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Health News of Friday, 12 June 2015

Source: Dr Essel

Listen to your gut it may hold the key to your health

You surely have come across the phrase “go with your gut feeling” and many times we consider that to be our instincts, but the gut, which is the full path that swallowed food travels may be much smarter than we think. It has even been referred to as the “second brain” in some instances.

That uncomfortable feeling in your stomach when you are running late yet stuck in traffic, butterflies in your stomach when you meet that special someone or as you get ready for a critical presentation and we can’t leave out the burning sensation in your chest when you realize you left out a whole examination question just five minutes to time. Our guts have a way of reflecting our moods or emotions sometimes long before we are aware of what is going on.

Our guts call the shots when we are under stress or even feel depressed; the reaction varies in people though. Some people may eat a lot while under stress and others may just shy away from even water. So the next time you find yourself consistently eating more or less than you normally do, take a step back and find out if you have more on your plate than you can handle. Prioritize and manage your time better and you may be able to relieve yourself of undue stress.

That sharp hunger pang you experience is a warning from your gut that your blood sugar is running low. You either listen to your gut or soon you may be sweating, shaking, feeling dizzy and even collapse. You may even lose your life if appropriate help does not come soon. This scenario is aggravated in diabetics on certain medication.

Many people with peptic ulcer disease will tell you of their struggles with or without meals. Some will also enlighten you on factors that make their pain worse such as certain pain medication, spices, caffeine, fizzy drinks and acidic fruits. The list is endless.

Healthy bacteria even exist naturally in the gut and are protective but when these good bacteria are reduced because of a poor diet or inappropriate use of antibiotics, our gut health and general well-being plummet. This is a warning from our gut to check our health. Diarrhoea is one of the numerous ways it will react till we give it the treatment it deserves. Stop self-medication!!

I have heard and read very little on appropriate diet for people of different blood groups. I am not a proponent of this trend because I have not read adequately on the subject but also for the simple reason that our GUT is very smart and if we listen to it closely it will react appropriately whenever we take the “wrong” foods and overtime we can exclude foods our bodies cannot tolerate. Remember we are all unique. For now stick to a balanced diet with variety and moderation and definitely watch your portions and meal and snack times. Snacking in itself is not bad, it’s what we snack on that causes all the trouble.

When your gut is unhappy with what you load it with, it may warn you in several ways including;
• “Heart Burns”
• Bloating
• Gas
• Constipation
• Diarrhoea
In diarrhoea, the body may be reacting to a virus, parasite or bacteria in contaminated food or water but diarrhoea that is long standing may be pointing to something that requires a closer look.

In general for good gut health, eat well with a focus on plant based foods with fibre, drink adequate amount of water, get regular exercise to enhance movement of food through the digestive system, make time to relax and de-stress and sometimes together with your doctor you may decide to add a probiotic.

Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel
Moms’ Health Club/Health Essentials

*Dr Essel is a medical doctor, holds an MBA and is ISSA certified in exercise therapy and fitness nutrition.
Thought for the week – “The rains and floods have a message for us; step up water and food hygiene and make hand washing with soap and water routine. Together let us prevent cholera.”

• 1. Remedy’s Healthy Living: “should you trust your gut?”