How to Restore Gut Health
When gut health is out of whack, we can face major health consequences.
Your gut does much more than digest your food. Poor gut health and leaky gut have been linked to several diseases, including autoimmune disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, and depression.
Our insides work hard to keep us healthy and happy.
At least 70 million people in the U.S. suffer from some sort of digestive illness (not including heartburn), and digestive problems account for nearly 10% of all healthcare spending.
That’s where nutrition can come in. The right diet helps make the gut stronger which in turn can improve your overall health and well-being.
There are 5 basic steps to begin to restore gut health:
Make dietary changes to remove foods that damage the gut and starve out bad bacteria. Removing processed foods like chips, store-bought sweets is the key. They’re loaded with added sugars and fat that feed the bad bacteria.
Foods and Other Things to Avoid:
- Sugars of all types, foods that contain refined or simple sugars Sugar, sweets, milk chocolate, jams, fruit spreads
- Dried Fruit – raisins, dates, prunes
- Fruit Juices
- Gluten (wheat bread, cous cous, pasta, rye, spelt)
- Processed food/refined foods (breakfast cereal, canned foods, chips, biscuits, pastries, muffins…)
- Dairy, Cow’s Milk (use almond or goat milk as an alternative)
- Peanuts and Cashews
- NSAIDs (Ibprofen, or naproxen drugs)
- Acid Blockers
- Most pharmaceuticals, including the Pill, steroids, and painkillers (aspirin, ibuprofen, etc
- Steroids and Anitbiotics
Remove bad bacteria, and accumulated toxins from the bowel. I recommend doing a full cleanse seasonally. However, it is best to do a cleanse however and whenever you can….INSTEAD of waiting for some magical “perfect” time.
Various products can help you cleanse the bowel and remove toxins:
- Garlic supplements
- Peppermint and Oregano Oil
- Olive Leaf extract
- Herbs like buckthorn and cascara sagrada
- Find a good reliable Detox Kit, our bodies are constantly bombarded by toxins, no matter how carefully we eat or choose our household products.
Details on the full gut and body detox I recommend and guide my clients through seasonally can be found here. This detox is 100% plant sourced, gluten, soy and nut free, non-GMO and contains zero artificial ingredients. It is very gentle and only takes 14 days to complete. Best of all you do not have to follow a special meal plan. Click the photo below for more details.
Add back in good bacteria through probiotics. Our body needs friendly bacteria. These bacteria inhibit the growth of the bad bacteria. Probiotics are much more important—and versatile—than most people realize. In addition to playing a vital role in our immune system and digestive and intestinal tract, probiotics are increasingly being studied for their role in other body functions, including mood and circulatory health.
You can also get good bacteria from fermented foods like:
- yogurt (unsweetened and raw – not all yogurt is good… read your labels)
- fermented juices and kombucha
If you eat enough foods that are high in friendly bacteria, then a supplement is not needed daily, you can still improve your gut health without them. A suggestion may be to take one at least 2-3 days a week as an alternative to daily. I do however find eating a ton of fermented foods to be hard, so I take a supplement twice a day. My favorite so far is ProBio IQ. Daily supplementation with probiotics is slowly being seen as the norm for people who want to enjoy a consistently healthy lifestyle. Supplements support digestion and absorption of nutrients, protect and heal gut lining and repopulate good bacteria for bowel health.
If you only ever took one supplement, I’d suggest it being a probiotic. When trying to decide on a probiotic supplement look for Bifidobacterium Longum, Lactobacillus Helveticus, Saccharomyces Boulardii.
An anti-inflammatory diet – we primarily move away from the frequent consumption of overly processed, unbalanced diets of the West and toward the ancient eating patterns of the Mediterranean.
Foods to include:
- Low-carb fresh vegetables such as kale, spinach, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, etc.
- fresh fruit but no more than 2 daily
- fresh sprouts
- apple cider vinegar (aids in digestion)
- fresh herbs and spices, especially ginger and tumeric
- Unsweetened almond milk, rice milk or coconut milk
- Fermented foods (kombucha, sourkraught, kefir)
- Gluten free grains (rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet..)
- Chicken, fish, turkey (all organic where possible)
- Avocado, extra virgin olive oil, raw nuts (not peanuts or cashews) and seeds (including psyllium husk), nut butters, coconut oil
- Fresh unprocessed meats
- coconut products
- Herbal tea and green tea
- Digestive enzyme capsules – these promote optimal food digestion and nutrient absorption.
- Fish oil capsules – these have great anti-inflammatory benefits. Look for 1000mg per capsule.
Drinking water is important for a healthy gut. It helps push food and nutrients through our system, which in turn helps us poop. Did you know some of us have 5-20 lbs. of extra poop just sitting in our intestines! When you have regular movements, you are getting rid of toxins and bad bacterial and allowing some of the other good stuff to have a home. Ideally you should be drinking at least half of your body weight in ounces of water. If you are trying to restore gut health and detoxing it is suggested to up that to by an additional gallon.
A few other ways to improve or restore gut health are:
- Exercise moderately
- Add in a Vitamin D supplement
- Reduce your stress
- Add in herbs
- Add in meditation
- Have Fun
I hope by now you have a good idea on how to begin to restore your gut health.
Remember, if your gut is upset, it won’t perform well and you won’t feel well.
Do you remember the old saying “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy?”.. Well, in this instance mama is your gut … so … Let’s make her HAPPY!
Thank you for taking the time to read my suggestions on how to restore your gut health.
If you have any additional ways to improve gut health please let me know in the comments.