Gut health is a topic that has been gaining popularity lately, mostly due to new discoveries and advances in our understanding of just how the gut can affect overall health.
With so much information out there regarding the importance of your gut health, it can be challenging to locate a source you can trust to identify exactly what “gut health” means and why it is so important for your well-being.
In this eBook, we have provided this information for you in one central location. In addition to defining and explaining gut health, we have also provided tips, tricks, and instructions to help you identify signs of poor gut health and to improve and maintain your personal gut health needs.
We’ve believe that the information in this eBook will provide your with a fast start guide to improve your gut health in as little as 7 days. We hope you and your family benefits from the information you find here, and wish you the best of luck on your journey to a healthier, happier you.
Table of Contents
- 1 Gut Health Guide Introduction
- 2 Chapter 1: Anatomy & Known Disorders
- 3 Chapter 2: It’s All Connected
- 4 Chapter 3: The Dangers of Doing Nothing
- 5 Chapter 4: How to Improve Your Gut Health
- 5.1 Gut Health Tips
- 5.2 Gut Health “Don’ts”
- 5.3 Types of Foods You Should & Shouldn’t Eat
- 5.4 — Foods You Should Eat
- 5.5 — Foods You Shouldn’t Eat
- 5.6 Probiotics and Prebiotics
- 5.7 Supplements and Natural Sources for Gut Healing
- 5.8 What does this mean for you?
- 6 Conclusion
Gut Health Guide Introduction
Throughout the history of medicine, scientists and researchers have attempted to link known diseases to certain parts of the body. They have worked tirelessly to figure out which parts of the body are the gateways to specific known diseases and health-related issues. Although there wasn’t much definitive proof pointing towards any one cause, many of these medical experts concluded that the gut plays a key role when the state of your health becomes compromised. Only today do we have scientific evidence which points to this conclusion being a valid one.
The gut has been linked to nearly all digestive disorders and issues, and it has also been discovered that the gut plays a key role in other health problems which are not directly related to digestive health. There is evidence which shows that your mental state can be directly linked to the condition of your gut. Your immune system heavily relies on the proper functions of your gut, as well. Allergic reactions have also been suspected of being linked to your gut health. Furthermore, currently many researchers are working on proving a definitive tie between how your brain functions and the overall well-being of our gut.
Recent studies have shown that the gut is actually the biggest immune system organ your body has. This means that all diseases, viruses, and immune system issues are correlated with your gut and its well-being. Additionally, since your immune system has a direct effect on your mental state it can be deducted that things like anxiety or depression can also be symptoms of a damaged gut.
Your gut is a host to many micro-bacteria which have a symbiotic relationship with your body. Some of these micro-bacteria help the gut to digest and break down food into energy and neutralize many harmful element or toxins which might end up in your gut. Other micro-bacteria can be harmful to you and cause major issues to your health if the delicate balance of your gut is skewed.
All of these bacteria are part of over a hundred trillion microorganisms which live in your body. From the moment of birth, the pool of these microorganisms is constantly increasing and becomes unique to each person. Just like a human fingerprint, each pool of microorganisms is unique to that specific individual.
Everything we do in our lives determines the final shape of each unique microorganism pool. As we live on, the combinations of these microorganisms change. This makes your gut’s pool of microorganisms like a dynamic finger print that is unique to only you, and which changes every second of your life.
Your gut contains roughly one trillion of these organisms, and they are responsible for its health. The bad bacteria are unavoidable, but the amount of them can be decreased with proper care. The good bacteria which help the gut function can be replenished and grown through natural methods.
Because of the vital role that your gut plays in your health, you have to maintain it to the best of your abilities. Your lifestyle choices should always take your gut into account. This eBook will show you some of the things you can do to maintain a healthy gut, which in turn will help you to maintain a long and healthy life.
You will learn to understand the functions and anatomy of your gut, as well as the diseases which have been directly linked to your gut health. You will be able to link a variety of health issue to the function of your gut and its well-being. Finally, you will learn the dangers of ignoring your gut’s needs and what to do to fix your gut when problems arise to improve your overall health.
Chapter 1: Anatomy & Known Disorders
Before we can dive into all the things you can do to make your gut healthier, you need to know a little bit more about the anatomy of your gut and the directly related diseases and disorders that can cause your gut to function irregularly.
Physical Anatomy and Primary Function
The gut is known medically by a few different names, the most common of which is the gastrointestinal tract or GI tract. Technically, it is composed of a group of organs starting with the mouth cavity and ending all the way at the anus. When we consume food, it is chewed and goes down the esophagus, and then it passes into the stomach and continues through to the small intestine. Most of the digestion of the food happens in the small intestine, where the nutrients from the food are absorbed into the blood stream after the food is broken down. After all the nutrients are withdrawn from the food, the leftovers are pushed into the large intestine.
The large intestine consists of a combination of parts, such as the caecum, appendix, colon, rectum, and anus. The large intestine absorbs water and contains food which has not been broken down, such as fiber, as well as all excess material which is not useful to the body.
Obviously, the primary function of the gut is to digest food. This includes breaking it down, absorbing the nutrients into the body, distributing the nutrients to the right parts of the body, and removing waste. This process is very complicated and can’t take up to seven hours to be completed. Most people make the mistake of thinking that this is the only thing the gut is responsible for, but this is not true. Because it is in control of most of the nutrients the body absorbs, the gut also functions as part of the immune system. For the same reason, it is also directly linked to our mental function.
The nutrients which are absorbed can influence our mental state and cause depression or anxiety. Furthermore, it is directly linked to allergies since some of the nutrients we absorb can cause harm to our body and some people might have developed sensitivity to certain nutrients. So in simple terms, your gut can act as a barrier against certain nutrients and microorganisms which can harm you. This is exactly why it is much more than just a digestive organ.
Known Disorders and Diseases
Because of its constant exposure to a variety of different organisms and harmful bacteria, the gut is a common target of diseases and disorders. If your body is a city which is under constant attack by invading forces, and the only way in is through the front gate, then it makes sense that most of the attacks will be against that same gate. This is exactly the case with the gut. While your external body is exposed to trillions of microorganisms daily, it is also built very tough in order to prevent any damage that might be caused by these organisms.
The gut is built differently. It is designed to let the organisms in so that some of them can be utilized to help you digest your food. Unfortunately to accomplish this, the gut also has to let in some of the harmful organisms. This is what can cause issues to surface.
One of the most common conditions which occur due to infection of the intestines and the stomach is called Gastroenteritis, also known as stomach flu. Some of the signs of the stomach flu are diarrhea, cramps, nausea, vomiting, and fever. In most cases, the stomach flu is caused by a virus. Rotavirus and norovirus are known to be as the main types of viruses which trigger gastroenteritis.
In rare cases, it can also be caused by E. coli and salmonella bacteria, although this is significantly less likely. The best thing to do if you develop the stomach flu is to keep yourself well hydrated and rested. If the symptoms become very severe and don’t diminish in a day or so then you should visit a doctor. They will be able to prescribe specific medication or antibiotics which can help with the infection.
Another condition which can be very dangerous is known as Appendicitis. The appendix is a vestigial organ near the colon which has become unneeded by the human body over many years of adaption to changes in our lifestyles and environments, and as such no longer serves a true purpose. When appendicitis occurs, the appendix becomes infected or inflamed and filled with pus. Those who suffer from appendicitis must seek medical help, and in some situations surgery might be necessary to remove the appendix in order to stop it from bursting and causing sepsis.
Generally, appendicitis can be recognized through pain which starts around your belly button and moves to the right side of the body. This is usually accompanied by fever, loss of appetite, chills, and vomiting. There is no at-home remedy for appendicitis, and if you believe you are experiencing this condition you should immediately seek medical attention.
Ulcer sores are yet another common health issue which can occur on the lining of the small intestine, stomach, or esophagus. Usually, the cause for ulcers is stomach acid which damages the lining of the digestive tract. In some situations, the culprit is bacteria H. Abdominal pain is usually the only symptom and medical evaluation is necessary to determine if you have an ulcer sore. Depending on the cause of the ulcers, you might be prescribed medication to reduce the acid levels in the stomach or antibiotics to combat the bacteria H.
Many parts of the gut can also develop cancer. Cancer is caused by irregular cells which divide nonstop and destroy body tissue in the process. Malignant growth or tumors may also occur due to cancer. In its early stages, there might not be any symptoms present. This is why it is very important to have routine checkups to make sure that you are cancer free. There are a variety of different treatments for cancer, and only your doctor can help you with making the right decision.
There are a few other disorders associated with the gut which are significantly less common, and some can be considered rare.
Achalasia is a motility disorder in the esophagus which causes it to empty very slowly. As you can probably imagine, this can create a lot of issues when trying to eat and digest food. Another rare disorder is cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS), which causes severe vomiting and nausea with symptom free periods in between episodes. It usually happens roughly three or so times per year and comes in four stages. Hirschsprung's disease is another rare defect which occurs when a person is born without the nerves needed to regulate sphincter muscles, resulting in an inability to move their bowels.
Most of the above diseases and abnormalities can be detected through a variety of different symptoms and signs. Constipation and diarrhea can both be signs that you might be suffering from a disease related to your gut. Sudden vomiting or nausea can also be signs of gut problem, as is frequent heartburn. Lastly, if you have blood stained stool then this is a sure warning that there is an issue with your gut and you should see your doctor to diagnose the cause and prescribe proper treatment. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is strongly suggested that you let your doctor know as soon as possible and schedule an immediate appointment.
The Medical Mystery Known as Leaky Gut Syndrome
A lack of knowledge about our biggest immune system is to blame for the condition known as Leaky Gut Syndrome. Those who suffer from this syndrome experience similar symptoms and discomforts to those associated with some of the diseases we listed earlier, but are not a victim of any of the known medical issues associated with these symptoms. This means that they experience the symptoms of know diseases, but don’t actually have the disease. Many doctors and physicians treat this as a diagnosis that has not been completed and consider the cause of your symptoms as having not yet been discovered. This syndrome is looked at as somewhat of a “grey area” because of a lack of evidence and knowledge necessary for the right treatments or therapies needed to correct the problem.
Some speculate that the cause of leaky gut syndrome is intestinal permeability or intestinal hyperpermeability. This means that the lining of your intestine is either damaged or the tight junctions in your gut, which control what is allowed to go through the lining or not, are not functioning properly. This results in unwanted substances passing into the blood stream and causing harm to the body. After these unwanted substances get into your blood stream, your body reacts to the excess of elements by forcing an immune reaction in an attempt to protect you from harm. The problem is that this reaction can be a trigger for a variety of other issues such as food allergies and asthma.
Leaky gut syndrome is rather common in today’s medical world. However, because of the mystery, lack of knowledge, and stigma attached to the condition many people who suffer from this condition are often forced to search for new doctors who take the issue seriously and are willing to dig deep enough to find the causes of the problem. Another challenging factor when dealing with leaky gut syndrome is that each person suffering from the condition can have a variety of different underlying contributing factors which can lead to the syndrome. This means that each person needs to be treated differently and finding the problem responsible for the condition can be rather difficult.
Finding out the right culprit for each patient individually can be a nightmare, and sadly not all doctors are willing to make the effort or experienced enough with the condition to find the root of the issue. Furthermore, even the medical practitioners who are willing to do all they can do to improve your situation can have a hard time treating you with the right medicine because of lack of evidence that certain drugs can help. Since this syndrome is so new, there is very little information on what to do to treat it. For example, there are claims that L-glutamine can help with healing of the lining of the small intestine but this doesn’t mean that a simple prescription of L-glutamine is enough to treat a specific patient.
Just because it worked for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you. Overall, leaky gut syndrome can be daunting and discouraging to deal with, but as long as you find the right doctor and are willing to be patient with the process, sooner or later the leading cause of your leaky gut syndrome will be found and your doctor will know exactly what to do to treat it.
Chapter 2: It’s All Connected
You gut constitutes the entire makeup of your digestive tract, so it’s obviously that any gastrointestinal diseases or condition could be directly related to the composition of your gut’s microorganisms. However, scientists have discovered that there are many other areas of your body that are also greatly affected by your gut health. We went over these areas briefly in the introduction, and in this chapter we will take a more in-depth look at some of the ways your gut health can affect other areas of your overall well-being.
Allergies and the Gut
An allergy to something is a condition in which your body’s immune system reacts abnormally to foreign particles. You can develop allergies to many different substances which you have become hypersensitive to, such as a variety of drugs, pollen, dust, fur, etc. As we’ve already mentioned, your gut plays a huge role in your immune system. So it should come as no surprise that if you are suffering from many allergies, your gut could be the reason.
If the lining of your small intestine is damaged, then your gut is letting too many foreign elements into your blood stream. This can cause you to develop allergic reactions to these substances. Keep in mind that these reactions aren’t just limited to itching or rashes, airway complications can also occur. If inflammation of the airways does occur, then you can become a victim of chronic sinus problems and even asthma attacks. There is some evidence pointing out that healing the lining of your small intestine can alleviate some allergic reactions, including airway issues.
The Immune System and the Gut
We already know that your gut is the first line of defense against harmful microorganisms, pathogens, and bacteria. Our gut protects us from everything that is harmful to us when we ingest food. If our gut’s filtration system is damaged or working irregularly, then we become exposed to everything that enters our bodies when we eat. Synthetic compounds and chemical toxins become capable of entering our bloodstream, which in turn can cause severe problems to occur in our health.
Your gut is fully capable of keeping all of these elements out of your blood stream. Most of your gut’s surface is covered in low levels of pH, which helps neutralize most of the harmful toxins when you eat. Furthermore, things like saliva, bile, and enzymes that your body produces and that are produced by the probiotics in your gut also work really hard to keep all of these elements out.
There is also a set of flora and good bacteria which reside in every person’s gut. These bacteria help you digest food but they also function as a neutralizing element against other harmful bacteria and toxins. Keeping your gut’s health in check and making sure you have the right levels of these good bacteria will help you keep more of the harmful stuff out.
Mental Health and the Gut
It is becoming more and more evident that the microbes in your gut have a huge impact on your brain and how it functions. There has been some experiments done by psychiatrist on rats to prove that increased intake of probiotics reduces depression and anxiety. This isn’t exactly news, though Scientists had determined as early as 1800 that your gut has a significant impact on your mental state. William Beaumont, the pioneer of the gastrointestinal physiology, concluded that the state of your gut has a direct effect on your mood. In more recent studies, it has been show that there is a more direct two way communication between your gut and your brain via the gut-brain axis. These studies also determined that maintaining microbes in the gut has an effect on the development of the brain.
Furthermore, a more recent study shows that the macrobiotic flora of the gut has an effect on the regulation of genes which are directly related to myelin in the prefrontal cortex. Myelin is a mixture of proteins and phospholipids which are bound together to form a protective sheath around nerve fibers. This sheath helps increase the speed of impulses which travel through those nerve fibers. The prefrontal cortex is the section of the brain which is most related to depressions, anxiety, and even schizophrenia. So it is completely possible that the microbes found in your gut have a direct effect on depression and anxiety.
There is also a possibility that some bacteria which can be found in your intestines can send chemical messages to your brain. These bacteria can produce certain neurotransmitters which can be picked up by the neurons located in the lining of your digestive system and send signals to your brain.
At the given moment, scientist are trying to get a better grasp on understanding how exactly the link between the gut and the brain works and what influences the gut can have on the brain. So far it has been determined that the microbes in your gut are the key to the relationship between the two major organs. However, solid evidence is still lacking and further research needs to be done.
Autism and the Gut
There has been a lot of research done in the past few years in an attempt to link gut health with autism. Studies have shown that many children with autism have an unusual species of bacteria in the gut or an imbalance of gut bacteria. Furthermore, issues and problems with the GI tract have been very common in children with autism.
A study was done at the California Institute of Technology during which autism-like symptoms were induced in mice throughout pregnancy. After the mice gave birth, it was determined that the mice had different gut bacteria than the bacteria found in healthy mice. The rodents were then treated with health-promoting bacteria, which seemed to reduce some behavior symptoms correlated with autism. Post treatment, the mice showed more vocal activity and less anxious behavior.
Protein could also be partially to blame. Some scientists speculate that protein passing through the lining of the gut without being digested by the GI tract can be a precursor for autism. The undigested protein can set off a chain of events which results in formation of psychoactive chemical substances which can affect brain functions.
More and more studies are showing a link between the gut and autism. Previously, autism was thought to be a brain condition only, but many scientists have deducted that the imbalance of bacteria in the gut can be a direct reason for the development of autism.
Weight Control and the Gut
The primary reason why your gut might be responsible for your weight gain is its inability to process or digest nutrients properly. Those who have a healthy gut usually have no problem with this function. Food is digested, nutrients are absorbed, the energy is burned, and regular function continues. But those who have a problem with their gut might be processing too much food and producing too much energy or more energy than their body needs to function. So your body has all this extra energy that it can’t use up and is forced to store in the form of fat. Over time, all this extra fat adds up to unnecessary weight, which becomes even harder to use up since you are still producing more energy than you are using up.
It has also been shown that the amount of good bacteria in your gut has a direct effect on your ability to control your weight. This was shown during an experiment on mice. Gut bacteria which were present in overweight mice was transferred to mice that were underweight. Over time the underweight mice started to eat more and developed high appetites, resulting in them becoming overweight. This proves that your gut microbiome has a direct effect on how carbohydrates and calories are absorbed and used up, which results in being underweight, overweight, or at an ideal weight depending on the makeup of your gut flora.
Chapter 3: The Dangers of Doing Nothing
Now that you know just how drastically your gut health can affect not just your digestive health, but every area of your well-being, you may be wondering why so many people simply ignore it. When so many aspects of your daily life can be affected and improved simply by doing more to nurture your gut’s flora, why is it that most people completely ignore this aspect of their healthcare? Unfortunately, many people simply do not know the dangers involved with ignoring gut health and the benefits they can achieve by taking better care of their own pool of microorganisms.
Consequences of Ignoring an Unhealthy Gut
Now that you are aware of how the gut functions and the types of medical conditions that can be associated with an unhealthy gut, you should also be able to imagine some of the implications of ignoring an unhealthy gut. You must understand that developing one serious condition because of an unhealthy gut is just as bad as a combination of smaller, less dangerous issues. Dealing with a single problem can sometimes be less exhausting than having to have to worry about multiple problems, especially considering that each could lead to worse and more dangerous issues in the future. No matter what the complication is, small or large, it is always important to maintain and seek treatment for an unhealthy gut.
If you ignore your gut’s health, you are potentially opening a gateway for a variety of harmful microorganisms that can cause multiple diseases and contribute to an overall degeneration of your health. Immunological and biological functions which are linked to your gut are potentially at risk when you ignore signs and warning of an unhealthy gut. This includes mental function degeneration, immune system complications, development of allergies or increased allergic hypersensitivity, uncontrollable weight gain, and many other potential diseases and disorders.
Because your gut is connected to nearly all other aspects of your body, when your gut’s health is affected then the rest of the body can also end up suffering. You must be vigilant and always be on a lookout for possible signs and symptoms that are associated with an unhealthy gut. Being aware of what is happening to your body will ensure that you take the prompt actions necessary to resolve any issues you have developed before they spiral out of control and become even more difficult to treat.
Possible Symptoms and Sings of an Unhealthy Gut
We have mentioned a few gut related issues before. Now let’s recap them to refresh your memory:
• Mental State (mood swings, irritability)
• Sensitivity to Food and Allergies
• Any Digestive Issues (gas, bloating, diarrhea)
• Type-2 Diabetes
• Failing Memory and Difficult Concentrating
• Frequent Infections
• Autoimmune Complications
• Skin Issues
Effects of an Unhealthy Gut
The short term effects of an unhealthy gut are more likely to be physical and visible than the longer lasting problems that can occur. Because of the irregularities that are formed due to your gut’s improper function, your body ends up wasting energy on trying to remedy the situation. This causes you to become frequently tired and exhausted. It becomes difficult for you to remember things from the past and concentration is nearly impossible. Allergies can grow into a huge inconvenience and affect daily life. The same can be said for asthma. Cramps and bloating become frequent and is impossible to endure.
If your gut’s health continues to be ignored, at this point you might see signs of poor nutrition even though your diet choices are absolutely fine. This is due to irregular digestion and improper absorption of nutrients from food. Essentially, the nutrients in your food aren’t being utilized the right way and you develop signs of nutritional deficiency even though you are consuming the right food. The most common nutritional deficiency is a lack of iron, which can lead to anemia and blood illnesses which can cause weakness and fatigue.
As your gut continues to function irregularly, other long-term effects can develop. Chronic skin conditions can cause a person to lose self-confidence and develop lowered self-esteem. Decreased physical activity can cause for depression and anxiety to develop, as well as increase weight gain which can result in a further reclusive life-style.
If your body continues to be exposed to unwanted elements and pathogens because of a weak intestinal lining, it will attempt to create layers of protein to protect its cells from pathogens. This is a natural response and considered normal in any body. However, the problem occurs when it becomes chronic. Constant inflammation, which is caused by the layering of protein, can create a favorable environment for a variety of autoimmune diseases to develop. This can cause many more complications and issues and endanger your health in the long run.
Chapter 4: How to Improve Your Gut Health
Now that you know the dangers of ignoring your gut health, what can you do about it? In this chapter, we will go over some basic Dos and Dont's for proper gut care, along will some tips to help you along the way.
Before you do anything else, you have to decide to increase your gut’s health and work on making healthy lifestyle choices which benefit your gut in the long run. You won’t be able to accomplish anything until you decided for yourself that it is time to change and that you need to improve your gut’s health.
Gut Health Tips
Below is a list of tips and small things you can do to improve your overall gut health.
Cut Out Refined Sugar
You have to increase the amount of whole foods that you consume and switch some of the less healthy food you eat for more wholesome and gut promoting choices. Avoid refined sugars and foods containing high fructose corn syrup.
Alcohol should be avoided whenever possible. A glass of wine here and there is alright, and can even be beneficial, but be careful. Overdoing it in this category can be detrimental to many aspects of your health.
Avoid Processed Foods
Processed food is a major concern because it contains a high concentration of harmful elements to your gut and its precious ecosystem. You might also want to research some ways to add probiotics and prebiotics to your diet, as this should help get your gut’s health back on track.
Be Thoughtful at the Table
Drink plenty of water and listen to your body when you eat. Chew slowly and take your time when eating. This will help you determine when you have consumed enough food for your body to function properly. Try to avoid fully satisfying your appetite, as more often than not this is actually a bad thing.
Adopt Herbal Remedies
Look for natural solutions to relive nausea, bloating, or headaches. Herbal teas can do wonders for your body. Next time you are feeling dizzy or nauseous, try a cup of ginger tea. No matter the problem, check to see if there are any herbal remedies to help resolve the problem first.
If you are having a hard time fixing your gut’s health on your own then employ the help of medical professionals. Nutritionists, naturopathic professionals, and other types of specialists might be able to help. They have knowledge and experience when dealing with your gut that you might not.
Gut Health “Don’ts”
Below is a list of “don’ts” for your gut health maintenance.
Stop Eating Junk
As we mentioned previously, rule out sugar. Anything that contains processed sugar or high fructose corn syrup will ruin your body. This means you need to rule out things like candy bars, cookies, cakes, sodas (which are also full of other harmful chemicals), white chocolate, pastries, candies, and high sugar content cereals. All of these can be replaced with alternative foods which don’t have as much sugar in them and are much healthier for you. Try dried fruits, freshly made smoothies (not the Starbucks stuff), or cut up some fresh fruit to enjoy as a snack. Whenever possible, choose natural and organic over the other stuff.
Stop putting off fixing your health! The longer you procrastinate and avoid making these important changes, the harder it will become to control your life and your health. All the bad bacteria in your gut can add up over time as you continue making poor decisions, and eliminating it in the future can become extremely difficult. The sooner you act, the easier it will be to get on the right path. Even if you “feel” fine and don’t think anything needs to be changed, you should still reevaluate your decisions. Just because there aren’t any visible issues on the surface right now does not mean that you aren’t slowly developing long-term conditions which can be all but impossible to deal with once they do surface. You need to be proactive and vigilant.
Stop Making Bad Choices
Bad habits need to be fixed. This is a big problem for almost everyone, and you shouldn’t feel overwhelmed if it is a challenge for you. Over the years we build habits, and some of them are a death sentence to our gut. You need to identify the bad habits you have formed and do everything in your power to change them and remove them from your lifestyle. One of the biggest habits we form is the way we eat.
Most people end up rushing and eating way to fast while consuming far too much food. You need to slow down, chew your food, and give the enzymes your saliva produces an opportunity to coat all the food you eat, this will help with proper digestion as well as with appetite control.
Don’t Be Idle
An inactive lifestyle can also be dangerous for you gut’s health. When you sit still or don’t move for an extended period of time, your body’s metabolic rate is reduced. This is bad for your digestion and the use of nutrients in your body. You need to move and burn the energy you get from food in order to keep your gut active and working properly. Furthermore, motion helps your gut move all the food through the digestive passages, which ensures that your gut is functioning properly and doesn’t get backed up.
Using an excessive amount of antibiotics can also cause issues. While antibiotics are manufactured and designed to be used to kill the bad bacteria in your body which causes certain complications or diseases, the truth is that antibiotics kill all bacteria, good and bad. Using antibiotics here and there is understandably necessary and shouldn’t be an issue, but you have to be careful if taking them for an extended amount of time.
If it is absolutely vital for you to use a large amount of antibiotics, then perhaps it might be a good idea to increase your intake of probiotics to supplement all the good bacteria you will be destroying through your prescription period. A change in die to increase probiotics in the system might also help. Talk to your doctor about how to increase probiotics in your system if you are prescribed antibiotics. They should be able to suggest the best course of action.
Don’t Give Up
Don’t assume that you will see change instantly just because you started eating the right stuff in proper amounts. It takes time to get back on track and start feeling good again, just like it took time for your gut’s health to deteriorate. You will have to be patient and continue working hard on fixing your gut. As long as you stick with it your health is sure to improve.
Types of Foods You Should & Shouldn’t Eat
Every item that you eat has an effect, whether it is good or bad, on your gut health. Below is a list of foods that you should or should not eat to improve the gut flora.
— Foods You Should Eat
The Importance of Fiber
Without a doubt, fiber is the number one food choice in the management of gut health. The primary reason why fiber is so important is because it keeps your bowels moving. This mean that all the food you consume stays in your body just long enough for the nutrients to be digested and absorbed, and then out it goes.
If you don’t eat enough fiber, all the food is digested and the excess waste just lingers around in your body while releasing unnecessary stuff into your intestine. This isn’t good because your gut needs to work twice as hard to keep the toxins away. There are a variety of different fruits and vegetables that are rich in fiber. Here is a list of some fiber rich food that you should try to incorporate in your daily diet on your road to gut health recovery or healthy gut maintenance:
1. Raspberries: 8 grams of fiber per cup, raw.
2. Blackberries: 7.6 grams of fiber per cup, raw.
3. Pears: 5.5 grams of fiber per medium fruit, raw.
4. Apples: 4.4 grams of fiber per medium fruit, raw.
5. Bananas: 3.1 grams of fiber per medium fruit, raw.
6. Oranges: 2.3 grams of fiber per small fruit, raw.
7. Pineapples: 13 grams of fiber per one fruit, raw.
8. Avocados: 10 grams of fiber per one cup sliced, raw.
9. Mangos: 5 grams of fiber per one fruit without refuse, raw.
10. Prunes: 12 grams of fiber per one cup pitted, raw.
1. Split Peas: 16.3 grams of fiber per cup, cooked.
2. Lentils: 15.6 grams of fiber per cup, cooked.
3. Black Beans: 15 grams of fiber per cup, cooked.
4. Lima Beans: 13.2 grams of fiber per cup, cooked.
5. Artichokes: 10.3 grams of fiber per medium vegetable, cooked.
6. Peas: 7 grams of fiber per one cup.
7. Broccoli: 3.8 grams of fiber per one serving (148g).
8. Brussels Sprouts: 3.3 grams of fiber per one cup.
9. Collard Greens: 1.4 grams of fiber per one cup, chopped.
10. Zucchini: 2 grams of fiber per one medium vegetable.
Other Foods with Fiber
1. Oatmeal: 4 grams of fiber per one cup, cooked.
2. Quinoa: 17-24 grams of fiber per one cup, cooked.
3. Almonds: 11 grams of fiber per one cup, sliced.
4. Flax Seeds: 2.8 grams of fiber per one tablespoon, whole.
5. Walnuts: 5 grams of fiber per one cup, ground.
6. Chia Seeds: 5.5 grams of fiber per one tablespoon, whole.
7. Barley: 32 grams of fiber per one cup.
Besides fibers, you should also consider fermented foods. It is speculated that early civilizations were able to maintain a good health level because of all the fermented food they consumed. Back in those days, fermenting food was a common way to preserve it and stop it from spoiling since other methods of improving shelf life, such as refrigerators, did not yet exist. When food is fermented, it is infused with good bacteria for your gut. Yogurt is a very good choice of fermented food, but make sure to stay away from the processed and sugar infused kind. Nearly anything that is pickled, such as kimchi and of course pickles, is a good choice. Miso, tempeh, and sauerkraut are all good fermented food choices as well.
Variety is Vital
All of the above foods are a great way to improve your gut’s health but keep in mind that it is recommended to mix these foods up. Try to stay away from just prioritizing one of the above food groups. The mixture of different types of good bacteria that comes from the variety of foods above will form good resistance against pathogens and toxins which are harmful to your body.
— Foods You Shouldn’t Eat
Below is a simple list of foods that you should avoid at all costs to get your gut on track to better health:
Sugars and high fructose corn syrup have to be avoided at all costs. These are known to cause severe complication in your health and can cause major issue in your body.
Refined Wheat & Grains
Try to stay away from refined wheat and grains. The main reason behind this is all of the harmful ingredients and chemicals used when wheat and grains are refined.
Anything that has MSG in it is a bad idea. MSG is a flavor enhancer which has been dubbed as safe by the FDA, but there has been a lot of research showing that MSG can cause headaches, facial pressure or tightness, heart palpitations, chest pain, and nausea.
Avoid processed foods as well as fast foods like cheeseburgers and fries. Not only do most of these contain a ridiculous amount of trans fats but they are usually filled with harmful ingredients.
Stay away from foods that contain high amounts of trans fats. Trans fat raises your LDL, the “bad” cholesterol, and lowers your HDL, the “good” cholesterol.
Alcohol is also to be avoided. While an occasional glass here and there is ok and can even be good for your body, overconsumption of alcohol can destroy your gut’s health and force it to work overtime to digest all that sugar.
Gluten has been shown to be bad for your gut as well. Although still under research, there is evidence that gluten is directly linked with the bacteria of the gut. A study was done amongst an equal amount of participants whose good bacteria levels were measured after a specific diet was followed. One group was given a diet without any gluten containing food while the other group’s diet was unchanged.
It was shown that the gluten free diet group had lower levels of bad bacteria in their gut and higher levels of good bacteria.
Gluten is a protein composite that can usually be found in processed grain foods, like wheat and barley. When these grains are turned into flour and water is added, gluten forms a network of proteins which gives dough its elasticity and ability to rise when cooked. Avoiding gluten containing foods can be tricky, but generally if you stay away from wheat-like food then you should be safe.
There are also some foods that most people don’t realize have gluten in them, and things like gravy and soy sauce are amongst them. Some sauce making powders might have gluten in them to make them thicker when cooking. Be aware of the hidden gluten and always check the nutritional facts label on items that you buy.
Probiotics and Prebiotics
Probiotics and prebiotics have been used more and more frequently throughout the dietary world in the recent years in an attempt to promote a healthier gut. It is true that consuming extra probiotics and prebiotics can do wonders for your gut health, as well as your overall health. But before you start taking probiotic supplements or changing your diet to increase an intake of probiotics, you need to know what they are and exactly what they do.
Probiotics are the good bacteria found in your gut that help you with a variety of different gut roles. These good bacteria work in a symbiotic relationship with your body and help it to function. Probiotics can help with the immune system and with the overall health of the gut. They help digest the food you eat as well as fight the bad bacteria and toxins that enter your body through the gut. It is important to understand that increasing an intake of probiotics will have a different effect on each person.
This is primarily due to the uniqueness of each person’s gut flora. Some people might benefit more and some might benefit less from probiotic supplementation. Because of the drastic differences in the gut flora between every person, it can be hard determining which types of probiotics are needed to help each individual person’s gut health the most. The best solution for this is a steady dietary change to allow a verity of different probiotics to enter the gut.
The number one source of probiotics is fermented food. Things like pickles and sauerkraut are a wonderful source of probiotics. Dairy products can also be a great source of these good bacteria, but you should stay away from processed dairy food and turn to things like yogurt, kefir, and a variety of different cheeses like cheddar and Gouda.
The story behind prebiotics is a bit different. They are mostly non-digestible ingredients found in food which promote the growth of probiotics. In other words, prebiotics are food for probiotics. They help the probiotics which you already have stored in your gut to grow and live.
To put it in simple terms and without diving into a chemistry lesson, prebiotics are a type of fiber. Finding foods that are high on these prebiotic fibers shouldn’t be too hard. Raw chicory root has a ridiculous amount of prebiotic fiber, about 65% of fiber by weight, and it can be found in some breakfast cereals and other foods. Another good source of prebiotic fiber is raw garlic.
It contains about 18% of fiber by weight, so if you are a fan of garlic then it’s time to eat as much of it as you want. Some other foods that contain a good amount of prebiotic fibers are raw onions, raw Jerusalem artichoke, raw dandelion greens, and raw leeks. Try to incorporate some of these foods into your diet and you will keep your probiotics healthy and ready to help your gut with digestion and to fight off toxins and harmful elements.
Supplements and Natural Sources for Gut Healing
The best thing you can do to heal your gut is to choose the right foods and make sure they are natural. Because of the chemical compositions of natural food, absorbing nutrients and vitamins is easiest when preserved or synthetic foods are avoided. In other words, the stuff that grows in the ground is best for your gut’s health.
The other thing you might want to consider is choosing organic natural foods over non-organic alternatives. This will ensure that the least amount of potentially harmful pesticides and genetically altered food is entering your body, which might be less beneficial then the more natural and healthy alternative.
If you prefer, you can also choose to take supplements which will help your gut heal faster. We have already mentioned probiotics, but there are a few other supplements that can help with gut health as well. Remember to continue maintaining the right diet while you take these supplements.
Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) can do wonders for your immune system. Vitamin C is used to grow and repair damaged tissue in the human body. It is responsible for maintaining your bones and teeth.
The best natural sources of vitamin C are red peppers, oranges, grapefruits, kiwi, and strawberries. There are many different supplements on the market which contain Vitamin C in them, but one of the best ones have come across is Emergen-C Super Orange, with 1000 mg of Vitamin C. We suggest the Lite version of this supplement because it only contains 1 gram of sugar.
Besides Vitamin C, Emergen-C is also full of electrolytes and antioxidants useful to your body. The standard supplement comes in a powder form and needs to be mixed with water, but there are also chewable versions of the same supplement. The prices for this supplement vary depending on the flavor and size you choose, but the standard orange flavor with 30 packs will cost $9.47 per pack, which is $0.99 per ounce.
Vitamins A & E
Vitamins A & E are responsible for keeping your skin healthy. Both of these vitamins can help counter the effects that an unhealthy gut can have on your skin. They promote elasticity and moisture, which can help your skin return to its healthy state. The best supplement we found for Vitamin A intake is Now Foods Vitamin A, 25000 IU from Fish liver oil, 250 Soft-gels. There have been many positive reviews about this product, and most of the customers who purchased it were happy with the results. As for Vitamin E, the best supplement we found was Kirkland Signature Vitamin E 400 I.U. 500 Softgels. This product also has fantastic reviews by many customers who were happy with the product’s performance. The price of these supplements isn’t too bad, either. The Vitamin E supplement will add up to about $13.95 for 500 softgel tablets and the Vitamin A will cost you about $8.99 for 250 softgel tablets.
L-glutamine has a direct effect on your gut’s lining. It is an amino acid that can act as a proverbial Band-Aid to help repair the lining of your intestine and reduce the effect of leaky gut syndrome. The most reviewed and best rated L-glutamine supplement that we found which promoted digestive gut health was Pure Science L-Glutamine 1500mg. With a total of 703 reviews and a 4.5 star rating, those who have used this supplement agree that it is bound to help you with your leaky gut syndrome. The price is a bit steeper than some of the other supplements involved with increasing gut health, and one bottle with 100 capsules will cost you $17.70. Customers reported that the product helped in almost all occasions, and the only negative reviews we found were regarding customer support issues.
Healthy Gut Hacks
Below is a short list of simple tricks that you can use to “hack” your body’s regular function to improve gut health.
Eat Fruits as Snacks Only
While eating a variety of different foods which can help your gut’s health is the best way to get it back on the right track, how we eat these foods is also important. For example, fruits generally take less time to digest in our gut then other foods do.
This means that if you eat a fruit while you are eating something else that is more complex then the digestion process will be interrupted, which can cause severe gas and bloating. Try to consume fruits a few hours before or after regular meals. They should never be eaten with meats and carbohydrates. It is suggested that you use fruits as a snack throughout the day and avoid them during regular meals.
Drink It Hot
Next time you sit down for a meal, choose to drink a cup of room temperature, or even warm, water instead of one with ice in it. Scientific research points out that drinking cold water during meals does harm to our digestive process and is not recommended. Meanwhile, drinking room temperature water does almost the opposite. It improves digestions and keeps toxin removing channels open throughout the digestion process.
You can even take this a step further. While warm water is good for your digestions, ginger tea is even better. Drinking hot ginger tea during your meals will enhance your gut’s ability to digest the food you eat and it can even help with nausea if you aren’t feeling so well.
Wake Up With Water
The benefits of drinking a glass of water in the morning are no longer a myth, they are a reality. As you sleep during the night, your body becomes dehydrated. So the most natural thing you can do when you wake up is to drink about 16oz of water to get rehydrated. But this isn’t the only benefit, that same glass of water also jump starts your metabolism and gives energy to your brain.
Your brain tissue is made of three-fourths water, so rehydrating it can do wonders for your mental functions in the morning. As another little benefit, the water that you rehydrated your body with also starts working hard on getting rid of toxins from your system. So, next time you are feeling like the walking dead early in the morning, grab yourself a glass of water and see what it can do for you.
We have already mentioned ginger tea and the benefits that it has on your gut, but what about just ginger on its own? As it turns out, chewing ginger can also help you with your gut issues. The phenolic compounds found in ginger can do miracles for your gut. It can greatly reduce gastrointestinal irritation and suppress gastric contractions, as well as promote food and fluid movement in the gut.
What does this mean for you?
It helps you digest food more easily. Furthermore, ginger can greatly reduce pain in the gut. Those who suffer from severe pain during menstrual cycles should definitely give it a try.
We know that our gut can affect our mental state, but it has been discovered that stress can impact our gut’s functionality as well. Unfortunately, there is no miracle pill that will make you stress free forever. What you can do is learn to manage stress the best way you can to reduce the impact it has on your body and your gut. Breathing exercises can do wonder to relax and de-stress you. Learning how to meditate and relax properly can be very helpful with keeping your gut healthy.
Even though most of your body’s functions are slowed down and greatly reduced during sleep, your gut utilizes your sleep time to get rid of the toxins in your body. Getting the right amount of sleep every night is very important in order to promote a healthy gut. This time is also utilized by your gut to rest, so if you cut your sleeping time short the results can be catastrophic. Make sure that your bed is located in a dark and cold location, as this will create the optimal sleep environment for your body and mind.
Fast Once a Week
Fasting can do wonders for your gut as well. If you feel like your gut doesn’t get enough rest at night or that it’s working too hard, choose day out of your week to fast. For those of you who are new to this idea, you may want to start by extending your nightly fasting periods for a longer amount of time. You can eat an early dinner and a late breakfast the following day to give your gut more time to rest. If you decide to fast for a continuous 24 hours, then we suggest breaking the fast intermittently with a light fruit snack or something similar.
Consider replacing your breakfast with juice. In-home juicing can be very beneficial to your health and your gut. Essentially, what you are doing is taking the nutrients out of fruits and vegetables and turning them into an easy to digest breakfast while avoiding processed and harmful foods. Nothing is better than an all-natural breakfast which you yourself made without any toxic ingredients or elements. Instead of using one of those high speed juicers, we suggest you use a cold press juicer instead, it will preserve extracted enzymes and nutrients better.
Eat Like a Caveman
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of diets out there and each one carries many of its own benefits. Since your primary focus is on building a healthier gut through natural means, our choice for the best suited diet to fix your gut is the Paleo Diet, also known as the Paleolithic Diet. This diet focuses on food that was eaten by your ancestors during the Paleolithic Period. It is believed that during this period our ancestors were at the prime of human health. If this type of a diet is not your cup of tea, then search for something else. Be mindful of the types of foods that are incorporated in it and make sure they match the suggested foods we have listed previously.
Keep a Food Tracker
Keeping track of what you eat can be a blessing. You may have sensitivity to certain new foods that you start to incorporate in your gut healing diet, and if you keep track of the food you are eating then identifying the culprit shouldn’t be an issue. In addition, each person will react to the combinations of gut healing foods differently. Some things might work for you while other things might, so it is important to keep track of what you have consumed to eliminate the things that don’t work. If you continue to eat similar foods every day for a month and you don’t see or feel any results, then perhaps it is time to modify your diet into a different direction. This will be impossible if you don’t keep track of your food.
If you suspect that there are just way too many bad bacteria in your gut, then a detox might be the solution. Cutting out sugars should go hand in hand with a detox since sugar is the primary food for bad bacteria. After your detox, slowly start to introduce probiotic and prebiotic foods into your diet to fill in the space in your gut with good bacteria.
All of the above recommendations are limited in what they can do for your body, but the combinations of all of them or a few of them should benefit your gut significantly in the long run. It is always suggested to seek a medical professional to determine the best course of action that you should take to fix your gut health. They have the knowledge and the experience needed to put you on the right track.
The world is filled with dangerous conditions, diseases, and disorders. Some of them are manageable and curable, while others are not. We must do everything we can to keep ourselves and our loved ones out of harm’s way. Taking control of your health and being vigilant is a big part of the role you play in your own health. Often when symptoms first surface it is already too late. This is why visiting your doctor on a regular basis is extremely important. Regular doctor visits and checkups can help you spot potential issues before they spiral out of control. Detecting potential problems during their early stages can be the difference between a treatable and curable condition and something that you will be stuck with for the rest of your life.
Your gut is under your control. There are many situations that can surface throughout your life that can change how your gut functions. But understanding its importance and knowing the solutions to the problems that you might be faced with is what will separate you from someone who is at the mercy of their own gut.
None of this is possible without you wanting to make the changes. You must understand that there are loved ones in your life who rely on you being healthy. Be it your children, your significant others, or your parents, they rely on you to be there next to them. Family is the most important aspect of our lives and refusing to change old habits or realizing that you have a problem can have a tragic outcome.
Before you can help your child get to school or make lunch for them, before you can go on a vacation with your husband or wife, before you can spend a weekend with your parents at a camping lodge, you need to be healthy. Without your health, you can’t do any of those things. Enjoying life becomes impossible when your health is crippled. This is why you have to listen to your body, to your gut, and make those choices towards better health.
We also want to urge you to keep working on your gut health and not give up if you don’t see immediate results. It’s important to understand that each body is different and the unique composition of your gut flora might work better with certain nutrients or vitamins versus other compounds or elements. Sometimes it just takes extra time to get things back on track.
Give yourself plenty of time when working on fixing your gut’s health and only make changes if you are absolutely sure that the treatment has little effect on your health or none at all. At the same time, don’t be afraid to change things. There is no reason to wait a full year and then try to alter your natural diet. If you don’t see results after a month or so, then perhaps changing things up a bit is in order.
We hope that the information we compiled in this book will give you the right amount of knowledge to get onto the right path. Remember, your gut is the biggest immune system in your body. If you don’t take care of it, then your whole body will suffer. It is never too late or too early to start working on improving your gut. Start making the changes now. Don’t wait until tomorrow or next week. Better health is calling your name. We hope you succeed in your endeavors and manage to fix, strengthen, and maintain your gut’s health at an optimal level.