Your gastrointestinal tract is an important part of your immune system. When your GI tract is in good working order it helps to stave off infection. Anything entering the stomach is usually killed due to the highly acidic environment. The mucus in the lining contains antibodies used to neutralize many microorganisms. Enzymes found in the saliva and bile assist with detoxifying the body and flushing out anything that shouldn’t be there via urine or bowel movement. Then there is good bacteria within the gut’s flora (or ecosystem) to control the proliferation of bad bacteria. All of these things working together prevent a pathogen (bad stuff) from entering the blood stream. Once in the blood stream there is another immune response that takes place. If you have ever had the stomach flu then you have experienced this system at peak performance. This happens all of the time without our knowing. But when something invades the stomach that shouldn’t be there, you know that your GI system has a violent reaction to rid you of it.
When the GI tract is not working you become susceptible to all sorts of illness, and not just colds. Most ancient civilizations believed that the intestinal tract was the source of good health. The Ancient Egyptians referred to it as the river of life. When your digestive system is not running like it should, those systems in place to prevent illness are not doing their jobs. But there’s even more than that going on. The primary purpose of the digestive system is to break down the food you eat into fuel for the body and dispose of the rest through urine and bowel movements. When you don’t have a nutrient-rich balanced diet your the digestive system begins to slow down. A person should have a bowel movement at least once a day preferably twice a day. Food should be moving through the entire system within 12 to 24 hours. If someone is only having bowel movements once a week, their system is not in optimal condition. If you want to find out how fast your system is working eat some beets. This vegetable is full of nutrients but also temporarily turns your urine and fecal matter a bit red.
What do you think happens to that fecal matter after it’s been in there a week? It starts to decay and putrefy giving off toxins. The reality is many people are walking around with 10 to 20 pounds of fecal matter in their bodies giving off a whole lot of toxins. Those toxins, experts suspect, are making people ill. It may be contributing to insulin resistance leading to type II Diabetes. It also creates an inflammatory response in the body.
Inflammation is a contributing factor to illness. When you get stung by a mosquito the area around the sting swells and becomes inflamed. This is the immune response to get the toxin out of the body and begin to heal the area. Eventually the bump goes away, especially if you don’t scratch it. That’s because your body has done away with the venom. What may be happening in your body is constant inflammation caused by a variety of things including a nutrient-deficient diet. That inflammation is sending your body’s immune system into overdrive and may actually be triggering diseases. It’s hypothesized that many illnesses including cancer can be traced back to the health of the GI system.
A physician, Dr. Dean Ornish, demonstrated as much when he put his patient on a strict vegetarian diet and exercise. His patient was in dire need of a heart transplant and suffered from severe heart disease. After working with Dr. Ornish not only was the patient’s heart disease reversed he no longer required a heart transplant. Dr. Ornish discusses reversing and managing heart disease in his book The Spectrum: A Scientifically Proven Program to Feel Better, Live Longer, Lose Weight, and Gain Health. Joe Cross proved it on himself when he was able to reverse all of his health issues when he went to a strictly vegetable and fruit juice diet where he juiced everything himself. You can read about his journey in his book Fat Sick & Nearly Dead.
No one wants to ban everything from their diet. This is about balance and about making sure the balance you strike keeps your gut in optimal health. When your gut is firing on all cylinders that pizza you have for dinner will be no big deal, it will pass right on through provided you don’t have any allergies or sensitivities. If you’re not going every day it may be time to evaluate your health status with your primary care physician, improve your diet and get moving. If you found this helpful like, share and comment. We want to hear from you.
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