The word sounds strange, but it has a familiar sound. Butyric Acid (or Butyrate) is a fatty acid found in grass-fed butter, but it is also made in our intestines as a byproduct of the fermentation of fiber. This compound is vital for intestinal health and the state of the gut (or digestive system) is foundational to one’s whole body health.
It’s important to understand the role intestinal health has on the body. If your intestines are inflamed it can lead to fatigue, malaise, weight gain or difficulty losing weight, acne, headaches, joint pain and so much more. The state of your intestinal health pretty much dictates the state of health throughout the body, including the brain. The gut-brain axis is becoming well understood and proven by science as well as anecdotal evidence. If you aren’t well, you need look no further than the health of your gut!
One of the important things to look at in intestinal health (and therefore whole body wellness) is the amount of butyric acid being produced. This fatty acid is a short-chain fatty acid (an SCFA ) produced by bacteria during the fermentation of vegetable fiber in the intestine. A shortage of this compound causes weak cells to be produced which results in sickly intestinal health and, you guessed it, a sick body. It’s interesting to note that good bacteria eat the leftover fibers of our food and produce vitamins, healthy fats (SCFA) and other nutrients, while bad bacteria eat our food and release (or poop) toxins into the body which then leak into the bloodstream and result in illness and loss of vitality.
A diet rich in vegetable matter is required for these little guys to produce the goods. Look for the color of the rainbow when planning your meals. Fiber-rich veggies include broccoli, cauliflower, kale, spinach, arugula, leafy greens, peppers, onions, and much more. Another great option to add in is starchy vegetables that also support butyric acid production. Sweet potatoes, parsnips, and squash are great options! Eat vegetables that are in season and eat only organic to avoid GMOs and pesticides.
If you are grimacing and shaking your head right now because vegetables hurt your stomach or cause gas, you need to address broken digestion. Likely you are not producing enough digestive enzymes which are necessary to break carbohydrates down into useable molecules. Chewing your food until it is a smooth paste is necessary, too. Proper chewing is essential to digestion. Don’t eat while distracted, on the go, driving or watching TV. Eating is a quiet, peaceful activity, and if you are eating while emotional, distracted, or walking around you are not digesting optimally.
Have fun trying new dishes and new vegetables! There is so much to explore in the culinary world. The goal is to increase your vegetable and even fruit intake so that the good bacteria have the materials needed to make Butyric Acid, which is beneficial to your gut and whole-body health. While you’re at it, don’t forget to add a pat of grass-fed butter to those veggies; it’s another great way to support optimal health and wellness. Besides, butter makes everything taste better!