It’s such a hot topic right now- but so much information out there completely misses the mark.
Let’s start with who would care about gut health?
Those who may have ‘leaky gut syndrome’ (more on this later)
Those with poor immune function (sick often)
Those with auto-immune diseases
Those with hormonal imbalances
Those with inflammatory diseases (toxins in foods and products cause most of our internal inflammation)
Those with anxiety, lack of mental clarity or loss of cognitive function
Those with daily flatulence (it’s actually NOT a normal bodily function to have daily or ongoing gas)
Those with digestive pain
Those struggling to lose weight
Those struggling with sleep
Those with chronic skin issues
So how does one heal their gut and focus on gut health?
Just as weight loss or a healthy lifestyle cannot be reached by taking a supplement or product alone, neither can gut-health.
The number one issue with an unhealthy gut is FOOD.
There are many aggressors in the gut-health game that need to be avoided if experiencing good gut-health is your goal:
Yes all grains. Processed foods like crackers, breads and cereals as well as rice and quinoa.
Grains contain anti-nutrients and lectins that can damage your gut. Whole grains that we are told by the FDA to consume daily contain their ‘whole bran form’, which is difficult for the body to digest and can cause small tears in the digestive system, thus leading to ‘leaky gut syndrome’
These tiny gaps allow substances such as undigested food, bacteria and metabolic wastes, that should be confined to your digestive tract, to escape into your bloodstream -hence the term leaky gut syndrome (which can lead to all of the issues above).
-> Opt for sweet potatoes and other root veggies and small portions of fruits instead.
2. Dairy I will just say this- no mammal drinks another mammals milk.....except humans. Our body lacks the enzymes to be able to break down lactose. Which leads to issues in your gut microbiome and gastrointestinal havoc.
Contrary to popular belief, there is not much calcium in cows milk. You can get more calcium from cashew milk than cows milk and there are so many great options for foods with calcium other than dairy.Kids don’t ‘need’ cows milk either. In fact, it’s detrimental to their developing digestive systems.
-> Opt for non-dairy options like cashew/almond/coconut milk (all GREAT for cooking/baking too!), new almond milk-based products like Kite Hill Almond Milk cream-style cheese/ricotta/yogurt, etc.
3. Sugar We all know sugar is bad. But from a gut health perspective, it’s even worse.
Bacteria need to eat- and what fuels them? Sugar. The more sugar you consume, the more out of balance the good vs bad bacteria in your body becomes.
Even consuming excessive amounts of fruit can cause an overgrowth of bad bacteria that can disrupt your gut health and cause many of the issues above.
-> Bottom line- just stay away from sugar. Especially processed sugar. Opt for smaller amounts of fruit.
A protein found in many grains (including wheat, rye, and barley). It gives foods a good texture, but can do a number on your gut.
And while it’s true that some people are more sensitive to gluten than others, research has shown that even if you’re not gluten-sensitive, eating gluten can have significant, long-term effects on your gut bacteria, which in turn can affect pretty much any other part of your body.
A focus on real, nutrient-dense foods will naturally lead to a gluten-free lifestyle.
-> Opt for grain-free bread mixes made from almond flour If you need your avo-toast!
5. Commercially raised beef/eggs/fish
Why is this a big deal for your gut? You are digesting what these animals are fed: toxic crop oil by-products, poor quality grains, antibiotics, steroids and pesticides.
This is what I post about constantly. Everything from your deodorant to your shower products to your household cleaners can be absorbed and ingested, thus disrupting the gut microbiomes normal metabolic activities.
Again- over or constant exposure can lead to much of the gut health issues above.