My Top 4 Gut Healing Tips
Did you know that allergies, food sensitivities, autoimmune diseases, weight gain and even depression can be caused by an unhealthy or underdeveloped gut microbiome? It's true! Our gut is the power house that controls so many parts of our health.
As we start to understand our "gut stories" and how they were developed (read this blog HERE), we can also start to understand why we may suffer from certain health issues. Since we can't go back in time to when the gut was maturing at infancy, I thought it would be helpful to share my top 4 tips to increase the vitality of the gut microbes and increase your gut health. Take one step at a time and you will be amazed at how any of the issues above will start to improve.
1. Fermented Foods. They have been receiving lots of publicity lately for improving digestion. Fermenting foods boosts their nutritional value. All traditional cultures, before refrigeration was invented, ate some sort of fermented food everyday out of necessity to increase the longevity of their harvest. Medical research believes this is partly why they didn't suffer from many of the non-communicable diseases known today.
Many fermented foods contain live organisms called "pre and pro-biotics" aka the food bacteria that keep your gut microbes healthy and functioning. activity and health. But not all fermented foods are created equally. Beer and wine for example, although fermented, have no probiotic benefit. The enzymes are killed during the heating process and the removal of the yeast. A few foods that are full of good bacteria and live organisms are kimchi, saurkraut (found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, not canned), yogurts that are fermented for more than 4 hours, some pickles (again not the type in jars on the shelves- they need to say fermented) and some cheeses.
As a rule of thumb, for a fermented food to have their probiotics in tact they cannot have been heated in any way and they should say naturally fermented on the label. I highly recommend making your own fermented foods and eating a bit of it each day!
2. Reduce antibiotic intake. As a kid, if I had any type of infection including strep throat, the flu, ear infections, UTI's or any allergic reaction, 9 times out of 10 an antibiotic would be prescribed. While it is common that the antibiotic would wipe out the illness, it can actually do more harm than good if the disease isn't curable naturally. Antibiotics kill the disease causing bacteria is killed along with the good bacteria in your body that is needed for a strong immune system and properly functioning digestive system as well. The more the body is exposed to antibiotics the more resistant it is in the future when you may actually need an antibiotic.
Children will healthy gut microbiomes are less likely to develop ear infections, allergies, rashes and other medicated illnesses. When you heal your gut, you will improve your immunity. They go hand in hand. My first suggestion is to heal the gut first and see how your body will be less prone to illnesses that need antibiotics.
Secondly, try to heal the body naturally with other modalities with less side effects.
Thirdly, look at your food and see if there are antibiotics being used. Antibiotics are commonly used in the meat industry to increase the yield of animal protein. Chickens and cows were commonly injected with antibiotics to grow more muscle and were also fed food that had antibiotics in it as well. Over time, scientific research proved that this over exposure to antibiotics was very harmful to our health and actually caused our bodies to become antibiotic resistant. Now, farmers are more conscious of this but there are still antibiotics lurking in some meat products. Be thoughtful of this when choosing what you eat!
3. Chemical-ish free home. Having a sterile living environment does not always keep you healthier. As you know, chemical cleaning products are on the market because of their antimicrobial properties. Unfortunately, just like antibiotics, they can kill the bad and the good bacteria. Your skin microbiome easily absorbs these chemicals sprayed on your counter or in your laundry detergent that can disrupt the balance. A bacteria free environment is also not always good for the immune system. Germs actually allow the immune system to fight harder. Without all of the bacteria strains in our body, diseases like asthma and allergies are more prevalent.
"a growing body of research has linked the sharp increases in asthma and allergy rates to “the hygiene hypothesis” – the idea that our urban living environments have become too sterile and germ-free, leading our immune systems to become misguided and reactive." https://www.allergicliving.com/2017/11/30/inside-the-microbiome-why-good-gut-bacteria-is-the-big-hope-for-allergic-disease/
My rule of thumb is this. I try my very best to use natural household cleaning products whenever possible. I sometimes even make my own using White Vinegar and essential oils. It is far more of a pain to have a child develop an allergy than spend a little extra money or time to make your own natural products.
4. Drink wisely! I'll start with the easiest subject: sugar. The bad bacteria in your gut feeds on sugar increasing its power and strength. The probiotics or good bacteria feed on whole foods and fiber. Because the gut microbiome is known as the "second brain", its good health relies on having a surplus of good bacteria and less of the bad. Without this balance, cognitive health can decline and illnesses like depression, brain fog and even Alzheimer's can occur.
Now that sugar is out of the way, there are two drinks that I also have handy and often make myself that are amazing for your gut bacteria. Kombucha and Bone Broth. I wrote a whole blog about how amazing Kombucha is HERE that you can check out. Bone broth is full of amino acids that aid in preventing inflammation in your digestive tract and promote the growth of healthy probiotics. The gelatin that is released in the simmering process supports a healthy digestive system as well. You can find out more about bone broth and how to order mine HERE.
I hope these tips can help you find ways to start healing your gut. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me here. xo