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Posted on 04-05-2012

It's time for another round of 'name that body part'! Here are some clues:

· It looks like a 25-foot long, one-inch wide tube but it is all folded up so it tucks into a space (usually) less than a foot across. But if you stretched it out it would be as large as a tennis court. Without it you'd have a hard time living. Actually you couldn't. It protects your brain and works with your immune system to keep bad germs from overpowering you.

· It takes all the food you eat and drink and absorbs the nutrients.

· It also serves as home for a vast botanical garden filled with billions and trillions of tiny growing microorganisms. They are more numerous than all the cells of your body. And they aren't even you - they are bacteria, yeasts, viruses, worms and more! Right now you're carrying around from four to six pounds of them all the time.

What are we talking about?

Your intestines! The microorganisms that live there are called your gut flora. These guys aren't anything to worry about, because they are good for you. All those tiny life forms help you digest food, protect you from infections from bad microorganisms, and even make vitamins you need for health. More importantly, they keep bad bacteria in check. They do so by creating substances which render harmless or kill hostile bacteria. They're able to do so by changing the area's levels of acidity. In doing this, it deprives the disease-causing bacteria of their nutrients.

Why? Because our food is full of bacteria, viruses, molds, fungi and loads of germs of all kinds and they need to be watched and controlled so they don't overpower you. The bacterium in our gut also protects us from cancer and all kinds of toxins. When analyzed, our stools are over 90% bacteria. As we poop out stool, we poop out bacteria that have trapped toxins.

A high-sugar diet has been shown to alter the composition of bacteria in our intestines, making it easier to gain weight and harder to lose it. Keep your intestines happy by eating non-refined, organic foods containing good bacteria (probiotics). You may have wondered what probiotics are: they are millions of healthy, good -guy flora to replenish your body's supply, which can be wiped out by antibiotics, poor nutrition, and (although rarer) your genes. Foods high in probiotics include fermented foods such as pickles, yogurt (with live cultures), non-pasteurized beer, sauerkraut and other fermented foods. Dr. Seaman can help you with nutritional advice, lifestyle coaching, and provide you with the correct supplements to keep your intestines, and the rest of you, happy and healthy! Make an appointment here or give our office a call at 773-545-2233.

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