Best Foods For Gut Health:
The cold hard truth about eating to heal your gut is an underlying gut issue cannot be resolved through diet alone.
There are so many conflicting articles on the internet regarding what you should do for good gut health. What are the best foods for gut health? Which foods are bad for gut health? Its all very convoluted and frankly neurotic.
The health community is in consensus that all eliminating processed foods, particularly gluten, dairy, and sugar helps improve gut health, some tout high-fiber diets, others may recommend a carnivore dietand everything in between.
In general, those who face chronic gut issues are better off spending their time and energy figuring out the root cause of the problem versus elimination diets. Furthermore, many people who suffer from gut problems naturally dont want to eat as much, which can actually be detrimental. While fasting is a trend in the health community and certainly has its place in healing, your body simply needs adequate calories to heal. Excessively restricting calories on top of restricting foods will not help but will often set a person back in their healing process.
That said, if there are specific foods that are known triggers, it makes sense to avoid them. For instance, high fiber foods aggravated my GI when I had IBS, so I limited the amount I ate until I healed.
What helped me when I was in the thick of a flair was eating low-FODMAP foods, sweating regularly, and prioritizing protein and resistant starch over fiber.
Signs Your Gut Needs Support
Your gut is home to trillions of bacteria along with yeast and viruses that live among these bacteria.
Collectively, these microorganisms are called your gut microbiota. Their collective genes make up the gut microbiome.
Although everyones gut microbiome shares some similar characteristics, there are also vast differences.
As Will Bulsiewicz, M.D., a gastroenterologist and internationally recognized gut health expert, puts it you are one-of-a-kind with a gut microbiome as unique as a fingerprint.
When the bacteria, yeast, and other microorganisms that live in your gut are in balance, the rest of your body is often in harmony, too.
However, when a bacterial imbalance occurs , it can lead to suboptimal gut health, and if not supported or corrected, this can affect the rest of your body.
Here are some common factors affected by gut health, and how to optimize yours.
Why Is Gut Health Important
Weve found that a surprising number of symptoms and problems resolve when the gut is healed. This includes symptoms of brain fog, anxiety, food digestive issues, female hormone imbalances, and many more uncomfortable symptoms patients report experiencing. Research shows that your gut has the power to influence your cognitive function, mood, energy levels, heart health, thyroid function, hormonal balance, and more. In other words, having a healthy gut means you can have a healthy life.
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Foods That Are Bad For Your Gut
One of the worst things you can put in your gut are artificial sweeteners. They pass through your body undigested, which over time can affect the microflora in your gut . These artificial sweeteners include aspartame and sucralose.
Alcoholic beverages harm your gut microbiome. They can inhibit the production of digestive enzymes, which means your gut will have a reduced capacity to break down other foods to extract their nutrients. It also causes fermentation in your gut, leading to bloating and gas. .
Fried foods are often cooked in poor quality vegetable oils that cause gut inflammation, they are also heavier and more difficult to digest often leading to gas and discomfort.
Processed foods also lead to an unhealthy gut. They often contain long lists of additives, loads of salt, hidden sugars, bad oils, and are typically low in fiber. This can include but is not limited to: bacon, sausage, cakes, cookies, sweets, soft drinks, lunch meats, and chips.
Fall In Love With Kiwi Fruit
Kiwi Fruit is an effective remedy for constipation and is extremely soothing and healing for the gastrointestinal tract. According to Monash University, approximately 1 in 7 people suffer from constipation. A 4-week study showed that eating 2 kiwi fruit per day over 4 weeks was an effective treatment to increase bowel motility. Kiwi fruit is high in soluble fibre and vitamin C as well as being low FODMAP.
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Weight Gain And Obesity
Weight loss resistance and obesity have been linked to an imbalance of bacteria in the microbiome. Studies in mice found that overweight mice had a higher number of the bacteria Firmicutes, while thin mice had a higher proportion of the Bacteroidetes bacteria. In human cases, the beneficial bacteria called Lactobacillus rhamnosus was found to support weight loss in women. The microbiome factor may turn out to be a key component for many people seeking to lose weight their body has been holding on to for years.
Taking The Wrong Probiotics
If your leaky gut is due to SIBO and you cant seem to make it past step three of the 4R approach in your leaky gut treatment, your probiotics could be to blame. Bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine can be a surplus of good bacteria as well as bad, and typically involves lactobacillus or bifidobacterium species. When you take a lactic acid-based probiotic you are actually feeding the bacteria that have mistakenly inhabited your small intestine.
Until your leaky gut treatment is complete and you fix leaky gut, I recommend soil-based probiotics which are able to bypass your small intestine and colonize your colon and large intestine instead.
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Nourish Your Body With Prebiotics
Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best sources of prebiotics, which are essentially the food to promote the growth of good gut flora. Prebiotics also help to promote peristalsis in the gut which aids in the elimination of waste. Good sources of prebiotics are citrus fruits, kiwi fruit, pear, leafy greens and Healthy Chef Organic Superfood.
Rich sources of prebiotics are found in a variety of plant-based foods including leafy greens, oranges, kiwi fruit, leeks and Healthy Chef Organic Superfood.
There Are 3 Main Stages To Fixing Your Gut:
Each practitioner has their own approach, so this will vary slightly by who you work with, but these are the common basics.
Stage 1: Change the digestive environment
Stage one is all about diet and setting the stage to change your digestive environment .
Things that are therapeutic here are things like:
- Diet generally speaking, is your diet adequate?
- Are there foods, supplements and toxins in your diet that are overwhelming your liver and perhaps the root cause of the problem?
- Are you eating enough protein to get vital minerals and support detoxification by supplying adequate amounts of amino acids?
It’s important to remember that all probiotics were not created equal and certain probiotics are helpful to some and disastrous in others. Again, knowing what is going on in your gut can help narrow your support options.
Stage 2: Support digestion, liver/gallbladder, pancreas function and calm inflammation
Stage 3: Support a healthy gut by feeding your good bacteria
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Taking Medications That Damage Your Gut
Medications are the double-edged sword of our modern world. Some are life-saving and non-negotiable. Yet there are other gut-damaging medications such as antibiotics, oral contraceptives, and NSAIDs that can do more harm than good and get in the way of fixing leaky gut.
Antibiotics are one of the most over-prescribed medications. Nearly half of all outpatient prescriptions are unnecessary, according to the CDC.1 They work by blocking bacterial processes by either killing the bacteria or stopping them from multiplying. Unfortunately, antibiotics cannot tell the difference between the bad bacteria causing an infection and the good bacteria that belong in your gut. As the number of good bacteria in your gut decreases, you become susceptible to gut infections including Candida overgrowth and SIBO, which can contribute to leaky gut and interfere with leaky gut treatment.
Oral contraceptives or birth control pills contain synthetic hormones such as ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone, which are not recognized or broken down by the body in the same way natural estrogen is. Birth control pills also disrupt your internal balance of Candida by causing something called estrogen dominance meaning too much estrogen in the body. Candida cells have the ability to permeate your gut lining, causing leaky gut. When working to fix leaky gut, talk to your doctor about alternative methods of contraception.
How Do Gut Troubles Start
In modern cultures, weve all had moments in life where weve done some damage to our gut. Most likely, theres been a time when you made poor food choices, had a chronic illness, took pharmaceutical medicines, experienced surgery or childbirth, used birth control pills, had chronic indigestion for any reason, suffered serious emotional issues, or felt under par.
In these moments, your gut likely suffered an imbalance in necessary enzymes and bacteria. Our digestion, like all health processes, is influenced by physical as well as emotional factors.
You might say you have butterflies in the stomach or that you feel things in your gut. The truth is, the gut is our vital connection between brain and body, lifestyle and energy, desire and action.
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Smoking Inflammatory Foods And Your Gut And Skin
Have you noticed how when people give up smoking, their breathing and complexion improves? Do you have acne or dry cracked and peeling lips? These symptoms often reflect the level of moisture and bacteria in your gut. Limiting sugar , using a cooling diet and lung moistening rejuvenating herbs such as asparagus or a soup made with tremella goji berries and jujube red dates can help rejuvenate the gut and your skin and lips. Again: whats happening internally is reflected externally.
Fixing Leaky Gut: Avoid These 10 Mistakes
Science Based Amy Myers, MD
Amy Myers, M.D. is a functional medicine physician, trained and certified by The Institute of Functional Medicine. Dr. Myers earned her Doctor of Medicine at the LSU Health Science Center, and completed her Emergency Medicine residency at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Dr. Myers retired from her functional medicine clinic, Austin UltraHealth, where she served thousands of patients, to empower those who were failed by conventional medicine. Shes a 2x New York Times bestselling author, and the founder and CEO of the health & lifestyle e-commerce brand, Amy Myers MD®.
Have you been dedicated to your leaky gut treatment, only to have your digestive issues, eczema, brain fog, seasonal allergies, or other symptoms persist? Dont give up! Fixing a leaky gut can take time and there are many factors that can complicate your leaky gut treatment.
In fact, you may simply be overlooking a few key steps to fix leaky gut. Once youve made the necessary tweaks to your leaky gut treatment protocol, and continue to use essential supplements such as Leaky Gut Revive® , it should be smooth sailing. As a quick reminder, lets discuss The Myers Way® protocol to fix leaky gut.
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Eating Too Many Fermented Foods
Youve probably heard countless sources say fermented foods are a guts best friend. The truth is that when you introduce fermented foods into your diet and your gut microbiome, you dont really know exactly what kind of bacteria or yeast they contain.
As with probiotic supplements, if you have SIBO or Candida overgrowth, you should wait until after you fix leaky gut to eat fermented foods as they could potentially be worsening the overgrowth and derailing your leaky gut treatment.
Eating Health Foods That Really Arent Healthy
We grew up being told that foods such as dairy, grains, and legumes are healthy. As it turns out, these foods might be whats keeping you from fixing leaky gut. Dairy is one of the two most inflammatory foods. Seventy percent of women overall stop producing the lactase enzyme needed to properly digest dairy after they finish breastfeeding, which is why so many people have a dairy intolerance.3
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Dr Frank Lipman’s Gut Health Strategies
Dr. Lipman spends a lot of time helping his patients solve gut problems. His book and mobile health program How To Be Well details many of the helpful health strategies he uses to help people heal their gut problems.
His MasterHealth program includes important, everyday actions that include fostering beneficial gut bacteria , repairing the gut lining , and supporting gut health .
Many others have started to take action on their gut health with Dr. Lipmans easy-to-use health program that will guide you in taking the right actions for you, track the state of your gut health, pain, and stool quality .
What Are The Symptoms Of Leaky Gut:
The intestines have tight openings that allow nutrients and water to permeate and pass into the bloodstream. Leaky gut syndrome is a condition where those openings stretch and become wider, allowing whole food particles to pass through into the bloodstream.
Common symptoms of leaky gut are:
- Chronic constipation and/or diarrhea
- Fatigue/low energy
- Skin rashes, eczema, acne
As I mentioned earlier, my GI Map results showed I had extremely leaky gut. When your intestines are leaky, you arent absorbing nutrients properly and you have an unhealthy GI, which is a perfect breading ground for harmful bacteria and pathogens.
The environment is ideal for illness to take hold, as your good bacteria can only do so much when your intestines arent sealed. My gut healing protocol eradicated the overgrowth of bacteria and parasites as well as healed and sealed my gut so that my body could fully recouperate.
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Eat Lots Of Vegetables Legumes Beans And Fruit
Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of nutrients for a healthy microbiome.
They are high in fiber, which your body cant digest. However, certain bacteria in your gut can digest fiber, which stimulates their growth.
Beans and legumes also contain very high amounts of fiber.
Some high fiber foods that are good for your gut bacteria include:
One study found that following a diet rich in fruits and vegetables prevented the growth of some disease-causing bacteria (
Many fruits and vegetables are high in fiber. Fiber promotes the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, including specific types such as Bifidobacteria.
Drinking Bone Broth Regularly
This superfood brims with collagen and minerals that can soothe and repair a damaged gut. Sip it alone as a warm drink or use it as the base for soups and in other recipes. I recommend making bone broth yourself at home in a slow cooker or pressure cooker , using bones from grass-fed cattle or organic chickens. If you dont want to make it yourself, Bare Bones and Kettle & Fire are both great options.
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How Long Does It Take To Repopulate The Gut With Good Bacteria
Theres no simple answer to this question because it depends on the state of your microbiome, the quality of your diet, any medication you take, your level of exercise and more. However, the gut microbiome is very adaptable and responds to positive lifestyle choices.
So if you eat a diet with lots of fiber-rich whole foods and add some probiotic foods or supplements, you can speed up your gut biome restoration. Plus, getting regular exercise, especially cardio, is associated with higher diversity in your gut.
Increase Your Intake Of Probiotics
Probiotics are live microorganisms, usually bacteria, that provide a specific health benefit when consumed.
Probiotics dont permanently colonize the intestines in most cases. However, they may benefit your health by changing the overall composition of the microbiome and supporting your metabolism .
A review of seven studies found that probiotics have little effect on the gut microbiome composition of healthy people. However, there is some evidence that probiotics may improve the gut microbiome in those with certain diseases .
One review of 63 studies found mixed evidence of the effectiveness of probiotics in altering the microbiome. But the researchers noted that the probiotics strongest effects seemed to be in restoring the microbiome to a healthy state after it had been compromised .
Nevertheless, some studies have shown that probiotics can improve the functioning of certain gut bacteria, as well as the specific types of chemicals they produce .
You can increase your intake of probiotics by consuming more probiotic-rich foods, including fermented foods like kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, and yogurt.
Alternatively, you can consider using a probiotic supplement. However, be sure to talk with your doctor before starting supplementation, especially if you are taking other medications or have any underlying health conditions.
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