Updated: May 30, 2020
The topic comes up so often. “I DON’T HAVE A GUT!!” woahhhh, we’re not calling you fat!
The gut (gastrointestinal tract) is the long tube that starts at the mouth and ends at .. well the butt. it’s the entire group of organs that includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, small intestine, colon, and the 🍑.
A plethora of studies in the past 2 decades have shown links between gut health and the immune system. An unhealthy gut may increase systemic inflammation and alter the proper functioning of the immune system. This can lead to autoimmune diseases, where the body attacks itself rather than harmful invaders.
Normally, the immune system attacks foreign invaders like bad bacteria and viruses. In an autoimmune disease, the immune system mistakes part of your body, like your joints or skin, as foreign. It releases proteins called autoantibodies that instead attack healthy cells. Type 1 diabetes damages the pancreas. Other diseases, like systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), affect the whole body.
There’s a correlation between these diseases and the changing of our foods in the past century.
I’ll use an example of women, because studies show 2 women to 1 man get autoimmune diseases, and i can relate. Often an auto immune disease starts during a woman’s childbearing years (ages 15 to 44). Hmmmm… 15 to 44… in this age range the gut has had just enough time to be FILLED with bad bacteria and yeast due to improper diet. As you grow, your gut microbiome begins to diversify, meaning it starts to contain many different types of microbial species. Higher microbiome diversity is considered good for your health, and you also have to watch out for the poor microbes coming from bad foods.
When I was a little girl, family dinner was SO important in our household. You had to be home by a certain hour to sit at the table with the rest of the 4 kids, and mom and dad. We were always fed with the best ingredients, made from scratch meals, by my momma! But in between the meals, and at school, i was the ultimate snacker. Doritos, Fruit Roll-Ups, Gushers, Chewy Bars (but they’re healthy RIGHT?!) , all the starchy foods, and frozen snacks—bagel bites, pizza rolls, toaster strudels. Man i feel the inflammation, joint pain, and fatigue just thinking about those foods.
Highly processed foods are all bad for the gut and immune system. Granola bars, cookies, candies, cereal, cheese, milk, chips… frozen, canned, dried, baked, or pasteurized. & The most highly processed would contain a lot of extra sugar, salt, oil, and calories. I can’t believe the “brain food” we were fed as kids during SATs and other standardized tests. That stuff wasn’t brain food at all. In fact, the opposite. Processed, full of sugar, contributing to bad health and a tired mind. As I become a little older, with aches and pains, I look back to that kind of diet, and recent years.
When I was living in Germany with my husband and partner, Thomas, i decided to travel my way through eating all the freshly baked goods straight from the bakers, and other inflammatory foods like cheese 🧀 , and i found myself trying some junky glutenous things at the grocery stores.. I started to notice in that time that I had a sensitivity to gluten, but ignored it because it didn’t react badly with me all the time. I started home brewing kombucha when we moved back to the states and it was the best thing I could do to put me on the right track. The digestive issues stopped and i started eating healthier.
But now, I’m 30, and my gut had for previous years been in tremendous stress due to the poor diet, no detoxing, and signals I didn’t listen to. After a visit with a doctor just a few months back I relayed symptoms I have which seem to be the popular degenerative disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis. When I eat gluten or anything high in sugar, and dairy, i feel pain in my joints, fingers, and forearms.
The doctor advised: don’t eat the inflammatory foods that cause your joint pain, and keep drinking your kombucha. After a few months of sitting with this, I finally got some blood work done last week that should provide me a definitive answer on whether I do have RA. Well, doesn’t kombucha help with inflammation? Yes. I can surely say, when I do eat inflammatory foods, and drink kombucha, it gives me instant relief from this pain.
This is all to say that some microorganisms are harmful to our health, and many are incredibly beneficial and even necessary to a healthy body. Bad microorganisms can even contribute to weight gain. (We all don’t want that). Interestingly, in one study, when the microbiome from the obese twin was transferred to mice, they gained more weight those that had received the microbiome of the lean twin, despite both groups eating the same diet.
The health of your gut can also affect other aspects of our health, such as the brain, heart, immune system, skin, weight, hormone levels, ability to absorb nutrients, and even the development of cancer.
Having a wide variety of good bacteria in your gut can enhance your immune system function, improve symptoms of depression, help combat obesity, and provide numerous other benefits. After all, we are more bacteria than human. In fact, there are more bacterial cells in your body than human cells. There are roughly 40 trillion bacterial cells in your body and only 30 trillion human cells. Keep those good microbes in good, diverse company; and flush out the bad ones with good, strong fermented foods, fiber, and a healthy diet!
If you think you're struggling, here are some other red flags for an unhealthy gut:
Sleep disturbances or constant fatigue
Unintentional weight changes
A high-sugar diet
Know what to look for, do your research, and come enjoy some kombucha with us :)
We’d love to see you!