How to heal your GUT

This month I have been zooming in on GUT functioning and common digestive tract problems (IBS, Constipation and Diarrhoea). Our daily lives are so full of stress, chemicals, refined foodstuffs (with unspeakable preservatives) and other “ickiness” - that we aren’t even aware of, that our poor gut has to deal with! As we learnt in IBS Explained, our digestive tract takes a lot of punishment when we eat - to absorb, filter and excrete the waste of all the food we eat. Everything you consume, follows the pathway through the body - ending up in contact with our colon. No wonder it might get damaged!

So, the situation is like this: Life happened, it hurt your gut and now you are experiencing all the awfully harsh consequences.

HOW DOES OUR GUT BREAK?

Chronic inflammation (including physical and emotional stress) and other triggers (like allergies) increases the pressure on the lining/walls of the colon which may irritate it (imagine it causes erosion on a dam wall - thinning it with every meal). Then, when we eat highly processed food (white flours; baked goods; high sugar containing items etc) and certain other foods, it “breaks” down that lining (imagine this “cuts” through the dam wall and all the water is now NOT where it is supposed to be, due to the broken barrier). It may also flatten the villi inside the gut, which are responsible for the absorption and digestion of many foods. The result? Poor nutrient absorption; impaired digestive abilities, even more chronic inflammation (the list goes on!).

HOW CAN WE HEAL OUR GUT?

Below are the (summarised) steps we need to take, to achieve healthier gut function and KEEP it that way.

Step 1: Repair the Damage

If we imagine our colon “dam wall” is now broken, our primary goal is to fix what is broken and rebuild the wall.
  • Avoid refined, high sugar items and replace them with raw, unprocessed and high fiber food (if you are experiencing severe abdominal cramps and pain - you may need a more individualised solution - rather contact a healthcare professional).
  • Take a good probiotic and prebiotic supplement: This is to get your happy gut builders motivated to repair the damaged wall; they are crucial elements in good gut health; digestion and improved immunity
  • Increase omega 3 intake plus you may wish to take a supplement. Omega 3 is beneficial to clamp down on the chronic inflammatory state while providing you with essential fatty acids to lubricate the colon and assist in healing the colon. Include oily fish into your diet (salmon, mackerel etc.) plus nuts and seeds (flaxseeds and walnuts).
  • Glutamine may also be prescribed to you as it is a conditionally essential amino acid (fancy words to say: in stressful situations, your body requires more than it can make itself). Thus, a supplement is necessary. Glutamine is a very powerful wound healer amino acid; quickly rebuilding any damaged tissue and enhances quick recovery.

Step 2: Maintain the Wall

Daily maintenance is required to have a healthy, happy gut.
  • Always try to include lots of high fiber items into your diet (keep skin on vegetables and fruit; choose wholegrain oats/pasta/breads etc)
  • Eat lots of vegetables and fruits: They contain plenty of powerful antioxidants to assist in fighting off the potential inflammatory items
  • Continue to take a probiotic and prebiotic supplement to FEED your gut the good stuff it needs to function optimally; also choose prebiotic and probiotic rich foods (fermented onions; pickles; yoghurt; oats and bananas etc)
  • Follow a healthy lifestyle: Stay active; manage your stress levels; sleep well and enough; consume moderate amount of alcohol and drink lots of clean water.

In summary, I want to tell you: It can be THAT simple to support a healthy, functioning gut despite the toll our lives are taking on our health. However, in severe cases, you may need even more assistance and help in this area. Then please consult with your dietitian, doctor or medical team.


How to heal your gut

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