You may have noticed that my last few blog posts revolved around the themes ‘Sugar Free September’ and then ‘Active October’. Well the next series of blog posts are ones that I have been wanting to write for quite some time and it just so happens that ‘Nourishing November’ is a very fitting theme.
You may have heard the famous saying . Well now thousands of years later scientists have discovered that approximately 70% of our immune system is in the gut. So it would make sense to look after it, right?
Many, if not all of us have a condition, or many conditions, that can be attributed to a ‘leaky gut’. These conditions are not just confined to food intolerances or allergies but can extend to hormonal imbalances, mood disorders, fatigue, autoimmune diseases, hay fever, poor weight regulation, eczema and the list goes on.
Leaky gut is a pretty loose term that basically refers to the lining of the small intestines that have become more permeable, allowing undigested food particles and toxins into the blood stream. Your immune system identifies these objects as foreign and attacks them.
A popular remedy to healing a leaky gut in the field of holistic and functional medicine is the 4 R approach. I have listed each step below but will be covering each of these steps in more detail, plus sharing a couple of recipes, in my next four blog posts so don’t forget to check back for those.
Probably the most important step. The goal is to remove the things that are damaging the digestive tract. The triggers can be different for everyone but common gut irritants are stress, antibiotics, infections and inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy, sugar, soy and eggs. And it should go without saying but alcohol, drugs and caffeine (I think that’s a drug to many) are also really irritating to the gut lining.
We naturally produce stomach acid to help us digest food but a poor diet, certain medications (including antacids) and diseases can deplete these leading to poor digestion of protein, vitamin and mineral deficiencies and lots of unpleasant side effects. If that’s the case then it can be helpful to take digestive enzymes with meals in the form of Betaine HCL, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, quality sea salt and fermented vegetable. Oh and don’t forget to chew your food really well.
Re-inoculate or restore
This step involved taking probiotics and prebiotics to restore a healthy balance of good bacteria in the gut. I think that all too often people jump to this step without correctly implementing steps 1 and 2. You wouldn’t repair a punctured tyre without first removing the obstruction would you? In the same way there is little point taking high dose expensive probiotics if you haven’t first removed the foods that are causing your gut to be leaky in the first place.
Now is the time to provide the gut with the right foods and supplements for it to heal. Bone broth has many healing properties and can be added to meals or drunk on its own. Fish oil supplements can help to reduce inflammation and L-glutamine does wonders for repairing the digestive lining.
I’ll see you back here soon as I expend on the above steps and share some nourishing recipes with you.