You might not realize it, but your gut might be in some desperate need for some TLC. Our gut has been long thought of as the root of all disease. This means it is an essential key to living a vibrant, healthy life. Many of us don’t realize we have gut issues because we assume that would mean we are experiencing digestive issues like gas, indigestion, heartburn and bloating, but most gut issues manifest as very unexpecting ways. Think skin issues like acne or eczema, fatigue, mood swings, chronic pain, headaches, brain fog, weight gain, depression and anxiety and so much more. My personal wellness journey started off with me trying to resolve chronic pain challenges. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I was healing my gut in the process and saw remarkable changes to my brain fog and concentration issues, headaches and even mood. More recently, I noticed I was dealing with some skin issues, more specially acne that seemed to come out of nowhere, so I knew it was time to focus on healing my gut again. Within a few weeks of modifying what I was eating and taking a few supplements, my skin has cleared up and my confidence because I am no longer worried about my blemished face.
If you have annoying symptoms you want to get to the bottom of or simply want to improve your wellness, your first goal should be addressing your gut health. I think you would be amazed at the transformation you will experience after a few weeks of allowing your gut to recover and rebalance.
This gut healing process is especially important for those of us who are constantly go-go-go and are handling a lot of stress. This is because stress can really take a toll on our digestive health in so many ways including:
Negatively impacting our gut microbiome, by killing off the “good bacteria” and reducing our overall microbiome diversity.
Causing tears in the lining of our gut, which will lead to leaky gut and myriad of downstream issues.
Slowing down our natural digestion process so we are no longer getting the necessary nutrients from our food and our food is no longer passing through us properly.
I am sure you are convinced that giving your gut a little extra loving is essential, but how do you do that? I have provided an overview of the essential healing steps, for more details, there is a blog post that does a deeper dive into all of these steps.
Inflammatory/reactive foods (such as gluten, dairy, soy and eggs)
Refined sugar and artificial sweeteners
Antibiotics (for us and our food)
Certain medications that impact gut health (ask you primary care provider or pharmacist is any of your current medications have an impact on your gut health)
Toxins found in personal care/ household products
Eating foods that naturally contain digestive enzymes such as pineapple, papaya, mango, banana, kiwi, avocado, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso and ginger.
Taking enzyme supplements before meals.
Drinking 1-2 teaspoons of fermented unfiltered raw apple cider vinegar in a cup of water in the morning or before meals. Alternatively, you can take apple cider vinegar capsules prior to meals.
Drinking lemon in water in the morning or before meals.
Chewing your food more thoroughly to assist in food breakdown.
No longer taking medication for acid reflux and heartburn (antacids and proton pumps inhibitors).
Restart the digestive system before meals. In order to do this, try relaxation techniques such as:
Deep breathing exercises, especially ones with holds between inhales and exhales and those with longer exhales to inhales
Visualization practises where you think about a place that brings pure joy and try to imagine all of the sights, smells, sounds, tastes and touches you would experience if you were actually there.
Gratitude practise where you take a moment to appreciate the food in front of you or positive moments you experienced that day.
Restore healthy balance in the gut microbiome. In order to do this, try:
Eating a diversity of whole foods.
Eating prebiotic foods like leeks, onions, garlic, artichokes, bananas, apples, asparagus, oats and barley.
Eating fermented fermented food like kimchi (my personal favourite), sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir, and yogurt.
Taking probiotic supplements with high diversity and abundance of colonies.
Repair the gut lining. In order to do this, increase the following nutrients through your diet or supplementation:
Omega-3 to help reduce inflammation, expedite the healing of the gut lining.
L-Glutamine to strengthen the bonds between the intestinal cells to reduce leaky gut.
Glutathione to help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress and strengthen the bonds between the intestinal cells to reduce leaky gut.
Butyrate (or butyric acid) - to help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress and source of fuel for both intestinal cells and the microbiome.
Marshmallow to help reduce inflammation and irritation of the gut lining.
Slippery Elm to help reduce inflammation and irritation of the gut lining.
Zinc to help heal the gut lining and strengthen the bonds between the intestinal cells to reduce leaky gut.
This can be a bit of a challenging process as there are so many steps and sub-steps and they need to take place in the right order for the best results. If you are interested in receiving additional support and guidance with this process, either one-on-one or in a group, please reach out by sending an email or booking a discovery call.
Want to learn more?
Check out this blog on how our gut health impacts our overall health (part 1 of this series).
Check out this blog on how to remove things harming your gut (part 2 of this series)
Check out this blog on how to improve sluggish digestion (part 3 of this series)
Check out this blog on how to de-stress before eating to improve digestion (part 4 of this series)
Check out this blog on how to balance your microbiome (part 5 of this series)
Check out this blog on how to repair the lining of your gut (part 6 of this series)