"I just have this gut feeling about it!" we hear ourselves say followed oftentimes by a "just trust your gut on this one" from others when we are mulling over difficult decisions. These statements are commonplace but have you ever stopped to ponder why? It is said that our gut is our second brain. Kind of an odd statement if you're not familiar with how the body works. The two are pretty far apart in distance and have very different functions in the body....so how does this work? The gut and the brain are impressively connected in many ways through the gut-brain axis. This throughway of neurons transmits information back and forth from one part of the body to another. So when you've binged a little too much on pizza at lunch or couldn't resist that second donut your gut sends signals to the brain that you are full and it will also kindly (or perhaps not so kindly let you know later on). Or perhaps your monthly bill statement or upcoming work deadline that came it often reflected in our gut as a sinking feeling. What started out as mere thought manifests itself in your gut!
A little know fact that affects us all is that often our general mood and happiness is a reflection of the health of our guts?! When there is dysbiosis in our intestinal microbiome it is reflected in our mood, "the gut microbiota influences the body’s level of the potent neurotransmitter serotonin, which regulates feelings of happiness. Some of the most prescribed drugs in the U.S. for treating anxiety and depression, like Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil, work by modulating levels of serotonin. And serotonin is likely just one of a numerous biochemical messengers dictating our mood and behavior that the microbiota impacts". source what Is the takeaway here? You do have control over the health of your gut (and your mood!) through strengthening, healing, and continuously nourishing it. As the phrase goes...“Your gut is not Las Vegas. What happens in your gut does not stay in your gut!” Let this be all the more motivation to eat to feed and nourish our body to give it what it needs in order to give back to us! Below are some helpful and well researched suggestions to aid in healing and nourishing your gut for better health and wellness.
Gut Healing Foods
Bone Broth: This is probably one of my top recommendations when looking to heal the gut. Bone broth possesses an impressive amount of collagen, gelatin and glucosamine which are all known to strengthen the lining of the gut. I recommend making your own batch of bone broth that can easily be done at home in a crock pot. You can throw all the ingredients in, turn it on, and go! A great recipe for homemade bone broth can be found here. If you're busy and on the go and want to pick one up from the store I recommend the following brands: Kettle & Fire, and Pacific Foods.
Sauerkraut, Kimchi, and Yogurt: We all have bacteria in our gut (and that's not a bad thing) and this "good" bacteria and yeast is actually really beneficial to our gut and overall health. "Beneficial live bacteria and yeasts, called probiotics, which are found in some foods, have been associated with many benefits: weight loss and improved digestion and immunity, among others."source When purchasing yogurt make sure to buy dairy alternatives (cause we all know dairy won't help in the digestive department). Good alternatives to consider are almond and coconut yogurt. Ancient Awakenings is one of my favorites! Note: If you find you are doing worse off after consuming fermented foods this is an indication you most likely have a histamine intolerance and would benefit from a low histamine diet.
Aloe Vera Juice: Not only does aloe vera juice have an alkalizing affect on the body but it also keeps you regular and helps with constipation as well. There are a myriad of other health benefits including balancing the intestinal flora in the gut. In addition it can "decrease irritation in the stomach and intestines. The juice may also help people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other inflammatory disorders of the intestines." source. I like to purchase a whole aloe vera leaf, fillet it, blend it, strain it and store it in a jar in the fridge to add to water and teas. You can also purchase aloe vera juice in most stores.
Salmon: Salmon is both delicious and packed full of beneficial Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin D. Omega 3's are beneficial as they encourage a good balance of healthy bacteria in your gut but also helps to decrease the bodies overall inflammation. When your gut isn't in good shape (perhaps you've developed leaky gut?) salmon is a good option to help your put a damper on all that inflammation. When shopping around for salmon make sure to purchase wild caught. Farm raised salmon contains a myriad on toxins and PBDE's which are known to accumulate in the body over time (causing negative health affects).
Apple Cider Vinegar: It's great in salad dressing, in kimchi, or added to a myriad of drinks. Like a good friend it's also a giver in that it encourages more hydrochloric acid (HCL) within the stomach. This HCL is better able to breakdown food which aids in overall digestion and lessens the load on the digestive track. It's also antimicrobial and can inhibit the growth of certain kinds of bacteria.
Coconut: I could write a whole post about coconut and my deep and abiding love for it but I will spare you all and just give you the dEATS on how beneficial it is! Coconut is antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antiviral... it's pretty impressive right?! This resume of impressive accomplishments makes it an efficacious and beneficial food to consume when battling small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), candida, parasites, and leaky gut. The medium-chained triglycerides (MCT) heal and soothe the gut helping various gastrointestinal disorders.
Raspberries: They're sweet, cute, and easy to throw on top of yogurt and other enjoyable foods! It's no wonder we love them so much and add them to our meals. Packed full of an impressive amount of dietary fiber they also help encourage good bacteria in our digestive track while also controlling insulin sensitivity.
Gut Healing Supplements
L-Glutamine: An amino acid that helps to build up the immune cell tissue barrier and put a damper on inflammation. 500 mg 2x daily
Monolaurin: A natural antiviral and antifungal against candida albicans in the digestive track it protects against overgrowth and builds up the immune system.
Slippery Elm (Ulmus fulva): Derived from the inner bark of the a tree it is used to coat the lining of the throat (for colds), stomach, and digestive track to help soothe and strengthen the gut wall and heal leaky gut. Often used to treat IBS, Colitis, and Crohn's disease.
Marshmallow Root (Althaea officinalis): A powerful herb with similar mucilage properties as Slippery Elm it helps calm and reduce inflammation in the respiratory and digestive track. Also beneficial with treating a dry cough, inflammation of the lining of the stomach, diarrhea, ulcers, urinary tract inflammation, and constipation.
Betain HCl and Digestive Enzymes: Both help significantly to increase the stomachs acidity (allowing proper digestion of protein and carbohydrates) and the enzymes to help break down the foods you consume so your body can properly assimilate it resulting in a nourished body.
Constipation: Yellow Dock (Rumex crispus)/ Burdock (Arctium lappa)/ Marshmallow root (Althaea Officinalis) powders. Equal parts of each (1 tsp) before bed.
Nausea: Peppermint (Mentha piperata) one drop on tongue followed by 6 ounces of water. Ginger sliced and steeped in tea or 400-500 milligrams of dried ginger in capsule form.
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Stefanie is a Certified Functional Medicine Health Coach & Holistic Nutritionist who specializes in Detoxification, Functional Nutrition, Lyme Disease & Mold Illness.
She is available for one-on-one health coaching sessions to support you and walk by your side. Please reach out for a complimentary consult to learn more about how partnering with me can help you along your healing journey. Together we thrive!
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Disclaimer: I am not a licensed doctor and do not diagnose or treat disease. Please do not substitute the tips I have shared today for the personalized advice of your healthcare practitioner. I have share the above information for educational and encouragement purposes only.