Do you have two heads?

Did you know that there are more neuro-transmitters in your gut than there is in your brain? So when people talk about a gut feeling there may be more to it than just a feeling. Also 80% of you immune system exists in your gut. Your gut contains about 100 trillion bacteria. This is 10 times the number of cells in your body. All these gut bacteria help to strengthen your immune system. So a healthy gut will often keep a healthy body.

So why is this important to us at Crossfit Hawkes Bay? Don’t we just lift weights? Well if you want to perform at your best in all aspects of life including your workouts you need to be healthy. This health should start with your gut. A diet rich in quality fresh vegetables and animal based protein, all locally grown, will be a good start as this will give you the nutrients your body needs. But what about all those trillions of bacteria. How do we keep them healthy?

Well we know that vegetarian animals like cows have more than one stomach to help them digest the food. Part of this process is the fermentation of what they consume in their stomach. This gets the most out of what they consume, and help keep their guts and themselves healthy. Humans only have the one stomach which contains mostly acids and nearly no bacteria. But we do have a very long intestine (gut). The small and large intestine have a combined length of about 7.5 metres.

To help those bacteria flourish and get all the nutrients from what you eat, build a strong immune system and ensure that you are at your best you need a pro-biotic. Most of us do not have nearly enough of a healthy gut as we should. What that means is that our friendly bacteria are low in volume and lack diversity. Also people who are overweight will have more bad bacteria in their gut which will create an imbalance that can lead to fat gain and inflammation and to a condition known as Leaky Gut. Sugar is a big culprit here, so cut the sugar.

If you want to ensure that you you can stave off that infection then you should eliminate sugar and introduce some sauerkraut, kimchi, or kombucha into your diet. Keep it cold because heat will kill the bacteria.
Here is a link to a recipe for sauerkraut you can make at home Kombucha is a fermented sweet tea and can be purchased at Cornucopia among other places.  Kimchi or Korean fermented cabbage is also delicious and can be purchased from any larger asian store, or you can make your own with this recipe here. Quality Kimchi is good because it contains a range of vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and vitamin C. Kimchi is also rich in essential amino acids and minerals such as iron, calcium, selenium. Kimchi has an impressive assortment of powerful antioxidants and provides an additional benefit of probiotics as well in the form of lactobacillus bacteria. It contains numerous healthful components including capsaicin, chlorophyll, carotenoids, flavonoids and isothiocyanates with low amount of fat and sugar.

But what about all those Pro-biotic yoghurts? These generally should be avoided, not especially because they are yoghurt but because of all the sugary flavourings they contain. If you make your own and don’t add processed sugars and flavourings – so it is raw, free from processing, unpasteurized, full-fat, close to nature, and unsweetened, then it could be beneficial if you have no current gut problems. If you do have gut problems then avoid dairy in general as it is the protein A1 casein that will harm your gut. Stick to the fermented foods.

Gut problems can be at the root of many physical conditions.