James, my husband, and I have been embarking on our very own gut healing diet and have been supplementing with various things to assist the process. Today I wanted to expand more on the topic to help guide you in optimizing your own digestive health!
Not too long ago in our post on Gut Health and Disease I shared several reasons as to how our modern lifestyle and standard american diet can lead to an overgrowth of unfriendly bacteria and leaky gut syndrome in our bodies. These lead to more serious problems and greatly impact how well our immune system fights off invaders.
The majority of us these days have some form of digestive issues occurring. According to The U.S Department of Health and Human Services 60 to 70 million people are affected by all digestive disorders. Did you know that 63 million suffer from chronic constipation alone? It is evident that something has to change, and we believe that it starts with our food and carries into our lifestyle choices.
The goal of embarking on a gut healing journey might be as treatment for a current disease or as a way to fix a health problem before it becomes an illness. This is a mindset that focuses on restoring health and improving quality of life.
Ultimately our goal should be to live a healthful existence throughout all of life.
So, have you ever assessed your digestive status? Below are some basic questions to ask yourself to help you focus your attention on your digestive functioning. How intense are these symptoms (mild, moderate, or severe)?
- Alternating constipation and diarrhea
- Abdominal cramps
- Food Allergies
- Difficulty Gaining Weight
- Dry Skin and Hair
- Sinus or Nasal Congestion
- Eczema, Skin Rashes, or Hives
- Headaches or Migraine Headaches
Other questions to ask:
- Do you take lots of medications? If so, this means that your body is in some state of imbalance as medications interact with nutrients in various ways.
- Are you eating lots of sugar, alcohol, and drinking soft drinks? Do you smoke? How about processed vegetable oils? All of these lead to digestive problems.
- Take a look at your lifestyle. Do you lead a sedentary lifestyle? How do you manage stress in your life? Are you using lots of chemicals in your home? All cause an imbalance in gut health.
This information above is not meant to replace medical advice, but it is meant to help you consider alternatives. Typically digestive issues are treated with medicine and the root cause does not get addressed. Today we want you to consider exploring the root cause if you feel that you might be suffering. Our bodies are smart enough to tell us if it is suffering, so just begin to pay attention. Know that one person might be able to tolerate a food entirely different than you do. Listen to your body. So here are the ways to help heal the gut naturally.
This is pretty much everything we tell you to stay away from, and for good reason. These include grains (especially gluten containing grains), processed vegetable oils, processed soy, and sugar. All of these foods create an environment of chaos inside your body. These foods are high inflammatory foods, gut irritants, and these foods leave our bodies severely depleted of nutrition. You may also need to investigate a bit further by having some testing done to determine if any foods are a problem for you. You might have a parasite or an infection. If you suspect any of these seek out medical advice and get some testing done.
Replace the bad with the good.
Fermented foods are loaded with probiotics, help with digestion, and provide healthy enzymes. Probiotics help create a healthy balance of good bacteria in the gut. These foods include sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, natto, etc. These provide our bodies with higher levels of vitamins as well. Since gut flora moves in and out of the gut we need to consistently be replacing them by either eating the above fermented foods and/or supplementing with a probiotic supplement. These help our bodies fight off disease! I recommend doing additional research on what to look for in a probiotic supplement if you choose to go that route. Just know that some come with more strands than others, some are condition specific, and some contain prebiotics that help the flora grow. I believe that quality does matter, so choose the best you can find!
Just recently on the blog we talked about becoming a nutrient seeker. In this post I mentioned nutrient-dense whole foods to seek out which included fermented food and bone broth. I want to expand on the amazing benefits of bone broth right now and leave you with a recipe! Bone broth is one superfood that has been around for centuries and is known to help repair the gut. The most vital nutrient in bone broth is gelatine. Gelatine helps to heal the gut in that it helps repair the damage that the toxins listed above have left on your gut lining. See, the toxins pretty much tear and cause holes in your intestinal lining, which can lead to leaky gut. Leaky gut is when food that is supposed to stay in your digestive tract “leaks” into the bloodstream. When this happens your body starts to attack itself. Bone broth helps to repair the lining! James and I now make bone broth a regular part of our life for this reason alone. Oh, and bonus, it also provides good protein, helps my joints, and makes my skin, hair, and nails looks awesome! Check out the Food Lovers Kitchen’s recipe below and make for yourself:
- 2-3 lbs soup bones (marrow, knuckle, or meaty bones)
- Purified water
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Add bones to a large soup pot, or slow cooker.
- Pour in enough purified water to cover the bones.
- Add in 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.
- Cover and simmer for 24-48 hours.
- Remove bones from broth.
- Pour broth into a large bowl or pot through a fine mesh strainer.
- Use immediately, or refrigerate up to 1 week.
Another option is supplementing with gelatin. We are doing this in addition to drinking bone broth. You can find a wonderful grass-fed gelatin here.
Take a look at your lifestyle.
We have said it before but lifestyle is key. Of course, what we eat plays a huge role, but there are other variables. These include sleep, exercise, managing stress, and decreasing our exposure to chemicals and toxins.
So, how are you doing in these areas? Do you think your gut might need some tender loving care? All we ask is that you consider taking note of what is happening with your digestion and be open to the idea that it might be asking you to make some changes.
We would love to hear what you have to say regarding this topic. Let us know!