“We become what we eat” is attributed to Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin in 1826 in his book, The Physiology of Taste. He actually said, “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.” However, we need to be able to properly digest the foods we eat.
The foods we eat are digested in our gut. There is a direct relationship between the gut and the brain. Our gut contains about 80 percent of our immune system. It is also responsible for extracting the nutrients needed daily to make and keep us healthy. When our food choices are deficient in the nutrients we need, we will not be as healthy as we could be. When our digestive system is not working properly, it can lead to many health issues, such as
● Hair loss
● Graying hair
● Internal bleeding
● Irritable bowel syndrome
● Degenerative disease (Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s)
● Gastrointestinal disorders (ulcerative colitis, acid reflux, indigestion)
● Respiratory disorders (asthma, COPD, etc.)
● Autoimmune disorders (Celiac, Crohn’s)
We need balanced nutrition to get all the required nutrients for good health. Long-term deficiencies in any nutrient can become a health problem. Other factors that can disrupt the digestive processes are
● Heavy metals
● Low levels of fiber
● Too much fiber
● Protein deficiency
● Excess intestinal acidity
● Antibacterial medicines (Dynapen, Urex, Nydrazid, Macrodantin)
● Animal hormones (added to the foods we eat)
● Animal antibiotics (added to the foods we eat)
● Toxins from foods (artificial colors, artificial flavors, etc.)
● Toxins from personal care products (toothpaste, soaps, etc.)
A good meal option is one that contains balanced nutrition – leafy green vegetables, colored fruits and vegetables (where the color goes all the way through the fruit or vegetable – blueberry, not eggplant), sulfur-laden vegetables (cruciferous, onions, mushrooms), and organic protein (no hormones, fillers, no artificial colors, no antibiotics, etc.). The overall meal should offer more alkalinity to the body (more vegetables and fruits than proteins, oils, and carbohydrates).
A poor meal option is one that has major deficiencies in vegetables and fruits and an overabundance of proteins and fats. A diet like this can lead to acidosis, osteopenia, and eventually osteoporosis. I used to eat this way while on the Atkins’ Diet. I found, very unexpectedly, that the calcium in my bones was being extracted to maintain the pH of my blood. I chose acidic foods (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) more than alkaline foods (fruits and vegetables).
A quick note on antibiotics. If your physician prescribes an antibiotic please be sure to ask about a probiotic to counter the temporary effects of the antibiotic. Ask, also, about prebiotics to support a healthy digestive environment.
Our digestive juices are not as strong, or as plentiful, in our older years. Researchers recommend not to drink thirty minutes prior to, and after a meal. This reduces the amount of dilution of our digestive juices. Diluted digestive acid minimizes the nutrient value we receive from eating.
Our gut affects nearly every area of the body. Take care of your gut, especially your digestive system, and you will be a happy camper. Happy in so many ways!