The gut is the second brain.
The gut is the second brain! Have you heard such an expression? It was invented for a reason – it is. There is even a so-called bidirectional axis of interaction, “gut-brain,” and the state of the whole organism depends on the health of the intestine.
Some interesting facts:
- About 70% of the body’s immune cells are located in the intestine;
- The number of nerve cells in the intestine is the same as in the spinal cord;
- In the intestines, the absorption of vitamins and minerals necessary for the life of the body occurs;
- Serotonin is synthesized in the intestines – the “hormone of happiness,” and our mood directly depends on the state of intestinal health;
- Violation of the intestinal microflora negatively affects memory.
It already follows from this that the intestine is a complex structure that not only participates in digestion but also regulates our mood, immunity activity, the process of assimilation of vitamins and microelements, and affects our memory.
Sections of the intestine
The intestines can be divided into two main sections: the small intestine and the large intestine. The small intestine has three parts: the duodenum, the jejunum, and the ileum. Each department has its tasks.
One of the most important digestion stages occurs in the small intestine. When the chyme (food bolus) is mixed with pancreatic (pancreatic) juices and bile, food molecules are broken down into monomers (the smallest molecules) and absorbed by the intestinal villi.
The large intestine is responsible for the absorption of water, salts, and minerals and the formation and excretion of feces.
Both sections of the intestines are “home” to trillions of microorganisms with which our body builds a mutually beneficial relationship. A healthy microflora helps us eliminate toxins, synthesize B and K vitamins, helps stimulate intestinal motility, maintain the health of the mucous membrane, and participate in the metabolism of fatty acids, bilirubin, and water-salt metabolism.
Causes and symptoms of bowel dysfunction
The following symptoms usually accompany intestinal disorders:
- constipation or diarrhea;
- pain syndrome;
- decreased immunity;
- eczema, acne;
- increased fatigue;
- mood swings;
- intoxication (headaches, nausea, insomnia, general weakness, fog in the head).
There are many reasons for bowel dysfunction:
- unbalanced diet (excess in diet of sugar and simple carbohydrates, excess of trans fats, deficiency of macro- and micronutrients);
- disturbed drinking regimen (less than 35 ml per 1 kg of weight);
- lack of fiber in the diet from vegetables, herbs, berries, and fruits;
- Eating foods that the body cannot digest (food intolerance). The most common include gluten, peanuts, black pepper, egg white, cow’s milk protein;
- passive lifestyle;
- excessive and frequent stress;
- Disorders of the gallbladder – include dyskinesia (slowing of the outflow of bile), cholelithiasis (cholelithiasis), and cholestasis (stagnation of bile).
Gut health is made up of many factors:
- COMPLETE nutrition;
- adequate drinking regime;
- reducing stress levels and promoting healthy sleep;
- adequate physical activity;
- the absence of bad habits (alcohol consumption and smoking lead to chronic inflammation and increased levels of intestinal permeability);
- balance of intestinal microflora;
- good motor skills;
- The health of the intestinal mucosa.
From the above, it follows that it is very important to maintain intestinal health. The state of the whole organism depends on this. You should start with the correction of nutrition and drinking regimen. It is especially important to pay attention to the amount of fiber consumed, which is necessary for good intestinal motility, and to enrich the diet with foods that help cleanse it.
Top 5 Colon Cleansing Foods
Why do you need to cleanse the intestines? The intestines of a healthy person can completely cleanse themselves. Still, in the conditions of modern life (unbalanced diet, stress, sedentary work, and excess toxins in the environment), many need help. Modern food products undergo industrial processing, lose most of their useful properties, and contain many preservatives, dyes, flavor enhancers, and baking powder, which increases the load on the body’s defense systems.
As a result, feces, toxins, and mucus accumulate in the intestines, and microflora balance is disturbed. But suppose you balance the diet, normalize the drinking regimen, increase physical activity, reduce stress levels, and saturate the diet with products that improve the intestinal evacuation function, the health of the microflora, and restore the mucosa. In that case, the intestines will start to work “like a clock.”
Top 5 colon cleansing foods: mineral water, beets, apples, sauerkraut, garlic.
Water is an essential element for the life of an organism. It is 95% water. And if the drinking balance is disturbed, there will be many negative consequences:
- intoxication load on the body;
- acceleration of aging processes;
- metabolic disorders with subsequent weight gain;
- blood that gets thicker and blood pressure that goes up;
- increased risk of thrombosis;
- constipation, etc.
One of the causes of bowel dysfunction is constipation. Constipation is a functional gastrointestinal disorder characterized by hard stools, an infrequent urge to defecate, and a sensation of incomplete bowel emptying. This condition causes body intoxication with accompanying symptoms (nausea, headaches, clouding of consciousness) and changes a person’s emotional state.
Normally, the act of defecation should occur 1-2 times a day. The feces should be formed, easily washed off, and not leave marks on the toilet wall.
Prevention of constipation should begin with normalizing the drinking regime (35 ml per 1 kg of weight) and the inclusion in the diet of mineral waters rich in magnesium sulfate and sodium sulfate. There is a study showing the effectiveness of the use of magnesium mineral water containing sodium (1600 mg/l), magnesium (1000 mg/l), calcium (370 mg/l), sulfates (2000 mg/l), and bicarbonates (7600 mg/l) in people with functional constipation. During the study, the mineral water group experienced increased complete bowel movements and improved stool consistency. Participants in the study noted an improvement in their quality of life.
The fact is that magnesium salts affect osmotic processes that accelerate the movement of feces in the intestines. There is an increase in the amount of fluid in the intestines, liquefaction of feces, and a mild relaxation of the stool.
That is why the first product that promotes bowel cleansing is mineral water. Daily consumption of 500 ml of warm magnesium mineral water positively affects intestinal evacuation function.
Beets are a valuable, bright red root crop with a high nutritional density (concentration of nutrients per 1 kcal). It contains many minerals (magnesium, iron, copper, zinc, manganese, potassium, calcium, etc.), organic acids, pectin, fiber, and betaine.
The use of beets favorably affects not only the condition of the intestines but also the health of all digestive tract organs.
Intestinal health is good motility and the integrity of the mucosa. Violation of the intestinal barrier triggers hyperactivation of the immune system, which can lead to the development of autoimmune diseases. In this case, large food molecules and pathogens that should not have entered there begin to penetrate through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream, which causes the immune system to turn on active protection. Glutamic acid contained in beets restores the integrity of the intestinal mucosa.
Beetroot can be tested at home for leaky gut: Eat about 100g of beetroot for dinner and check the color of your morning urine. If it turns pink, you have increased intestinal mucosa permeability and need to work on its healing.
Beet pectin and fiber (2.8 g per 100 g of product) stimulate gastrointestinal motility, accelerating the movement of feces through the intestines.
Betaine improves the liver’s detoxification function, has antioxidant properties, and protects body cells, particularly intestinal cells, from the effects of free radicals.
So beetroot works in several directions: it relieves inflammation, removes toxins, promotes healing of the intestinal mucosa, and improves its motility.
The benefit of apples for bowel cleansing lies in the pectin they contain.
Pectin is a soluble fiber found in the intercellular space of fruits, berries, and vegetables, mainly in mature fruits and berries (immature ones contain protopectin, and it does not have such a good effect on the intestines, unlike ripe fruit pectin).
Pectin has chelating (binding heavy metals) and absorbent (suction) properties. It can attract heavy metals to itself and remove them from the body. Thus, pectin works like an absorbent sponge. It attracts metals and toxins, increases in volume by absorbing water, and promotes the formation and movement of feces in the intestines.
Sauerkraut is a fermented product and a source of probiotics (food for healthy microflora).
Several symptoms accompany the growth of pathogenic flora in the intestine:
- rumbling in the stomach;
- heaviness and discomfort;
- syndrome of “evening pregnancy” – bloating;
A healthy microflora is our ally in maintaining a comfortable bowel function. It helps to remove toxins, improves peristalsis, maintains mucosal health, and can synthesize B vitamins.
To prevent the balance of microflora from shifting in favor of the growth of pathogenic flora, it is important to provide a variety of sources of fiber and probiotics from fermented foods, such as sauerkraut.
This product is also important for the normalization of intestinal microflora.
Garlic contains phytoncides, aliin (which breaks down to allicin), essential oil, phytosterols, vitamin C, quercetin, flavonoids, and saponins, which have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties.
The main therapeutic property of garlic is its beneficial effect on the intestinal microflora. The essential oil and polysaccharides of garlic have an antimicrobial effect and inhibit the growth of pathogenic microorganisms.
Garlic works as a prebiotic (food for healthy microflora) in the human body thanks to dietary inulin fiber. Therefore, garlic favorably affects the growth of beneficial bifidobacteria, thereby normalizing intestinal microflora balance.
Colon cleansing is not only taking laxatives and enemas. Bowel cleansing is primarily adequate physical activity, elimination of stress, drinking balance, and wholesome nutrition, including products that improve intestinal motility, balance microflora, and prevent inflammation.