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12 Tips To Heal Your Gut And Help Heal Or Prevent Leaky Gut, Imbalanced Gut Bacteria And Gut Problems
We’ve all heard the saying ‘you are what you eat’. When it comes to gut health and overall well being, ‘you are as healthy as your gut bacteria’. In recent years medical research has revealed just how crucial gut health is to overall health, affecting every single aspect of your health from your weight, metabolism, skin, cognition, mood, to diseases like diabetes, autoimmune disease and cancer, your gut health has a strong say as to what goes.
You may already know that you have trillions of cells that make up your body. But maybe you didn’t realize that you have many more bacteria in your body than human cells, about 10 times as many bacteria than cells! Most of these bacteria are in your digestive tract as well as on other organs systems like mouth, nose, skin, reproductive organs. We are basically made up of bacteria and cells.
These beneficial bacteria make up your microbiome and dictate the state of your health. The health and balance of your intestinal bacteria, including their composition and number, are essential to your health and well being.
Your gut bacteria are essential for the absorption and digestion of nutrients including vitamins and minerals without which you would not thrive or survive. Your gut bacteria also make up part of your immune system helping you ward off viruses and other invaders.
The choices you make daily about what to eat, drink, and even think or feel have great impact on your gut bacteria.
The following gut health tips will help you heal your gut and positively support your health.
Below Are 12 Tips To Heal Your Gut And Thereby Optimize Your Entire Health
12 Tips To Heal Your Gut: Tip #1
Avoid Elective Medications
Avoid elective medications such as antibiotics for prevention or in case, oral contraceptives, other synthetic hormones, anti-inflammatory drugs, antacid drugs or steroids unless absolutely medically necessary. These drugs have significant side effects that include killing off your beneficial gut flora, causing imbalanced gut flora, candida overgrowth, intestinal permeability (Leaky gut), vitamin and nutrient deficiency and more.
You can choose to take the drugs to mask symptoms, or aim to address the root cause. Many times these drugs are suggested or prescribed after a complaint of a symptom to manage symptoms such as indigestion, GERD, irregular or painful periods, ovarian cysts, changes in mood, muscle aches, congestion, back pain, acne, cold or flu. The problem is that in these cases they do nothing to address the root cause of the problem, can worsen the root cause and can create new health problems.
12 Tips To Heal Your Gut: Tip #2
Include Prebiotic, Probiotic, Fermented Foods
Eating fermented foods along with a diet not comprised of processed foods and plentiful in certain fruits and vegetables is one of the best way to help your good bacteria thrive. Fermented foods are essentially probiotics in food form and your gut will thank you for eating them. Yogurt and sauerkraut are two of the most common examples. Miso, kefir, tempeh, pickles, and kimchi are other options. I know this can be confusing especially for those following special diets for candida, SIBO, or low allergen diets.
That’s why I like to use more Kimchi, sauerkraut, cultured organic grass-fed raw butter, rather than soy products that can be problematic. If okay with dairy, I suggest raw grass-fed kefir rather than pasteurized conventional dairy that has been stripped of benefits.
Prebiotics and probiotics play a crucial role in maintaining proper gut health. Prebiotics are non digestible carbohydrates that promote the growth of good bacteria in your gut which makes them basically food for the good. Probiotics are live microorganisms found in fermented foods, such as kimchi, sauerkraut and unpasteurized yogurt, which improve your gut health by balancing your gut microbial levels.
Prebiotic foods include:
- Chicory, garlic
- Dandelion greens
Probiotic foods that contain beneficial bacteria :
- Raw kefir
- Sourdough Bread
- Some Cheeses
- Jerusalem Artichoke
- Dandelion Greens
Not everyone does well with all foods. Some may be following special diets that may require exclusion of certain foods. Taking a high quality probiotic like Therbiotics Supreme Daily DF 30 Billion, that is a research based, high CFU, acid stable probiotic formula, can be an easy way to get healthy doses of these beneficial bacteria as part of your health regimen. Probiotics are a great way to improve your gut health and your overall health and well-being.
12 Tips To Heal Your Gut: Tip #3
Minimize Intake Of Processed Food, Processed Oils, Food Additives, And GMO’s.
Minimize intake of processed food, processed oils, food additives, GMO’s. Eating a healthy diet can be confusing these days with so much health advice out there and many contrary to one another. What can be agreed on by most health experts is the fact that processed foods and toxins like food additives have a negative impact on your health, including your gut health, causing imbalanced gut bacteria or dysbiosis, inflammation, and intestinal permeability which are the gateway to chronic disease. There are 10,000 food additives approved for use in the US but many are banned for use in European countries. You can learn more about specific food additives and their health hazards in this guide to food additives here.
12 Tips To Heal Your Gut: Tip #4
Beware Of Environmental Toxins
Beware of environmental toxins, rampant in our modern world, environmental toxins damage your gut bacteria and health. Simply by increasing your awareness of environmental toxins you could start to decrease your exposure.
Pesticides such as glyphosate are toxic chemicals that are sprayed on non organic fruits and vegetables that non only decrease their nutrient content but and when ingested enter your gut environment and cause damage.
Other examples include chemicals in plastics such as phthalates and Bisphenol A, parabens in body products and cosmetics, dioxin in animal products, heavy metals like lead, aluminum, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, thallium, antibiotics, fungicides and the numerous other chemicals used in commercial body products, agriculture, farmed fish, and more.
Environmental toxins damage your healthy gut flora, cause dysbiosis or imbalanced gut bacteria leading to intestinal permeability or leaky gut and can lead to numerous diseases. You can get information about environmental toxins through the FDA here.
12 Tips To Heal Your Gut: Tip #5
Take Time To Thoroughly Chew And
Enjoy Your Food
When you take time to relax, chew and enjoy your food, your parasympathetic system which is opposite of fight or flight kicks in and sets the scenario for optimal digestion. As you take time to relax and chew your food completely, food articles become more digestible making it easier for your body’s digestive enzymes to optimize their function to fully break down your food and absorb all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients for your body to use and function optimally. Eating in relaxation and maximizing chewing decreases the stress on your body by decreasing undigested food particles that cause inflammation and contribute to leaky gut.
12 Tips To Heal Your Gut: Tip #6
Get The Right Amount Of Fiber
High-fiber foods are good for your health. But adding too much fiber too quickly can promote intestinal gas, abdominal bloating and cramping. The recommendation for fiber intake is 25-35 grams daily. It’s best to get your fiber from whole food rather than supplementation Fiber supplements such as Metamucil, don’t have the vitamins and minerals and fiber variety that natural foods do and can be irritating.
There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber acts as a bulking agent with a laxative effect. Soluble fiber is a source of food for large intestinal bacteria and helps increase beneficial short chain fatty acids that are made by your gut bacteria that have numerous health benefits, including optimal weight support. Examples of insoluble fiber include flaxseeds, potato, cauliflower, nuts and seeds. Examples of soluble fibers include pectin and inulin in foods like apples, citrus foods and carrots. Great sources of fiber that can work with all eating plans are fruits and vegetables, and some grains like organic sprouted rice or quinoa.
12 Tips To Heal Your Gut: Tip # 7
Find Ways To Relax And Curb Stress
Stress is a culprit to disease but can also cause imbalance in your healthy gut bacteria and cause overgrowth of yeast like candida. Stress is hard on every part of your body, and that includes your gut. It may be difficult to eliminate stress in our modern world but finding ways to curb and address stress can do wonders. Relaxation techniques and techniques that strengthen your resiliency to stress include adopting a yoga practice, daily meditation, breathing exercises, spending time in nature, exercising, and simply doing more of the things you love.
12 Tips To Heal Your Gut: Tip # 8
Get Adequate Restful, Uninterrupted, Refreshing Sleep
Lack of adequate sleep negatively affects your gut bacteria and your entire health. Lack of adequate sleep causes hormone imbalance and increases cortisol. Cortisol is the stress hormone that can cause leaky gut or intestinal permeability where food and toxins pass through the intestine wall and into the bloodstream causing numerous health problems like autoimmunity. Adequate sleep includes enough time for sleep, 7-8 hours, and sleep that is not interrupted, and refreshing.
I love using Sleep Refresh, which is comprehensive, completely natural, non habit forming support for healthy sleep. Not only does it include one of the biggest antioxidants we can support our body with, but it includes relaxing and calming herbs and neurotransmitter support for mental and physical rest promoting restorative sleep. Optimizing sleep is the simplest way to support your gut health and overall health and well being.
12 Tips To Heal Your Gut: Tip #9
Watch Your Sugar Intake
High intake of sugar can disrupt the balance of your gut microbiome, increase inflammation and lead to disease. Sugar is highly addictive and can damage your cells. Artificial sweeteners are worse than sugar, and come with many serious and dangerous health hazards. Artificial sweeteners also disrupt gut bacteria and lead to metabolic disturbance, glucose intolerance, diabetes and obesity. Sugar also contributes to yeast or candida overgrowth that can wreak havoc on your body.
12 Tips To Heal Your Gut: Tip #10
Higher alcohol intake disrupts gut bacterial balance, causes yeast or candida overgrowth, and causes to leaky gut. Increasing alcohol intake also decreases gut vitamin absorption, and also increases inflammation and is linked to numerous diseases.
12 Tips To Heal Your Gut: Tip #11
Try A Paleolithic Diet
Avoiding processed foods, grains, dairy, corn, soy, sugars and additives as our Paleolithic ancestors did can be healing for most people and healing for the gut and can improve the absorption of vitamins and minerals. You may note that your digestive system feels much better when you focus on Paleolithic foods, using plants as a base rather than grains. Paleolithic diet of our human ancestors also helps heal and calm down many diseases including autoimmune disease, gastrointestinal and metabolic disease.
12 Tips To Heal Your Gut: Tip #12
Support Your Gut Intestinal Lining
The health of your intestinal lining is a key factor to your overall health and the gateway to autoimmunity. Your intestinal lining gap junctions keep the cells tightly bound together allowing nutrients to pass through and not allowing larger food particles that happen to be not fully digested, microbes and toxins to pass through. Many things can damage your intestinal lining like imbalanced gut bacteria, undigested food, toxins, alcohol, sugars, pharmaceutical medications, grains, GMO’s, pesticides and more.
When the intestinal lining becomes damaged, this is called leaky gut and is the gateway to many disease including autoimmune disease by way of inflammation. You can support your gut lining with powerful nutrients like L-glutamine, aloe, and collagen. I love adding Collagen Peptide Powder (grass-fed) to my morning coffee, soups, and baked foods as a collagen support source. I also love adding a scoop of Leaky Gut Restore to my smoothies and shakes which includes nutrients that work together to keep intestinal lining healthy.
Including bone bone broth in your diet can also be be helpful which you can make by by boiling bones and cartilage, or buy it ready made bone broth making sure its free of additives and sugars. and connective tissues. Bone broth is easy to make but takes time as ones and cartilage must be brewed for adequate time usually 10-12 hours and you can season to taste.
Remember the saying you are what you eat? The truth is that you are as healthy as your gut bacteria! If you have not embraced your gut health it’s time! Your gastrointestinal system is the gateway to health or disease and what you eat, drink, and even think or feel has great impact on your healthy gut bacteria, digestion, absorption of nutrients, balanced inflammation and immune health. use the above 12 tips to heal your gut, and thereby optimize your entire health!