We hear a lot about gut health and how it can have an impact on our entire body but did you know that the water that you drink dramatically influences your gut health?
According to leading health and wellness expert Dr. Mercola: “Your gut contains a network of neurons or brain cells called your enteric nervous system (ENS). Your ENS controls both digestion and mental wellbeing. Changes in your gut bacteria can have a noticeable affect on your mood and sleeping patterns.”
When your gut is unhealthy you may notice that your whole body seems to go out of balance. Keep in mind, 80 percent of your immune system actually lives in your gut. And only 10 percent of your cells are of human origin. The other 90 percent are microbial, so you can see why it is so important to take care of your beneficial bacteria.
Our ancestors knew that eating fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and kimchee were not only delicious additions to their diets, but they helped restore and maintain gut bacteria and kept the family healthy. Today we are slowly introducing these foods back into our diets as well as being encouraged to take broad spectrum pro and prebiotics to remedy our existing gut problems. But how does our gut get compromised in the first place?
We live in a world where we have grown fearful of bacteria and germs and have set them up as the enemy. Safe drinking water, treatments for bacterial infections, food that doesn’t spoil quickly — these are all fantastic and important innovations, but they may have an inadvertent side effect. As Brett Finlay, a microbiologist at the University of British Columbia, explains, “It’s the disappearing microbiota hypothesis: With each generation, as we clean up, we’re decreasing the potential microbial pool that we can tap into. Everyone is becoming very similar, and we don’t have that kind of diversity.”
If your microbiota isn’t populated by many kinds of tiny creatures, for instance, it becomes harder for it to spring back after a dose of antibiotics, an illness or a case of food poisoning. And because your gut is essentially the control centre of your immune system, if it’s depleted, you’re likely to get sick more often.
How robust our microbiota is largely determined by the way we’re delivered as babies, what we’re fed and how much dirt we come in contact with. Microbes rely on complex carbohydrates found in plant material, legumes, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
Our gut health is also determined by the bacteria that we destroy in our bodies through cleaning products and our current obsession with using hand sanitizers. We also consume antibiotics routinely which destroys our gut health and leads to strains of viruses that are becoming antibiotic resistant.
Also the water that we drink plays a major part in determining our microbiota. Chlorine and fluoride are known to destroy our microbiota so tap water is a major culprit in destroying our gut health. Modern water systems are treated with chlorine to help protect us against illnesses. While the idea behind using this highly efficient disinfectant is a good one, researchers say the chlorine in tap water doesn’t only kill pathogenic bacteria in our H2O, it also kills our beneficial gut bacteria! Researchers say chlorine can kill good gut flora, just like antibiotics.
While chlorine is harsh enough on gut bacteria, many water supplies also contain fluoride, lead, and a laundry list of other chemicals that negatively impact the gut microbiome. It’s important to note that your gut microbiome is delicate and is completely influenced by your lifestyle.
In studying stool samples from around the world, scientists have found that hunter-gatherer tribes in Africa, the Amazon and the South Pacific harbour many more — in some cases, hundreds more — species of bacteria, proteins and yeasts in their guts than Westerners.
Have you been drinking tap water?
If you have been drinking tap water for some time chances are your gut bacteria is unbalanced. Not having enough beneficial bacteria (AKA probiotic) has been linked to:
- Poor digestion
- Weakened immune system
- Autoimmune disease
- Mood swings
- Weight fluctuations
- Skin issues
Seven ways to restore our gut health
- Get a water ionizer that filters out chlorine and fluoride and adds health-promoting minerals and H2 to every glass
- Avoid the overuse of antibiotics and take them only when absolutely needed
- Avid being too clean. You don’t need to carry a bottle of hand sanitizer in your purse
- Eat more fruit and vegetables with the skin on – that’s where the food for microbes is
- Supplement your diet with fermented foods such as kombucha, kimchee, yogurt and sauerkraut
- Eat more whole foods and avoid additives, colourings and emulsifiers.
- Take pro and/or prebiotics
Foods that are good for gut health
As previously mentioned, fermented foods like kombucha, kefir and sauerkraut are wonderful foods to eat to restore and maintain your gut health. Here are a few more ideas:
- Apple Cider Vinegar helps your body create HCL (hydrochloric acid), which is a beneficial belly acid that helps digest fats, carbohydrates, and protein.
- Fermented coffee is a relatively new kid in town but it might be a blessing for coffee lovers who find that regular coffee can cause digestive issues. When coffee becomes a fermented food, the bitter, heartburn-causing notes, are removed thanks to a secondary fermentation process
- Mangoes have been shown to help keep the good bacteria in your stomach alive. Incorporating a mango into your diet daily, particularily in a smoothie along with kefir or a good yogurt, can go a long way towards improving your gut health.
- Sprouted grains involves a process whereby enzymes are released during the sprouting process, which helps break down proteins and carbohydrates and makes it easier for some people to digest rather than other traditional wheat product. That in turn makes it easier for nutrients to be absorbed into the body
- Coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid that is a antiviral, antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal and has fatty acids that are remarkable at killing off harmful yeast and bacteria while restoring your stomach’s acidity levels.
- Wild salmon has an abundant source of omega-3 fatty acids, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory and is critical for healing an inflamed gut and preventing future episodes. Make sure that the salmon is really wild and not farmed for the most benefit.
- Garlic is a wonderful prebiotic and even better when eaten raw. Prebiotics help to feed and fuel the existing flora already present in your gut.
- Miso is typically high in sodium so you’ll want to consume it in moderation. However studies have shown that it doesn’t affect our cardiovascular system in the same way that most other high-sodium foods do. Aside from being a good source of protein and fiber, it’s rich in probiotics meaning it can help treat intestinal disorders.
- Chocolate may be the most delicious way to get your prebiotic and probiotic fix. A growing number of brands are now making raw and certified organic, prebiotic and probiotic-enhanced chocolate bars.
- Bone broth is a stock made from the bones and marrow of a chicken or cow and it’s slow cooked for 24-72 hours. What happens is all the minerals and amino acids from the bones populate the broth making it one of the most nutrient-rich foods on the planet. These nutrients like L-glutamine help heal and seal the gut lining of the small and large intestine
- Onions as well as Jerusalem artichokes and chicory are high in prebiotics, which will help promote the growth of good bacteria.
Filter your water, add H2
Best Water has a variety of water ionizers and filters that remove chlorine and fluoride from tap water as well as an entire shopping list of other chemicals and impurities. The cleaner your water, the easier it will be for your gut to return to vibrant health. Call us at: 1-877-770-5247 and speak to one of our water experts or check us out online at www.waterionizer.org.
For instance, the UltraStream not only filters your water to the highest degree, it also produces water that is loaded with molecular hydrogen or H2. H2 is beneficial for many reasons and is natural to the body especially considering that with a healthy diet we create ten to fifteen liters of H2 per day from breaking down fiber in the gut. H2 is natural and safe and you can’t get too much. Hundreds of studies have shown the numerous benefits to drinking H2 water and restoring gut health is just one of them. But, as we have seen, our gut health is central to our physical and mental well being.
It’s ironic that our obsession with cleanliness (avoiding all those nasty germs) and using hand sanitizers has helped to get us into this mess in the first place. Recently my granddaughter was in the playground and was helping herself to a mouthful of dirt. Her mother watched smiling and winked at me. “The doctor says it’s good for her to eat a little dirt.” Let that be a lesson for all of us.