9 Top Tips For Better Gut Health
It’s all about the gut! Or more formally referred to as the gastrointestinal tract which begins at the mouth, follows through the stomach and intestines and ends ‘where the sun don’t shine’ (your anus). It is becoming more and more apparent that having good gut health is the foundation of overall optimal health. Researchers have found connections between the role of the gut in immune health, skin health, mental health, healthy weight maintenance, nutrient absorption, neurological disorders and heart health. This is why it is really important to get your gut in good shape.
There are a number of factors that can compromise the health of your gut, including antibiotic use, processed foods, lack of probiotic and prebiotic foods in the diet, sugar intake, autoimmune disease, medication use, bad bacteria, food allergies, gluten intolerance and stress.
Here’s how you can boost your gut health:
- Fermented foods: Many people screw their faces up at the thought of sauerkraut, but the truth is, it’s wonderful!! Sauerkraut, and other fermented foods such as kimchi, kombucha, tempeh, miso, yogurt and kefir are fantastic sources of probiotic bacteria. Probiotics are the good bugs, that live in the gut and help to fight off bad bacteria and modulate the immune system. If you don’t have enough good bacteria in your gut, you will be prone to bad bacterial overgrowth, where the nasties takeover and wreak havoc! Antibiotics kill off the good bugs as well as the bad, so having probiotics is very important.
- Bone broth: Bone broth is an excellent source of nourishing minerals, gelatine and collagen. When your gut is angry, inflamed and damaged it is in major need of some TLC (tender love and care)! Bone broth will help to soothe and reduce inflammation in the gut, help to repair the gut lining and flood your body with nourishing minerals. Bone broth also gives your digestive system a break, and allows it to rest and repair.
- Fiber: Oh, the fiber! Eating a diet high in fresh vegetables and fruits will provide your digestive system with lots of fiber to maintain regular bowel movements. Less commonly known about fiber is that it provides food for the good bugs in your gut to eat. This is referred to as prebiotic fiber and is extremely important, because without food to eat, the good bugs can die off and the bad bugs will start to take over. Garlic, onion, unripe bananas, chicory root, asparagus, apples, artichokes, leeks and legumes are great prebiotic sources. If you suffer from constipation, a good bulking fiber like psyllium husk will help to get things moving and to cleanse the bowel- this is the main ingredient in Fibertone powder.
- Avoid the sugar: Sugar is not only inflammatory to the body but it feeds the bad bacteria in the gut. Candida and other bad bacteria thrive off sugar and can grow out of control when given lots of it to eat. Removing sugar and high carbohydrate foods from your diet is really important for those with digestive complaints or those that are prone to thrush.
- Apple cider vinegar: This vinegar is amazing for improving overall digestion and nutrient absorption. When apple cider vinegar is taken before a meal, it stimulates bile acid flow and increases hydrochloric acid (stomach acid) which are required for digestion. If you are lacking in bile and stomach acid when you consume food, it cannot be properly broken down, leading to reflux, poor nutrient absorption and bloating.
- Glutamine: You have probably heard about this amino acid in the fitness industry for improving muscle growth and recovery. What you may not know, is that glutamine is amazing for your gut! It is the major fuel source for the cells of the intestinal lining. When the gut is damaged or inflamed and in cases of intestinal permeability (leaky gut), glutamine is effective at healing the damage and bridging the gaps between cells. It can heal leaky gut! You can achieve glutamine supplementation with our Glutamine Pure Powder or our Ultimate Gut Health Powder.
- Reduce stress: Surely, you’ve heard that it’s bad to eat while you’re stressed or angry? This is because when you are stressed, your body produces adrenalin and activates your ‘fight or flight’ response, which basically causes a large amount of blood flow to your muscles and your brain. The blood flow to the digestive system is neglected during this period, and is not able to properly digest food, leading to symptoms of indigestion, bloating and cramping. Take a few deep breaths before your meal to ‘rest and digest’. Daily Magnesium is very necessary to help alleviate stress and balance gut pH.
- Anti-microbial herbs: If you have candida overgrowth, bacterial overgrowth or a parasite hiding in your intestines, prepare for destruction. They can cause inflammation, irritation and damage to the gut lining, interfere with nutrient absorption, suppress the immune system and lead to symptoms of bloating, headaches, constipation, diarrhea and reflux. Oregano, thyme, clove and berberine are anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-parasitic and anti-viral and are fantastic for killing off this overgrowth. These herbs are most effective and best tolerated in the form of essential oil capsules.
- Avoid all gluten: Ahhh gluten! I’m sure you were waiting for this one, given the bad reputation gluten has. The problem with gluten is that the protein is large and hard to digest. The crops have been genetically modified and contain more gluten than ever before, further contributing to the problem. Many people are sensitive or intolerant to gluten, and without them even realizing it, it can be causing inflammation and damage (intestinal permeability) to their gut lining. Reducing gluten in your diet will be a positive step towards a healthy gut.
See Dr Cabot’s Book Gluten - Is it Making you Sick or Overweight? for more information on gluten, testing and gluten-free grains.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.