I hope you had the chance to read Part 1 explaining ‘what Leaky Gut Syndrome is’ and now understand the importance of good gut health and digestion for overall well-being.
If you suspect you may have a ‘leaky gut’ then this blog will give you some helpful pointers to lifestyle and dietary changes that, once implemented, will put you on the right path to healing your gut.
The body is amazing at healing and repairing, but only if you give it what it needs to do so. Think of a scab; if left alone it will heal, and within a couple of weeks the scab will have miraculously disappeared. Well, your gut wall will also heal and regenerate if you give it the chance to do so; using the scab analogy – if you don’t pick it!
Lets take a look at 6 steps towards healing a ‘leaky gut’:
Step one – REMOVE
The first step to gut healing is to REMOVE the foods and drinks that damage the gut for at least 30 days; here is a list of common foods that can contribute to a leaky gut:
– Gluten, which is found in most grains. For best results remove all grains for at least 30 days.
– Alcohol. If you do drink, try and always eat food alongside alcohol to minimise gut wall damage.
– Processed and refined foods. Most of these foods will contain emulsifiers and preservatives which have been shown to damage the gut wall.
– Dairy, especially processed dairy.
– Bad fats, in particular vegetable fats, hydrogenated and trans fatty acids.
Step two – VARY
Most people habitually eat the same foods everyday, normally because we like them or they’re easy to eat. If you love eating a particular food it is highly likely that your immune system will have a problem with it. Every time you eat foods which have entered through the gut wall into your blood stream your immune system will be triggered and that response will become more severe every time you eat it. This inflammatory and toxic cascade of events overloads your liver and adrenal glands.
Try and explore different foods, perhaps trying new varieties of vegetables, meats and fish. Opt for foods that are in season and buy from farmers markets. Varying your diet reduces the chance of your immune system being triggered by the same foods and over time the gut will become de-sensitised, allowing your gut to heal.
If you love it, rotate it!
Try also to rotate your foods. Breakfast is the most common meal people repeat; make a big effort to at least vary your breakfast choices every other day, 4-5 different choices.
Step 3 – MANAGE STRESS
Whether it’s worrying about paying bills, relationship issues, over exercising or poor sleep – being stressed inhibits your ability to repair. Getting the fundamentals right is crucial for gut healing. Prioritising the 6 foundational principles of health is paramount and not to be overlooked. These are:
1. Thoughts – being mindful, living with purpose, having an open heart.
2. Breathing – breathing diaphragmatically and through your nose is key
3. Hydration – drinking at least 2 litres of mineral water per day and avoiding dehydrators such as caffeine and alcohol.
4. Movement – be sure to choose the right type of movement and exercise based on your needs and energy levels.
5. Diet – eating whole foods, preferably organic, free range and grass fed.
6. Sleep – Getting at least 8 hours of quality sleep to optimise recovery.
Step 4 -SUPPORT DIGESTION
It’s very easy to overlook the basics. Eating in a relaxed environment, chewing food thoroughly, and not drinking too much fluid with meals supports the Cephalic phase of digestion and reduces the load on the rest of the digestive phase.
As we age, especially over the age of 40 years, our digestion starts to become less effective, the production of Hydrochloric Acid (HCL) and digestive enzymes reduce, which can lead to a sluggish digestion, and we are more likely to develop an inability to break down foods. Burping, flatulence and undigested food in your poop may be a sign that you’re struggling to break down foods. Try supplementing a good quality digestive enzyme and HCL. Apple cider vinegar and fresh lemon can help too.
Step 5 -RECONDITION GUT MICROBIOME
Once you’ve removed foods that may harm and incorporated more variety into your diet, the next step is to recondition and replenish your gut bacteria (also called your microbiome) with spore based probiotics. There’s evidence that your microbiome literally orchestrates your immune system and plays a large role in warding off bad bacteria, yeasts and pathogens. An imbalance of good versus bad bacteria (called dysbiosis) can lead to an immune system acting as if it has no rudder. I’d highly recommend taking a quality spore based probiotic called Megaspore; scientific studies suggest that they can heal ‘leaky gut’ and encourage a healthy, wide diversity of microbiome which supports your immune system.
Step 6 -REBUILD
Finally, in this step it’s key to bolster the healing process. There are some effective traditional methods to help heal the mucosal gut membrane such as drinking bone broth. Bone broth is high in gelatine and helps to heal the gut wall. I’ve also seen some good results taking a good immunoglobulin supplement which supports a healthy immune response in the mucosa of the gut wall.
It makes sense that once you’ve invested the time and money in the healing process it is advisable to try and avoid the foods and lifestyle factors that created the problem in the first instance – or you could end up where you started!
If you need a helping hand improving your gut health or have any other health concerns then get in touch for a free consultation; we’d love to help.