Archive for August, 2014

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Laura Coombs, personal trainer at Fitness Plus in Lexington, KYMOVE YOUR GUTS!

By Laura Coombs, M.S., A.T.C., C.S.C.S.

Are you serious about getting healthy? Start with your gut! If you’re neglecting your stomach, small intestine, and large intestine, your diet and exercise regime will be less effective. Here’s why.

The purpose of food is to supply nutrients to our cells. Before it can work at the cellular level, food makes a stop in the stomach, where it is churned by the muscular walls of the stomach and broken down into a thin paste by the gastric juices and stomach acids. Most nutrients are then passed to small intestine, but water, electrolytes, proteins, and alcohol begin the digestion process here. Because high blood alcohol content is potentially lethal, your stomach prioritizes the digestion of alcohol when it is present to prevent it from entering the bloodstream. Consequently, the digestion of beneficial and health-promoting water, electrolytes, and proteins are put on hold and our cells are deprived essential nourishment. Let your stomach do its job by eliminating alcohol from your diet, thereby maximizing your muscles’ supply of protein and fluids!

Once your food has become chyme (that thin paste your stomach churned out), it passes into the small intestine. Almost all digestion and absorption of nutrients occurs via the blood and lymphatic vessels in and around this 20 foot tube. Once there, our food spends 3-5 hours in the small intestine’s specialized design of villi, mucous, and intestinal juice. These structures thrive in a basic (ph 7.0 or higher) environment that is rich in “friendly” bacteria. Maintaining an optimal environment in your small intestine is critical to proper nutrient uptake, fat metabolism, immunity, and even brain health. Condition your gut with foods that balance your ph (raw fruits and veggies!) and fermented foods that are high in probiotics (keifer, kimchi, yogurt, sauerkraut, miso!)

Finally, the chyme moves into the 5 foot long large intestine, which is loaded with more friendly bacteria to complete the breakdown of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. The bacteria here also contribute to the formation of vitamins B and K. The large intestine’s lining is suited for water absorption and final removal of waste. With the help of a high fiber diet, things will chug along optimally, and leave the large intestine in 3-10 hours. Be sure to get 20-35 grams of natural fiber (no synthetic supplements!) from a diet rich in vegetables, seeds, nuts, and beans and drink LOTS of water to keep your large intestine healthy.

Adding water, fiber, raw fruits and vegetables, and fermented foods not only move your guts, but create a habitat for optimal digestion, immunity, vitamin synthesis, and brain power!

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