to utilize nutrients and rid ourselves of cholesterol, triggering chronic inflammation in the body, which is the cause of many chronic conditions and diseases. The secret to restoring your digestive health is all about balancing out the good and bad bacteria in your gut. If you’re going to be healthy, you MUST consider consuming probiotic-rich foods and supplements daily.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are bacteria that line the digestive tract and support the body’s ability to absorb nutrients and fight infection. There are actually 10 times more probiotics in our gut then cells in our body! Our skin and digestive system by themselves host about 2,000 different types of bacteria. Probiotics benefits have been proven effective in supporting immune function and healthy digestion, as well as beautiful skin.
The good gut bacteria is also responsible for:
- Producing vitamin B12, butyrate and vitamin K2
- Crowding out bad bacteria, yeast and fungi
- Creating enzymes that destroy harmful bacteria
- Stimulating secretion of IgA and regulatory T-cells
Probiotics have been in our systems right from the moment that we stepped into the world. When a newborn is in the birth canal of the mother during delivery, that’s when the baby is exposed to the bacteria of his or her mother for the first time. This starts as a chain of events inside the baby’s GI tract, and the infant’s GI tract starts to produce good bacteria.
If you don’t have enough probiotics, the side effects can include digestive disorders, skin issues, candida, autoimmune disease, and frequent colds and flus.
Historically, we had plenty of probiotics in our diets from eating fresh foods from good soil and by fermenting our foods to keep them from spoiling.
However, because of refrigeration and dangerous agricultural practices like soaking our foods with chlorine, our food contains little to no probiotics today, and most foods actually contain dangerous antibiotics that kill off the good bacteria in our bodies.
Benefits of adding more probiotic foods into our diet
- Stronger immune system
- Improved digestion
- Increased energy from production of Vitamin B12
- Better breath because probiotics destroy candida
- Healthier skin, since probiotics naturally treat eczema and psoriasis
- Reduced cold and flu
- Healing from leaky gut syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease
- Weight loss
Get More Probiotics in Your System
- Consume more sour foods. Embrace what I call the power of sour and sour foods like apple cider vinegar, specifically, and fermented vegetables. Start with adding one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a drink two times a day. Before breakfast and lunch or breakfast and dinner, add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in your meal, and then start consuming more fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and kimchi, or drinking kvass.
- Consume more probiotic-rich foods like high-quality goat milk yogurt, kefir or even different types like coconut kefir.
- To naturally boost probiotics in your system, start to feed the probiotics. Probiotics are living organisms and if they’re going to live in your body, they need fuel, something to feed off. They need good soil and that soil is fermentable fiber.
- Getting good, high-quality fiber like chia seeds, flaxseeds in your diet can actually cause probiotics to increase in your body. And the best type of fiber is soluble fiber, known as fermentable fiber. Taking a quality probiotic supplement is a great way to get more probiotics and naturally boost the good probiotics in your system.
Reprinted with permission from Dr. Josh Axe, who leads one the world’s largest natural health websites at www.DrAxe.com
Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS is a certified doctor of natural medicine, doctor of chiropractic and clinical nutritionist. In 2008, he started Exodus Health Center with a passion to help people get healthy by using food as medicine.