You have Leaky Gut. Relax, it is something you can fix given enough time. And the good news is that symptoms will begin to subside even though you haven’t fully resolved the issue. If you’ve done any research on how to heal a leaky gut, you’ve probably come across the 4R protocol several times in one format or another.
REMOVE foods and other factors that damage the gut
REPLACE with healing foods
REPAIR with healing supplements
REBALANCE with probiotics
Step one, remove the foods and minimize exposure to things that are offensive to the gut. This seems completely logical right? But what if you don’t know which foods to remove. Here’s a convenient list of the foods to start with.
- Unhealthy Oils (Corn, Vegetable, Canola, Soy, etc)
- Alcohol and caffiene
- Consumption of too many carbohydrates
People who have an autoimmune disease might also consider limiting or removing the following:
- Nightshades (eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes and peppers)
- Nuts and seeds
- Eggs (particularly the whites)
Removing the foods above, you’ll greatly reduce the amount of inflammation in the body and really begin to restore health to your gut and the rest of your body. Try to eat as clean as possible as well. Eat organic, grass-fed, free-range, hormone-free, non-GMO whenever you can as this reduces the exposure to toxins greatly. If money is tight, here’s a great resource of the “Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen” of the foods you definitely should be buying organic and the ones you don’t have to worry about. In addition to the removal of these offenders, we want to add in foods that have great healing properties for the gut. Here are some of my favorites:
- Bone Broth – rich in collagen and the amino acids proline and glycine, which are all necessary for intestinal repair.
- Fermented Foods – contain orgainic acids to help balance pH and probiotics. Include sauerkrat, kimchi, kvassa are all great sources.
- Coconut Products – all coconut products are good for your gut. The Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT’s) are very easy to digest and aid in reducing inflammation.
- Fiber – Sprouted seeds and vegetables. If you have a severe leaky gut, you may need to begin with just the fiber from your vegetables. Otherwise, try sprouted chia, flax and hemp seeds. Fibers can help the growth of beneficial bacterias.
- Omega Fatty Acids – Another great way to help reduce inflammation. Salmon and other seafood, grass-fed beef too.
Adding in some gut specific supplements to your new regimen is a great way to speed up the healing process. There are numerous digestive aids to pick from so here are my two favorites.
- Probiotics are the most important supplement to take regularly as they help replinish the gut with the good bacteria and crowd out the bad guys. It is great to get this both from diet and from a high quality supplement.
- Digestive Enzymes help the digestive break down all the foods you’re ingesting.
An added area of focus is on stress. Stress is very detrimental to the health of the gut. Adequately managing stress is imperative for maintaining/repairing a healthy gut. During stress, the hormone cortisol is produced in higher levels. This hormone wrecks havoc both on hormone balance and normal gut function. It is important to avoid, as much as possible, chronic stress and incorporate activities into your day regularly – hiking, biking, running, dancing, meditating, lifting weights, playing with your kids, socializing, etc. Laughing is also very good for reducing the increased cortisol levels.
Stick to these pointers and you’ll be well on your way to a healthy gut and a happy life!
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