The mouth is the gateway to the rest of your body and your health. What you eat influences your oral health as well as systemic health. In your mouth, a diet high in sugar, acid and processed foods leads to tooth decay and gum disease. As these foods continue down the digestive track, they will also negatively impact the rest of the digestive track. These non-nutrient-dense foods are said to cause shifts in our bacterial make up called the microbiome(needs hyperlink) (https://depts.washington.edu/ceeh/downloads/FF_Microbiome.pdf) and result in an unhealthy bacterial imbalance called dysbiosis (needs hyperlink)( https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-intestinal-dysbiosis-1945045). Dysbiosis can and will happen at all points in the digestive tract, and will result in a variety of conditions based on the location of the imbalance.
Disease of the Upper GI tract. After a meal, food travels down the esophagus to the stomach. Large meals that sit in the stomach can cause contents to back up into the lower esophagus and lead to acid reflux and GERD. Both conditions have been linked to Barrett’s Esophagus (needs hyperlink) (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/barretts-esophagus/symptoms-causes/syc-20352841) and lower esophageal cancer. People with chronic GERD symptoms often take medications called proton pump inhibitors (needs hyperlink) (https://healthblog.uofmhealth.org/health-management/it-safe-to-take-ppis-a-gastroenterologist-explains-risks) to control acid. However, long-term use of these may linked to more serious medical problems. Large meals that increase stomach acid production can also cause a shift in bacterial leading to ulcers, or H. Pylori infections (needs hyperlink) (https://www.biokplus.com/blog/en_CA/gut-health/understanding-peptic-ulcers-h-pylori-and-the-connection-to-gut-dysbiosis).
Diseases of the Gut. When food passes through the stomach and enters the small intestine, the digestion process becomes more complex. In order to process food, organs such as the liver, gallbladder and pancreas first have to provide certain metabolic products to help the body absorb nutrients from what was eaten. When meals are high in sugar and processed carbohydrates, these organs must work hard to help in the digestive process. The chronic high demand of such diets has been associated with diabetes, pancreatic cancer and fatty liver. Other chronic diseases resulting from this type of diet include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity and cardiovascular disease. Specific upper gastrointestinal diseases have also been linked to highly processed and sugary diets include Irritable Bowel Syndrome (needs hyperlink) (https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-intestinal-dysbiosis-1945045), appendicitis (needs hyperlink) (https://fruitsandveggies.org/stories/buzz-appendix-role-gut-health/) and cholecystitis (needs hyperlink) (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cholecystitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20364867).
Gastrointestinal diseases of the lower gut make up the Three C’s: Crohn’s Disease (needs hyperlink) (https://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/what-is-crohns-disease), Colitis (needs hyperlink) (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ulcerative-colitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20353326), and Celiac Disease (needs hyperlink) (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/celiac-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20352220). All three of these conditions are associated with a “leaky gut” in which certain foods cause microscopic tears in the lining of intestines leading to microbial shifts and infections.
(include infographic of entire GI tract from “mouth to butt”)
Hydration is often an overlooked part of nutrition. Did you know that by the time a person is thirsty, there is already tissue damage in several organ systems in the body? Human beings are 60% water content. Every cell in our body requires water in order to function properly at all times. Lack of adequate hydration, or dehydration, can have pretty severe consequences such as dry mouth, high blood pressure, headaches, heart damage and kidney failure. Conversely, adequate hydration leads to good skin and healthy aging. It is thought that 90% of people do not hydrate adequately. Drinking enough water is one of the easiest, least expensive ways to ensure good health. Experts recommend drinking half your body weight in ounces.
Good nutrition is good health. Good eating habits lead to aging well and longer life. A diet that rich with vitamins and nutrients, along with a regular exercise program, will fuel your body for peak performance, beginning in youth and extending throughout the life cycle. Ueno Center is committed to helping you achieve health living through good nutrition. Chronic disease such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity and inflammation can often be reversed through good nutrition. Recent diet trends each have their benefits and drawbacks. It is best to seek advisement before embarking on a new diet to make sure it is the best plan for your personalized health status. [We are proud to provide a path for our patients to achieve healthier living through good nutrition with our Eating for Life Program.]
The Water in You https://www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school/science/water-you-water-and-human-body?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects
Drink before You’re Thirsty https://www.mayoclinic.org/want-to-stay-hydrated-drink-before-youre-thirsty/art-20390077
Anti-Inflammatory Eating https://youtu.be/66VdylXI0nQ
Food For Thought https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awtmTJW9ic8