If I was to tell you that the reason we age isn’t due to good old fashioned ‘old age’ but actually something that we have full control over, every day, you would probably think me mad. But, recent studies have uncovered that in actual fact, the truth behind the reason humans age is more down to how our diet directly influences our digestive system that just the amount of years we are alive.
Everything we consume, every single day of our lives directly affects our entire system, from our skin cells to our internal organs and the blood that flows between it all. If we take in nutrients rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, our gut bacteria can utilise each aspect of the food, breaking it down to send it all over the body so that we can maintain health and vitality throughout the course of our lives. As we age, we can still look and feel as good as we were in our twenties and thirties.
However, the bad news is that human diets do not support this natural process of ageing, and most people begin to see the signs of fatigue that their diet is having on their bodies earlier than they should (sometimes even in their twenties).
We all know that sugar and too much fat is bad for us, and that fruit and vegetables are good, but that seems to be where the majority of people ‘switch off’. They are tired of hearing about their ‘five-a-day’ needs and that a MacDonald’s is off the list. Most people then fall into habits of eating what they like and growing very old, very badly in the process.
So what is inflammation and why does it cause ageing?
A diet rich in sugar, processed ingredients and heavy starches is alien to our gut bacteria. To stay healthy our ‘gut bacteria’ needs to be able to break down the food that it receives each and every meal time and so it requires a healthy level of antioxidants, proteins, vitamins and carbohydrates to function properly. When we eat foods that our bodies find difficult to process, over time our microbes (gut bacteria) begin to send a ‘distress’ signal to our brains saying that breaking down food is too hard – a bit like union worker going on strike. Our brain then returns the signal to our immune system, mounting a defensive attack on the ‘food’ products that are causing the issues in order to bring balance back to the body. This begins a viscous cycle in the body and eventually issues begin to occur.
- Aches, pains and ailments seen as the normal part of getting older is actually caused directly through inflammation in the body and can be helped or made worse by the food we eat.
- Most skin conditions are inflammation caused by a reaction to a food product that the body cannot tolerate. Your skin is your internal warning centre. If something is wrong on the inside, your skin will let you know – often with very angry rashes.
- Hay fever, Asthma and arthritis are all inflammation signals that the gut is not coping well.
- IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) is the biggest indication that the gut is struggling.
When left untended, untreated and unnoticed, inflammation can mutate cells in the body, and as we all know, cell mutation is how cancer starts.
So, the next time you put something in your mouth, stop and consider your poor hard working gut bacteria (microbes). Your body can be an amazing vessel, or it can destroy everything you are.
Cut down on the following and begin to help your gut bacteria fight inflammation starting today –
- Dairy. Organic, natural dairy is fine and good for your gut bacteria, but stay well away from processed cheese (pizza cheese, dairylea and cheese strings etc), sugary yogurts (the ones with fruit in – no this is NOT real fruit) and processed milk. Opt instead for goats milk and cheese, natural yogurt and organic raw cheese.
- Sugar. Toxic and poisonous for your body, your gut bacteria won’t be able to break down processed sugar (the white variety), and will force any undigested sugar into your blood stream where it will turn to fat cells. (NEWSFLASH – It is actually processed SUGAR that causes obesity, not actually fat – which is very good for you – that is the problem) Stay away from any processed product containing fructose corn syrup or sweeteners – this includes savory snacks and ready meals too).
- Alcohol. The odd glass of red wine is ok, but when your drinking begins to take over your daily schedule it will show up directly on your skin. Sagging, lines, wrinkles and dry patches are your gut bacteria screaming at you to slow down. Try fresh fruit smoothies, fruit water and herbal teas to detoxify your body.
- Gluten. Unless you are allergic, eating bread is fine, but gluten found in bread, pasta and other grains should be consumed occasionally. Opt for wholegrain rather than white varieties and if you find that you ‘bloat’ after eating bread or pasta, this may be a sign that you are intolerant. (NB- a food intolerance is not the same as an allergy and often goes unnoticed because of this. Food intolerance’s show up directly on the skin as rashes, blemishes or swelling – including bloating)
- In addition, go meat free for at least 3 days a week, as meat is hard for the body to digest. Meat provides the body with vitamin B12 so opt for free range, organic grass fed (if you can afford it). Don’t worry about buying lean cuts either. Fatty meat is actually good for you as the body uses fats for healthy brain function. (A high fat diet is actually a better consideration when losing weight that a low fat one. Just don’t eat burger and chips everyday). Avoid ALL processed meat, including sausage, ready meals, burgers (unless you know they are 100% real meat), tinned meats and packaged meat.
- Stay away from antibiotics. Although good in an emergency situation, antibiotics destroy all good gut bacteria in order to rid the body of infection. Destroying your gut bacteria will leave you wide open to illness and long-term health issues, including low immune system and often an immunity to future antibiotics completely. If you find yourself getting colds more often than you would like, think about how many courses of antibiotics you have had during your lifetime. (NB-animals raised for meat are fed antibiotics in their feed, hence why eating meat daily increases your risk of antibiotic immune deficiency).
Eat plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, seeds and nuts. Eat meat (but not too much). Eat oily fish such as salmon and tuna. Eat good quality REAL dairy (no processed) and avoid anything that has been made in a factory.
Have a healthy, long and youthful life and you (and everyone else) will see your glow and wonder how on earth you did it.