With the recent discovery of gut microbes and their effects on our overall sense of well-being and health, many people have adopted eating habits that favor the proliferation of healthy gut bacteria.
In fact, entire industry segments were birthed because of the exposure that these bacteria have gotten in the last few years. There are foods solely dedicated to improving gut bacteria, and these are flying off the shelves very quickly and consumed in large quantities by consumers.
This makes sense because everyone wants a gut that helps improve their health. While the quest for improved gut microbes is good, we also need to remember that these microbes are not local to our bodies.
They are essentially welcome “visitors” that our bodies like, but capable of becoming unhealthy and possibly dangerous to our health if nothing is done to check their proliferation and growth. Gut microbes are great and all that, but when they start invading parts of the body that they shouldn’t, you have a problem.
This is commonly seen in instances where people get ill due to undue and excessive contact between these microbes, their by-products and the gut epithelium lining. It is the reason the body automatically provides a protective layer between the lining of the gut and these microbes. This layer is what is known as the colonic mucus barrier.
This barrier is the reason you can live with your gut microbes without any dangers. They act as a sort of check to keep the body safe and prevent an invasion. Think of it as something similar to honey extraction.
People with apiaries know that the bees will allow you take the honey, as long as you don’t disturb the nest or trouble the queen bee. Failure to adhere to these two things will result in a swift, full blown attack by the hordes of bees that will sting you to death.
The Colonic Mucus barrier is that tenuous balance that allows you and the bees coexist side by side.
It is made from a combination of Mucin and some proteins. These combined together fuse to line the walls of our guts by forming a strong gel-like substance. This layer is constantly replenished as the need arises.
The key to balance lies in ensuring that the layer is always replenished so that the process of digestion triggered by the reactions between gut microbes and the outer layer doesn’t break that barrier.
Once it does, your body becomes vulnerable to an attack by the formerly friendly microbes. No matter what happens, it is imperative to keep that lining stronger and do so at a faster rate than that of the gut bacteria’s activities.
This is possible owing to the presence of a certain group of microbes that feed off of the mucus. These are actually a small population of the otherwise healthy, and helpful microbes. Unfortunately, there’s really nothing you can do about them, other than keeping them in check.
This is important because these microbes can become very dangerous if their population overwhelms that of the good microbes, resulting in a faster breakdown of the colonic mucus barrier. This breakdown can cause infections, diseases and inflammations.
Protecting your Colonic Mucus barrier requires you to be proactive. The good news is you don’t have to spend a small fortune on this, seeing as your body already encourages the process of rebuilding and replenishing the layer.
You just need to eat more of the right foods that will encourage faster replenishment and control the population of these “bad” microbes. Studies and research carried out on this showed that these dangerous microbes are more likely to break down the colonic mucus barrier if the subject isn’t frequently eating foods that are rich in fiber.
This happens because the microbes are seeking out proper nutrition which they would have gotten if there were more fiber. So, think of the colonic mucus as a backup food plan for these microbes if they don’t have the priority food source, which is fiber rich foods.
Naturally, once this set of potentially harmful microbes break down the layer, it exposes the body to pathogens and the eventual illnesses.
These gut microbes are actually very adept at breaking down complex and very dense fiber. Without them, it would be difficult for humans to process fiber. So, they’re not all bad really. You just need to keep their population in check.
So how can you keep your colonic mucus barrier reinforced and control the population of your gut bacteria? Start eating lots of fiber. Fiber is so crucial to a healthy digestive system, immune system, circulatory system and even reproductive system.
It’s important for regular bowel movements, the production of short chain fatty acids, and protecting the intestines from the invasion of previously friendly, resident pathogens.
The average individual should eat between 21 and 38 grams of fiber every day if they want to improve their gut health and stay away from a slew of health conditions associated with inadequate fiber consumption.
Cut back on the regular American junk food diet and start eating healthy. If you need a good, reliable source of fiber, simply check out the following:
And avoid all processed foods. Yes, this includes cereals. Here’s a standard rule of thumb: if a food is not in its original form, or as close to original as possible, then it has been processed and should be avoided –even when they’re labeled organic.
Healthy fiber rich foods have been a staple for eons really. They have served mankind and kept us healthy and live. Prepackaged, junk and processed foods don’t provide the same benefits. Avoid them by all means.