This week, I’ve been experimenting with taking lactase supplements before eating anything with lactose. Lactase is the enzyme that helps us digest lactose. I suspect I might have trouble digesting lactose so I thought I’d give it a shot. I’m happy to report – so far so good. I was supposedly lactose intolerant for a year when I was seven (I know, it makes no sense) but the symptoms disappeared. It was like I had been touched by the healing hands of Aragorn. That’s a Lord of the Rings reference, by the way.
Apparently, I somehow overcame the intolerance. Or did I? I’ve started thinking lately that maybe I’ve had a slight lactose sensitivity for the last two decades but, because my symptoms have been relatively minor, I’ve been sweeping them under the rug. (I love dairy. Give me a pint of cookie dough ice cream and any movie starring Meg Ryan and everything is right with the world. I’m such a girl.)
Experimenting with lactase has shown me that gut health is super important! Aside from the fact that none of us would want to be this guy, who was reprimanded at work for – wait for it – farting too much, it’s important to take care of the gut for a lot of reasons. But it’s not something the medical community tells us to pay attention to. On the contrary, they give us medications and antibiotics that kill gut flora and then leave us hanging with no advice about how to repopulate the good bacteria. Sigh.
So, why should we care? What’s the big deal about gut health? Well, poor gut health can lead to digestive issues like gas, bloating, constipation, diharrea, nausea and heartburn. Symptoms made worse by that fact that so many of us eat large amounts of processed food – and we eat it too quickly, in the car or at the desk. But what’s worse is that many health professionals are starting to believe that gut health may be related to more severe conditions, like allergies, arthritis, autoimmune diseases and mood disorders. This is serious stuff, kids!
So listen to Jamie Lee Curtis and eat your yogurt! The woman was in both Halloween AND Beverly Hills Chihuahua, I think she knows what she’s talking about. Though I’d recommend a higher quality yogurt than Activia. Fermented foods, kombucha and kefir are also among the many tasty foods that are great for the gut. But let’s take it up a notch. If you’re experiencing symptoms and you’re concerned, get tested for food intolerances. Give the doctor a jar of your poo and find out if you have healthy levels of gut bacteria. It’s an important but often overlooked contributor to our overall health – so if you want to be proactive, make gut care a regular part of your health routine.