The Digestive System Explained
It’s not too often that we’re able to find an article that explains the human digestive system as simply as this, yet so explicitly. But Dr. Sara Hart has written an article that I think should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand the “second brain”.
Not only does she talk about the large numbers of bacteria in our body in different locations, but she also discusses what happens when the numbers go out of whack. I think her most important sentence is “Nourish your body with proper nutrition, get the most from your food by supporting optimal absorption and keep the core strong to support your optimal health.”
Whether you enjoy Chinese, ayurvedic or biological medicine, or homeopathy, they all look at digestive problems when they’re trying to figure out how to keep the entire body healthy.
Gnawing, aching, distended, pleasantly full or completely quiet, our digestive system is always working on something and can provide us with constant feedback on the state of our foundation of health. Increasing awareness of our core health will assist our connection to know what makes us challenged and what makes us thrive!
Our inner world is as complex and diverse as our outer world. When it comes to our microbial world, we have more micro-organisms in our bodies than our own human cells! For anyone who has examined micro-biology or the world even smaller still of nanobiology, we can see that there are countless organisms that facilitate nearly every aspect of our biological activity. We have lots of critters to thank for our ability to exist at all.
While microflora covers every surface of the body, there are high numbers of them in the digestive system and this is where they assist or harm our health the most. Bacteria in the mouth start the journey into the body. Imbalances here are known to relate to cardiovascular disease. The esophagus has bacteria and yeast all throughout the mucosa and assists or impairs the transit down into the stomach. In the stomach, high levels of hydrochloric acid make this an inhospitable environment for critters. Yet, many people suffer from H. pylori infection and other stomach imbalances that result from inadequate acid in the body.
The small intestine should have very small populations of bacteria as it normally “cleans” itself out every day with dramatic peristaltic movements. Problems here are often due to small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), which impairs our nutrient absorption. The large intestine is the domain where organisms of all shapes and sizes thrive. They assist the final breakdown of our foods, manufacture our vitamins and when living in a symbiotic balance will protect us from the disease. Imbalances here result in gas and bloating as well as the condition known as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) that can severely impair a person’s health.
Although not directly connected, the uterus and bladder are subject to the same microflora of the digestive tract. Overgrowth in these departments can result in infection, pain, discharge, and frequent urination. When treating disorders in the urinary tract and reproductive organs, we must also look to the flora of the intestines to assure we’ve addressed the root of the issue. Read the rest of the story at Go With Your Gut.
How To Stay Young
I’m not a fan of chiropractic, maybe it was a bad personal experience from long ago, but I definitely like the fact that their industry seems to be on the leading edge of alternative and natural health. And I’ve never understood why. Maybe it’s because medical doctors make their money from call volumes and writing prescriptions, so they generally avoid natural cures.
That leaves alternative therapies wide open to other specialists, who are now happy participants in an anti-aging industry that is rapidly gaining steam because of people’s desires not only to live longer but to be more responsible for their own health.
And I really liked the quote, “Natural remedies can awaken the body’s healing abilities. That’s the future; drugs are coming to the end of their era.” As a former (disillusioned) drug rep, I couldn’t agree more. So if you’re interested in slowing the aging process, I hope you enjoy the following article.
The way we view aging is always changing. “When I was a kid, my uncle turned 40, and I looked at him and thought he was old,” says Richard DeSoto, president of Kare-N- Herbs. “This was back in the ’50s, and people who were 40 were considered old. People have a better attitude now.”
People today are remaining active much longer, so those who are 40 — or even 50 or 60 — don’t seem that old. “Today, 60-year-olds hang out with people in their 20s, 30s — they enjoy activities with them, they go skiing with them, hiking,” DeSoto points out.
Frank J. King Jr., DC, ND, founder and president of King Bio agrees that the definition of “old” has changed. He says, “I’m 59. In another year, I’ll be middle-aged — I’m planning to live to 120. I see this as realistic. I can still run fast a couple of miles. I’m still very active, very functional.”
Whether they’re planning to live to 120 or not, many baby boomers who are now hitting their 50s and 60s are committed to maintaining their health as long as possible. This is obviously a good thing, but it may not be enough to avert the approaching healthcare crisis as a significant segment of the U.S. population moves into, and out of, middle age.
“It’s a perfect storm,” says Kerry Bone, director of research and development at MediHerb in Australia. Baby boomers are not only aging, they’re living longer than previous generations. Bone is concerned that many baby boomers will have to deal with diseases and disabilities like type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s. “These are truly scary diseases,” he says. “Patients can live with them for a long time, which places a burden on the health-care system, their caregivers, and their families.”
King agrees: “The baby boomers are already starting to come in,” he says. “They will be a major strain on the healthcare system — we’re already seeing the impact on Medicare and Medicaid.”
All of these experts see an urgent need to communicate the importance of a wellness lifestyle to people in their 60s and 50s — even in their 40s — to prevent the problems that can come with age. “We need good, safe, low-cost natural solutions to help with the healthcare crisis that’s coming,” King says. “Natural remedies can awaken the body’s healing abilities. That’s the future; drugs are coming to the end of their era.”
The chiropractic community is uniquely positioned to lead the way in this wellness revolution. “They are the main carriers of healthcare, rather than disease care,” Bone says. He sees the chiropractor’s role is two-fold: at the community level, to educate people, and at the individual level, to help each patient achieve his or her maximum potential.
There’s a Woody Allen quote Bone loves:
There’s no advantage in getting older. You don’t get any wiser, you don’t get more mellow. Nothing good happens. Your back hurts more. You get more indigestion. Your eyesight isn’t as good. You need a hearing aid. It’s a bad business getting older, and I would advise you not to do it.
“Aging doesn’t have to be like that,” Bone says. “We can — by providing education and information, and making people aware — help our patients live healthy longer.” The information to communicate is actually quite simple: “It’s good health advice that we all already know
Fast Weekly To Live Longer
More and more research indicates that if you eat a little less, you’ll live a little longer. Would 30% longer interest you? The idea is that when you don’t eat, you allow your body to do some much-needed repair instead of growth. Since you take in fewer calories, you’ll also lose weight. And occasional fasting might cut down the chances of getting cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.
Of course, there are detractors too, who think balance is better. And they tend to think that a well-rounded diet is still the way to go. I’m not sold on either program; I can see benefits of both, so I guess I fall somewhere in the middle. Read this great article from the British Mirror to decide which you prefer.
Not eating for one or even two days a week could be the trick to a longer life – and may ward off cancer and Alzheimer’s.
It’s a typical working day for Octavia Coates. But when it comes to lunchtime, instead of heading to the sandwich shop like her colleagues, she just grabs a large glass of water.
Lunch isn’t the only meal the 34-year-old won’t be eating. Having had just a piece of fruit for breakfast, she won’t have anything until the following morning.
For one day a week, this office worker from King’s Lynn, Norfolk, doesn’t eat anything at all.
“I fast once a week and I feel amazing because of it,” she says.
And while her aim is to feel healthier and lighter, she could also be adding years to her life. There’s a growing belief among scientists that fasting can improve long-term health, and reducing food intake over months or years could boost lifespan by 15% to 30%.
Findings from the Institute of Health Ageing at University College London suggest that eating 40% less could extend a person’s life by as much as 20 years. And the evidence seems to be mounting.
Last month a BBC Horizon documentary looked at the health benefits of part-time fasting, where a person eats normally for five days a week and fasts for the other two. By fasting, scientists recommend 500 calories or fewer for women and 600 for men.
But how does it work? Because, say the experts, when you starve yourself temporarily, your body switches from “growth mode” to “repair mode
Junk Food Causes Brittle Bones
Aging baby boomers are headed for osteoporosis and broken bones. They’re the generation that grew up on junk food, which not only causes obesity but also weakens the bones. And it’s all about the calcium, which doesn’t get absorbed properly when fats and sugar are involved.
It starts with a growing child – if he eats junk, bones won’t develop properly. If he eats healthy foods and gets plenty of exercises, his bones will become strong, which will last much longer in life. So poor nutrition doesn’t just cause diabetes and cardiovascular problems, it leads to poor joint and bone health too.
If you think junk food goes directly onto your hips, you’re right. But it gets worse. It gets into your hips, and into other bones in the body, too.
Food that is high in fat and sugar robs the skeleton of the building blocks it needs to grow and remain strong to ward off degenerative conditions like osteoporosis.
There are two mechanisms for this bone robbery
First, a diet high in saturated fats and sugar blocks ingested calcium from being absorbed, so it excretes in the urine. Thus, the calcium needed for healthy bones washes through the body and is lost.
Second, saturated fats tend to form insoluble ‘soaps,’ which coat the intestines. This coating becomes a barrier to the calcium bones need. Thus, the calcium from the cheese on a burger will pass through the intestines mainly unused.
The picture is not pretty. Junk food layers fat onto a skeleton that it weakens of the ability to support the extra weight.
Approximately two million Canadians suffer from osteoporosis, a disease known as the ‘silent thief’ because, with no symptoms, it robs the bone of tissue, leaving it with thousands of tiny pores. Porous bones can break with little stress.
Women are particularly at risk, with a rate of osteoporosis twice that of men. One in four women in Canada over 50 has osteoporosis. One in three women over 65 will suffer a hip fracture. About 20 percent of hip fractures related to osteoporosis will result in death.
Treating osteoporosis and related fractures costs Canada’s public health system an estimated $1.9 billion per year.
Your diet can be an enemy or an ally in your battle against osteoporosis.
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