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Walk into any health food store and I'm sure you will be dazzled by the sheer number of products devoted to digestive health! Shelves stacked with bone broth powders, digestive enzymes and probiotics. It seems like every second ad on my instagram feed is selling something to improve gut health. Is all the hype about the gut warranted?
It’s now very well established that a healthy microbiome is largely responsible for your overall health and poor microbial health in the gut contributes to just about every chronic illness we have.
Do you know anyone who suffers from:
I could go on but I’m sure you get the point. These are all related to poor gut health and creating a healthy gut can help you to not only overcome these problems but to maximise your physical and mental potential!
Now, considering that 80% of Australians and 71% of people globally will die of a chronic health condition like diabetes, cancer or Alzheimer's disease, all easily preventable by taking proper care of your gut, it’s easy to see why ‘gut’ is such a buzz word!
But is the solution to be found in a health food store? For convenience sake I’m sure you’re hoping the answer will be yes!
Before we go on and in case you have not heard, the microbiome is the 2kg or so of bacteria, viruses and fungi that inhabit your small intestine and colon.
When your gut is healthy most of them live in your colon and have multiple and very important roles including the breaking down of food, the production and storage of neurotransmitters and the training of your immune system to defend against pathogens.
Think of your microbiome as a garden bed. If you have a diverse range of plants well established in your garden and there is not enough soil, sunlight and water needed for weeds to take hold, they will not appear. If, on the other hand, you leave your garden bed bare, with it’s fresh moist soil just waiting for a seed to grow, you will quickly have a garden full of weeds.
Your gut is no different. The more species of microbes present in your gut, the more resilient you will be to overgrowth of unwanted microorganisms that end up causing infections and consequently the plethora of health problems that come with an unhealthy gut.
Luckily, like your brain, your microbiome is plastic, meaning that your diet and lifestyle behaviours are constantly changing your microbiome. This puts the power to regain your health, to overcome chronic ailments or to optimise performance, squarely in your hands!
The microbiome responds not just to what you put in your mouth but to your thoughts, stress, exercise, sleep and even your breathing.
So, unfortunately, while supplements and digestive aids may help to some degree, if you want to reap the benefits of optimal health and performance bestowed on you by a healthy gut, you’re going to have to dig a little deeper!
The first thing you should know is that a lot of the things that many of us do in the name of health are actually very damaging to the microbiome. Chlorinated water, antibiotics, bleach, household cleaners and pesticides on food, all kill microbes indiscriminately. Some of these can be avoided by eating organic food, using a water filter and switching to natural cleaning products. Others you will need to limit as best as you can.
Stress is another microbe killer. The stress response diverts blood flow from your digestive system to your heart and muscles. When you are stressed and you eat food, it sits in your gut and ferments. This creates growth of certain microbes at the expense of others and is not good!
Processed foods are full of sugar, wheat and artificial additives. These things also create an imbalance in the microflora. A whole food is a food unchanged from the way nature presented it to us. An apple is a whole food, apple juice from a carton is not. A home cooked roast chicken is a whole food, chicken nuggets are not!
Choose from a wide variety of whole foods such as fruit, vegetables and organic meats as often as you can. A diverse diet means a diverse microbiome. Don’t buy into fad diets that limit certain food groups. This will only limit microbial diversity and the robust health and optimal performance that comes with it!
When: Mar 24 2022 6PM GMT+11
Hosted: Silvia Damiano, Founder, About my Brain Institute
Guest: Gus Rickard, CHEK Practitioner, Holistic Health Coach, Corrective Exercise Specialist
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This session will be presented in English. Captions with auto-translate to a language of your choice will be available in our YouTube Channel 72 hours after the event.
Gus is on a mission to help people overcome their health complaints and thrive. His own journey through health and disease taught him to view the body holistically, seeing the interconnectedness of the different body systems, the psyche, environment and behaviours. He combines exercise and coaching to guide people to have a deeper connection with their bodies to allow innate healing, to overcome long standing health challenges and to reach their physical potential. Gus is particularly passionate about the gut and it’s far reaching implications for physical and mental health.