How To Have A Healthy Gut
Top Tips for Gut Health
A healthy gut is key to your overall health. Your gut breaks down foods so nutrients can enter your bloodstream and be delivered throughout your body. If it can’t do that, you’ll feel the effects.
A poor diet can lead to leaky gut syndrome, which can cause an array of issues throughout your body. Leaky gut has also been linked to autoimmune disorders. But here's the good news: with some diet tweaks, you can help your gut stay healthy.
What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?
A healthy gut has a tight lining that allows your body to digest foods before they are sent into the bloodstream. If that lining weakens, it creates holes that allow food particles, toxins, and bacteria to leak into the bloodstream. This is known as leaky gut syndrome, which is also called increased intestinal permeability.
Leaky gut can trigger inflammation throughout your body and cause a number of digestive issues including bloating, diarrhea, constipation, gas, nausea, and food sensitivities. It can also cause issues outside your digestive system, like headaches, joint pain, and brain fog.
How do you get leaky gut? Your genetics may play a part, giving you a weaker lining to begin with. Or a poor diet – low in fiber and high in saturated fats and sugar – may be to blame.
Leaky Gut and Autoimmune Disorders
An autoimmune disorder happens when your immune system mistakenly attacks itself. Some common autoimmune disorders include Type I diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.
Some studies have linked leaky gut with autoimmune disorders, although it is not yet known if leaky gut causes the disorders or if it's a symptom of them. With leaky gut, particles and bacteria move through the intestinal walls without first being digested. Your immune system then attacks these foreign particles.
The increased inflammation creates more problems and tells your immune system it needs to work harder. Regardless of whether leaky gut leads to autoimmune disorders or is caused by them, reducing inflammation can help rebuild your gut lining and improve your overall health.
How Can An Anti-Inflammatory Diet Help?
Since leaky gut can trigger inflammation, an anti-inflammatory diet can help alleviate symptoms. An anti-inflammatory diet includes fresh, whole foods that should be a part of any healthy diet.
As the name suggests, an anti-inflammatory diet consists of foods that reduce inflammation and avoids foods that cause it. I recommend following the Mediterranean or Paleo diets as they are inherently anti-inflammatory. It can also be helpful to go through an elimination diet to make sure foods like whole grains or legumes (which can be anti-inflammatory) aren’t actually worsening your symptoms.
Anti-inflammatory foods include:
- Fruits and vegetables: Leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, and berries are excellent anti-inflammatory foods.
- Nuts: They contain healthy fat that lowers inflammation, but limit nuts to about a handful a day to avoid excessive calorie consumption.
- Fish: The omega-3 fatty acids in fish fight inflammation.
- Herbs and spices: These add antioxidants to your diet. Turmeric and garlic are excellent choices for reducing inflammation.
Steer clear of foods that flare up inflammation, which unfortunately are often the foods that we crave – sugary desserts, processed meats and whole milk products full of saturated fats, fried foods, and foods with trans fats.
The Path to Optimal Gut Health
To protect your gut, stick to a diet that supports your overall digestive health. Take an honest look at your diet and see where you can make improvements. Do you have any food sensitivities? Are you eating a lot of processed foods? How much fresh food is in your diet?
Tweak the foods you eat regularly as needed to avoid anything you’re sensitive to, limit the amount of inflammatory, processed foods in your diet, and add more fibrous, whole foods.
A healthy gut leads to a healthy you.
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To your health,
The content on heartroothealth.com is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.