Digestive Health

This month we start a series of articles looking at our organs. Being hidden inside our bodies, they tend to be ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Subsequently we seem to them and focus on the what we can see, i.e. our hair, skin, nails, muscles, etc. It is our mission over the next few months to bring the organs into sight and help you understand how to care for them. Today we start by considering the general principles that govern organ health.

These principles are similar to various principles we live our daily lives by. As individuals need:
1) the freedom to move around,
2) good quality air to breath,
3) a reliable water source into and out of our homes,
4) good communication with our surroundings (be them neighbours, family, friends or work colleges),
5) a ranges of tasks to keep us occupied.

Our organs are no different.

The freedom to move
Movement is a life force that all living things require. Imagine if we were locked in a room for longer than a few hours. We would get grumpy, tired, irritable and a poor productivity. The same is true for our organs, they like to move and their productivity depends on it.

The air we breathe
We breathe air, our cells (i.e. what makes up our organs) breathe fluid. The air we breathe is dissolved into our bodily fluids and it is this fluid our cells breathe. It may sound strange but remember as a foetus we breathed in amniotic fluid for 9 months. The quality of our bodily fluids will thus determine the health of our cells. Think of a runner running in a polluted traffic filled city road or the open countryside. Which environment will produce the best time?

Reliable water flow
The flow of water to our homes is important. If the water flow is slow or obstructed we start to accumulate water. Accumulated water can becomes stagnant, smelly and toxic (think of the quality of water in a still pond compared to a flowing river). In the same way, our cardiovascular & lymphatic system replenish the fluid surrounding our cells. If these systems are hindered then our bodily fluid becomes stagnate which can lead to the accumulation of mild toxins. You can appreciate that a cell breathing in mild toxins is not likely to yield positive outcomes.

Good communication
Each part of our body is but a cog in a wheel. If one cog starts to do its own thing, then the whole system will be affected. For this reason our organs communicate with each other via hormones and chemicals released into the blood stream. These communicating chemicals are produced in various organs / tissues throughout the body. Thus an ill functioning organ will have an effect on the rest of the body systems. The question is how strong is that effect and how long do we allow it to carry on?

Diversity
This point, is best emphasised with an extreme example. Say we eat pizza and chips every day all our lives. Our digestive system becomes very good at digesting the components of pizza and chips. Great. But then we decide to move to China, there is no pizza and chips there. How will our system cope with dumplings, stir-fry or duck pancakes? The answer unfortunately is poorly as we have trained it to be a specialist rather than a generalised.

As humans we are generalist, therefore our systems need variety to give them the tools to cope with an ever changing environment. Unfortunately, in the modern world we seem to encourage a specialist approach to most of our tasks. This is certainly easier & more convenient. The bigger question is, is it better?