Your gut is your internal garden and requires tending just like a garden would. As your skin forms a barrier to the world outside your body, your gut plays a similar role inside your body. Its surface area is a remarkable 200 times greater than that of your skin, making it your largest surface of interaction with the outside world. The gut is in continuous contact with nutrients, as well as all types of toxins, food addi- tives, microbes, and drugs that may pass through your digestive tract on a daily basis. As gatekeeper, your gut has a huge task to not only serve as a porous filter for the building blocks of life, but also to keep out all the detrimental substances you may be exposed to. Within the healthy gut lives a world of friendly bacteria that help us digest, pro- duce vitamins, stimulate a vibrant gut lining, and keep unfriendly organisms in check. Signals from the gut to the brain tell you when you are full so that you do not overeat. You feel satiated but not overfull after meals. Digestion moves from the mouth to the rectum in a well-orchestrated series of steps. Just the right amount of digestive juices are secreted and at the right time. And bowel move- ments occur at least once daily so that waste and toxins are efficiently removed from the body via the stool.
A healthy gut is one where:
•All food is digested into its component parts
•The digestive surface is vibrant and able to absorb micronutrients while block- ing the entrance of larger, partially digested food particles; bacteria; yeast; and parasites
•The gut-associated immune system is activated only when necessary and is not overstimulated