Search This Blog

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Role of Healthy Gut Flora in Health

Sometimes I learn slowly.  I got a lot of really bad health information over the years--especially before I started asking questions and challenging a lot of "everybody knows" stuff.  Some was by omission.  Or almost omitted.  Like the whole thing about gut flora.  What's really the case is that the healthy bacteria and yeasts in your digestive tract play a huge role in wellness, aging, digestion, how fat or thin you are and what diseases you have.

Boy, that's a lot to lay on gut flora!  Over the coming months I will try to recreate the links to the above information and be sure to give them to you.  But you've probably only heard about gut flora in terms of a very luke warm suggestion to eat some yogurt after you've been on an antibiotic.  That's because antibiotics kill all the good guys in your gut as well as the bad ones that are making you sick.  Unfortunately there are only two or three good bacteria in yogurt and you need lots and lots--both in variety and in numbers.  Remember that our ancestors--those hunters and gatherers--didn't wash their hands or their food.  They must have eaten a lot of dirt and bacteria all day long.  There is evidence that we are designed to eat dirt and bacteria!  Ok, not so practical now days!

So I have recommended to family, friends, and clients that they take a probiotic supplement.  That's a good start.  But most are not much better than yogurt.  In the literature and blogs I comb, many knowledgeable people are recommending fermented foods for the many healthy bacteria they provide.  Among these are  sauerkraut, kefir, kimchee and miso.  Other pickled, brewed and fermented foods may also provide good bacteria.  In these foods, friendly enzymes, fungi and bacteria pre-digest the food and it increases the flavor, medicinal value and nutrition.

I tried kefir.  It is a fermented milk product.  The closest thing I can say is similar is buttermilk, but it's way better!  The commercial stuff I tried was unremarkable and expensive (nearly $5 for a quart of it) and as a digestive aid (cure for diahrrea or constipation) a non starter.  Which highlights the importance of LIVE bacteria and yeasts!  If it's pasteurized or heat treated, those bacteria are killed and not doing you any good. I acquired live kefir grains and started making my own.   I now love kefir. It's too early to say it's making me healthier (probably) for one thing because I'm already darn healthy!.  But digestion is working without problems and I continue to slowly lose weight.  I certainly recommend kefir for anyone and everyone.  Ask me where to get your own grains (and they grow and multiply, too!)

But I started this today to tell you about a study that shows that kefir stopped the proliferation of at least one kind of malignant cancer cells.  Kefir might be the next great cancer drug!  OK, probably one cannot extrapolate yet to that degree--but it's suggestive.  And since we know that the development of cancers are a response to chronic inflammation, we probably can extrapolate that kefir is anti-inflammatory.  Get some!  make your gut healthier but it also reduces the inflammation of a gut out of balance!

No comments:

Post a Comment