Healthy Gut, Happy Life

As every year since 2014, my nomadic life brings me for at least a month in Crete to practice with Kristina Karitinou. She is absolutely amazing! And I really love Crete, there is something very special on this island. The beautiful landscapes, the people, the sea, the mountains, the sunsets and the sunrises, the sky, the moon and the music ...maybe just the energy of this land surrounded by the sea. There is something magic that you can only experience.

In these weeks I had the opportunity to read a very interesting book called "L'intestino intelligente" by M.D. Giuseppe Cocca, that inspired me to write this article. I had the honor to meet him some years ago. I went to one of his fasting retreat in Italy. He is an exponent of Natural Hygienism, and he gives lectures in natural nutrition and conscious fasting.

The protagonist of the book is the Gut Microbiota.

The term microbiota refers to the collection of microorganisms (including, but not limited to, bacteria) living on and within us.Gut microbiota is the name given to the microorganisms living in our intestines. Our gut microbiota consists of 10 times more cells (100 trillions) compare in the human body (ten trillions), including at least 1,000 different types of known bacteria. It is an organ with a specific weight (around 2 kg).

But don’t get me wrong, these are good bacteria and are essential to keeping us healthy! We rely on our microbiota, or good bacteria, to extract nutrients from food to help fuel our bodies, synthesize vitamins (for example vitamin K and B12) that we could not otherwise make, keep our immune systems functioning properly to help fight off harmful microorganisms, and much more. The gut has a brain of its own, the "enteric nervous system". Just like the larger brain in the head, researchers say, this system sends and receives impulses, records experiences and respond to emotions. Its nerve cells are bathed and influenced by the same neurotransmitters. The gut can upset the brain just as the brain can upset the gut.

The totality of microorganisms and their collective genetic material present in or on the human body is called Microbioma. 99% of our genetic heritage has bacterial origin. We develop our microbiota when we are born, through the passage in the vaginal canal, contact with the surrounding environment and breastfeeding. It's very important to remind that the microbiota carries out very important tasks for our health and it works with our body cells to find new survival strategies.

You can have fun to watch some video on youtube about this topic. I decide to share with you this one:

I think it’s safe to say that what we eat matters to our gut microbiota!

There are several studies that clearly show how

- change in food models

- use of antibiotics

- presence of preservatives and additives in food

- life style

-Percentage of raw or cooked food in the diet

causes changes in the microbiota.

There is growing evidence that the high-fat, high-sugar diet, known to us as the Western diet, has had detrimental effects on our microbiota. Researchers now believe that these detrimental effects may have contributed to the growing epidemics of chronic diseases such as obesity, allergic disorders, irritable bowel disease, and harmful infections.

An altered microbiota, termed dysbiosis, is the answer of the microbiota to a diet rich in: processed and artificial sweeteners, meat, industrial food, starches, medications, laxatives, food preservatives, alcool, dairy products; and in the same time pour in: fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.

How do you know if you have dysbiosis?
  • Cramping, urgency, and/or mucus in your poop once per week

  • Frequent gas or bloating on most days of the week

  • Brain fog, anxiety, or depression

  • Food sensitivities

  • Missing micronutrients

  • Chronic bad breath

  • Loose stool, diarrhea, constipation, or a combination

  • Diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

  • History of “stomach bugs,” gastroenteritis, and/or food poisoning

  • History of prolonged antibiotics such as for acne or sinusitis

  • Carbohydrate intolerance, particularly after eating fiber and/or beans

  • Fatigue or low energy

  • Autoimmunity, or an autoimmune condition such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, psoriasis, or multiple sclerosis

  • Sinus congestion

How can you help to promote a happy and healthy gut?

  1. Eat fermented foods. Friendly bacteria, often called probiotics, are found in fermented foods. The word probiotic comes from the Greek words meaning “promoting life.” So when purchasing fermented foods from the store, make sure to look for “living” or “live” on the label. If it doesn’t say “live active cultures,” it has likely been pasteurized after fermentation. Here are some great examples of what to look for:

  • Fermented vegan yogurt

  • Fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut or kimchi

  • Fermented drinks such as kombucha, water kefir, rejuvelac

  1. Include prebiotics. Prebiotics are nutrients in foods that increase the growth or activity of our friendly gut bacteria–without prebiotics our friendly gut bacteria would starve.

  • The most common type of prebiotic is from the soluble fiber called inulin. It is naturally present in bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, artichokes, and various herbs.

  1. Eat a plant-based diet and whole grains. A number of studies, including controlled dietary experiments in humans, have shown that diets higher in raw fruits, vegetables, and fiber are associated with increased microbial abundance.

  2. Fasting. The power of fasting and the benefits of good gut bacteria are two of the biggest breakthroughs to come out of health research in the past few years. Now a new study combines these two powerhouses, showing how they work together to make you healthier, fitter, and even happier. Fasting help protect your gut microbiome. And in turn, those bacteria help protect your body while you're fasting, according to a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Scientists have known for a while now that both fasting and gut bacteria can boost your immune system, protecting you from illness and helping you recover faster when you do get sick. But this new research shows that fasting flips a genetic switch that activates an anti-inflammatory response in your gut, protecting both you and your bacteria.

  3. Exercise. Preliminary research has shown us that exercise increases the diversity of our gut microbiota.

  4. Breastfeed for at Least Six Months. Breastfeeding helps an infant develop a healthy microbiota, which may help protect against certain diseases in later life.

  5. Don't Eat Too Many Artificial Sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are widely used as replacements for sugar. However, some studies have shown that they can negatively affect the gut microbiota.

Some studies show that it is enough to change the eating habits to start improving the quality of the microbiota. The first changes are observed in the first 24/48 hours. Structural changes require at least 21 days.

I hope you enjoy this article...

Happy gut to everyone!