How a Powerful Network of Systems Holds the Key to Better Health
We’ve all been there before – you’re out at your favorite restaurant or dining in the home of a particularly capable cook, and before the food even arrives, your mouth starts watering like a puppy in a pepperoni factory. It seems silly, but this response is actually the first in a long line of steps taken by maybe the most undervalued but wholly vital parts of your body…
The tummy, food tomb, or whatever moniker you like, is actually the hub for a multi-faceted set of functions that help govern everything from emotional health to immunity. It’s a complex mix of organs, nerve endings and bio-systems – the home to about 70% of your immune cells, and a breeding ground for your body’s diverse biome (a network of good and bad bacteria, constantly fighting for space and essential to your body’s overall well-being).
With so much going on, understanding the gut can feel complicated fast. So, here’s a quick breakdown to help you retain the most important takeaways for this incredible part of your body.
Think of your gut as its own entity inside your body – part of you, but with a mind entirely its own. It self-regulates and communicates constantly with your body and brain. And without proper maintenance, it can render the rest of your body and brain out of balance. More on that in a second.
Naturally, the primary key to gut health is what you take in. What you put in your gut is converted into energy, immunity, nutrients, emotional state, and on and on. When it comes to your gut, this simple maxim can’t be overstated: the more good you put in the more good you get out. It’s as simple as that.
As we mentioned above, gut balance is crucial. And when your gut isn’t balanced properly, imbalance in the rest of the body is sure to follow. But why would imbalance in one place, lead to imbalance everywhere else? To understand, we first have to look at some of the interconnected players in the game:
-The GI Tract: A 30 foot long passage-way for food as it travels through you. This internal subway system combines the functions of the esophagus, stomach, and small and large intestines to break down anything you ingest, extract every resource it can from these foods, and create new bacteria and nutrients.
-Liver: Like a rest stop off the GI Tract, the liver is sent food to process, while also storing up and disposing of any toxins we might ingest.
Pancreas: The all-important insulin regulator and distributor – it reacts to whatever food and drink it’s given, evening out blood sugar levels, and playing a key role in metabolism.
Gallbladder: This small organ contains bile, to be released into the small intestine at just the right time, in order to aid in the breakdown of food.
Appendix: The dark horse of the intestinal system, the appendix is now believed to be a storehouse for bacteria.
Brain: The computer living on the top floor of your body – the brain and gut exist in an ever communicating, ever-affecting and effecting relationship.
As you can tell, one of the most important realizations for keeping your gut balanced and healthy, is to understand that the gut isn’t simply one place. It’s a network of places, each with their own functions, all working toward the same goal – to keep you alive, healthy, and happy.
So how do we boost this network and give our guts the best chance of working to their highest potential?
Steps Toward Better Gut Health
First, taking an inquisitive look at what’s going into your gut is crucial to an awareness and a proactive approach to gut health. Get curious about what’s going into the foods that are going into you. It’s hard to power the engine if you don’t know what’s in the fuel you’re feeding it.
Next, after assessing what’s in your foods, make healthy and conscious choices about whether the food you’re eating is the right and best food for you. We’re not saying you have to abandon your love of triple decker double fudge cake. But does the temporary dopamine release outweigh the spike in glucose, poor nutrient density, and long-term storage of fat? These are the tough questions that lead us to better lives. Keep asking them.
Lastly, understand and accept that your body might not be getting all it needs simply from the foods you eat or the drinks you drink. Especially if nutritional neglect has been pervasive over time. Embracing this fact can lead to a better chance of remedying the state of your gut and improving your overall health. Luckily, we have some cutting-edge ideas on how to live healthier and happier.
Curious about what your body is doing or how you might improve it? Check out the revolutionary Livewell Clinic, take our comprehensive 360° Health Panel, or shop our extensive list of specially designed products to keep your gut, and overall health, working to its highest potential.