Most people are aware of how the heart and brain contribute to the functioning of our bodies but few are aware of the power that the gastrointestinal tract has on one’s overall health. The 30-foot long tube in our bodies contributes greatly to how we function and must be considered when discussing optimal health. The gastrointestinal tract or gut, as it is affectionately called, has a great responsibility in supporting one’s immune system, cognitive function, and adrenal health.
The gut, unfortunately, has been reduced to where food is digested and bowels flow. However, the benefit of the gut goes much deeper. “An unhealthy gut has been linked to a plethora of systemic symptoms including headaches, skin conditions, joint and muscle pain, allergies, asthma, menstrual pain and irregularities, and so much more. Even mental illnesses like depression have been linked to gut dysfunction” (Mullin & Swift, 20ll, p. 21). Many may believe that exercise and protein strengthen, and mind over matter give peace, but the gut contributes to it all. Over a lifetime some 70 tons of food and 100 tons of liquid make its way through the GI tract and the gut is able to process, analyze, absorb, and eliminate wastes without giving out, if treated with tender loving care (Matveikova, 2014). When one’s digestive system is healthy their body performs at an optimal level and they are less susceptible to illness, unlike individuals who lack the support of a strong gut.
Matveikova, I. (2014). Digestive intelligence: A holistic vision of your second brain. Forres, Scotland: Findhorn Press.
Mullin, G. E., & Swift, K. M. (2011). The inside tract: Your good gut guide to great digestive health. New York, NY: Rodale.
*excerpt from senior paper, written by Khadijah RBz