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Why You Should Care About Gut Health

Why You Should Care About Gut Health

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.

Related:
12 Ways to Supercharge your Digestion
Yoga Moves for Digestion

Read more: General Health, Health, , , , ,

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Sarah Cooke

Sarah Cooke is a writer living in California. She is interested in organic food and green living. Sarah holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Naropa University, an M.A. in Humanities from NYU, and a B.A. in Political Science from Loyola Marymount University. She has written for a number of publications, and she studied Pastry Arts at the Institute for Culinary Education. Her interests include running, yoga, baking, and poetry. Read more on her blog.

30 comments

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6:00AM PDT on Oct 20, 2013

If you take good care of your "Personal Indoor Plumbing", your "Personal Indoor Plumbing" WILL take good care of you...

Start doing this by first thinking and remembering that your "Personal Garbage Disposal System" runs best when you don't put any "Garbage" into it...

How to do that? First, ensure you consume one ounce of water for every 2 pounds of body weight, and Second eat twice as much Fiber as is recommended for you... Third, do that for two straight weeks, and if you don't wake up feeling like a million bucks on day fifteen you are that rare bird for whom there is no help...

So go get yourself a Banana Split or a Chocolate Fudge Sundae, and celebrate...

Make it quick, though, as it is you're likely to only live half as long as you were supposed to, but at least it will be 'sweet'...

God Bless,

Bud

5:08PM PDT on Apr 15, 2013

Sarah Cooke, you are really showing your lack of age. Jamie Lee Curtis is most remembered in her amazing role in True Lies with Arnold Schwarzenegger. It was a blockbuster movie.

I have also picked up some Kimchi and you know what? It is really tasty! Not nearly as sour as sourkraut.

9:24AM PDT on Apr 15, 2013

thank you

9:21AM PDT on Apr 15, 2013

thank you

4:26AM PDT on Apr 15, 2013

ty

10:55AM PST on Feb 21, 2013

We eat yogurt and other foods with live culture, but I'd really like to try a probiotic supplement...but sheesh...they are sooooo expensive.

2:04AM PST on Feb 11, 2013

This is our source of energy and life

2:12AM PST on Jan 25, 2013

A well writen article. Thank you for sharing.

11:08PM PST on Jan 24, 2013

noted.

5:09PM PST on Jan 24, 2013

IT CAN CAUSE ESOPHAGEAL CANCER AS WELL... YOU HAVE TO BE VERY MINDFUL OF YOUR DIGESTIVE SYSTEM...

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