by Neva Bodin
Gut bacteria. Something most of us try not to think about. But, is it thinking about us?
A person has an average of ten trillion cells that make us “shape up” into a person. About ten times that many bacteria live in our digestive system, mostly in the intestine.
Studies are linking depression, anxiety, allergies and illness to the types and numbers of our gut bacteria. Also, Type I diabetes, obesity and many auto-immune diseases may be linked to the type or lack of bacteria present in a person. One article I read even suggested autism may be a result of lack of the right gut bacteria or intestinal flora. Now I read an article saying memory seems affected by antibiotics killing off these helpful microorganisms.
When we are born, we are bacteria free. Natural births, where babies pass through the birth canal, start our bacteria farm. Breast milk adds some new breeds of bacteria. It has long been known that babies born by C-Section do not have the same immune response as those born without. As humans grow, contact with dirt, pets, and our world in general adds more bacteria. The majority of our immune cells live in the intestine.
Wow—just think of the possible sci-fi stories that could be created around the preservatives in food mutating a bacteria that creates a super-monster individual? (Sorry, off the subject, but a mutant brain cell fired there—probably triggered by one of my bacteria.)
I think we were created with things we need to be healthy and wise, I’m not sure about the wealthy part unless you define wealth as non-monetary. Since we are created bacteria free, a clean slate so to speak, our environment has a lot to do with what we can digest and how we react to it.
I grew up on a farm. We drank raw milk, as it’s now called. I prefer “natural” milk. We hand milked and so bits of dust (won’t say from where) landed in the pail. When done, it was strained by a special filter put in the strainer of the milk separator. (We sold cream for grocery money.) The milk came out white, so it was “clean” and we drank it. I do not believe that filter caught any bacteria. What if those bacteria, which came from the cow, actually helped digest the milk that also came from that cow? I met a young person who was allergic to pasteurized milk, but not raw milk one day.
Our water came from a hand dug well with a wooden casing. (I also read an article recently in a science magazine saying bacteria that can kill some of our heartiest microorganisms making us sick have been discovered in dirt.) We all drank from a communal dipper in a pail of water that stood by the basin of water which we all washed our hands in. Obviously, the bacteria in everyone in our family was related.
“Most of our resident gut bacteria are real workhorses. Some aid in digestion and produce enzymes to break down foods. Others make vitamins, like B12 and K, and other vital compounds, such as the feel-good chemical serotonin. A few help keep the intestinal lining impenetrable. Some gut bacteria help regulate metabolism. And others boost immunity and fight pathogens.”
http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/nutrition_news_information/how_good_gut_bacteria_could_transform_your_health?page=2How Good Gut Bacteria Could Transform Your Health
Now we eat food with preservatives, wash with antibacterial soap, are encouraged to disinfect everything in our reach with disinfectant wipes, drink water fraught with bacteria killing chemicals, and give our young children antibiotics as they grow.
How do we get healthy bacteria growing in our digestive system? A new age of taking probiotics seems to have emerged. I have seen people helped with these additives. I have a friend who was told to take them for the rest of his life after sections of color were removed because of cancer. They surely rectify some of the damage we’ve done to our little friends in our gut.
But, fructan and cellulose fibers, found in raw fruits and vegetables help cultivate healthy bacteria according to the aforementioned article. Jeff Leach, written about in the article, says the toughest parts are the best and touts a Leek as a great example for changing to healthy bacteria. Heat destroys fiber.
We are what we eat.