“The Mind is like the stomach. It is not how much you put into it that counts, but how much you digest”. ~ Albert J. Noch
It’s pretty easy to take a quick glance at the world to realize that the modern world is in constant flux and moving at a quick pace. Keeping up with the “rat race” pace of the world can take a huge toll on our bodies, which has to continually adjust to ever changing conditions. Food choices that used to be healthy on a wider scale are now being narrowed down making it more difficult to provide our body with healthy long-lasting nutrition. What is causing this?
Our food supply is being tampered with leaving it depleted of nutritional content. Drinking water and soil is contaminated with antibiotics, drug residue, and dubious fertilizers. As these contaminants enter our food chain, our bodies become less responsive to antibiotics and superbugs become more prolific. While these issues are not the only things affecting our gut health, they are significant ones contributing to a deteriorating healthy gut.
Science has confirmed that our gastrointestinal tract is like our “second brain” because of the mind-gut connection that is constantly providing updates on the state of affairs on each end. If the gut microbiome system comprised of its microscopic bacterial colonies is sick, depleted, or dying off its job of keeping us healthy both physically and mentally is impaired.
The Role of TCM in Gut Health
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has known for centuries how important the digestive system is to maintain a healthy body-or Qi system. Qi is equated to the energy system that runs all of our other systems and organs of the body. If this system is impaired it will lead to serious health concerns.
TCM has long used the Spleen-Stomach pathways to ensure the proper intake and distribution of Qi throughout rest of the body. By balancing this Qi center located primarily in the gut area through daily diet and nutritional therapy we can begin to repair the damage to the gut. Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal therapy, and Functional Medicine also play a key role in getting the gut microbiome back on track.
How Can Fermented Foods Help?
Fermentation of foods started centuries ago to preserve food. In modern times, we have realized that this amazing process of fermentation can help restore the healthy microbiome of the gastrointestinal tract. Fermented foods that are good for gut health include kimchi, kombucha, yogurt, buttermilk, and sauerkraut.
During fermentation the bacteria or yeast found in the foods feed on the natural sugars creating lactic acid. This not only helps preserve the food but it creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and several strains of probiotics. This makes it easy to digest and gives your gut some essential nutrients that can be absorbed when you eat. An added bonus is that incorporating fermented foods into your regular diet is fairly cost effective, especially if you make them at home. A great way to include this with every meal is to add a spoonful on the side of every meal. This way you ensure you are getting enough of these great health benefits to keep your gut healthy and happy.
In summary, remember that acupuncture, herbs, supplements, and a healthy diet that incorporates fermented foods can help you repair gastrointestinal issues. Come in to Hummingbird Community Acupuncture for a consult!
Joaquina Cante, L.Ac., Shaman, is a nationally board certified acupuncturist and holistic healthcare practitioner in Boulder, Colorado. Owner of Hummingbird Community Acupuncture, she is a believer in the innate power of each individual to heal and become a better human being.