In the last blog post, we talked about why gut health is important, and the warning signs that your gut might not be as healthy as it should be. If you missed it, read it here
Hope isn't lost if you find yourself suspicious that your gut bacteria and digestion need improvement. There are steps you can take to improve your gut bacteria, and overall health.
- Eliminate inflammatory foods!
You knew this was coming: Nutrition affects your gut!
Remove inflammatory foods from your diet: This means no gluten, no dairy, no soy, no legumes and no sugar (or at least reduce them significantly). It might be worth eliminating the above completely for 30 days to see how your feel.
If you want to get really into it, check out the Plant Paradox and stick to foods on the YES list, and avoid foods on the NO list for 30 days. Then reassess how you feel.
Especially if you have been on antibiotics in the last year, take a probiotic supplement (no, Greek yogurt isn’t enough! The CFU count is negligible).
When choosing a probiotic supplement, the higher CFU, the better (CFU stands for colony forming units and is used to quantify how much bacteria are present and capable of dividing and forming colonies). CFU count can be as high as 900 million, 5 billion and even up to 100 billion. Spend the money and get the ones with the higher CFU.
More Soluble Fiber!
Make sure you’re eating foods high in soluble fiber. Some quality fruits high in soluble fibre include grapefruits, mangoes, oranges and apricots. As for vegetables, Brussels sprouts have one of the highest amounts of soluble fiber. Turnips, sweet potatoes and asparagus also have lots.
Other foods to consider:
Apple cider vinegar and bone broth!
The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar helps stimulate stomach acid production, which helps you digest and absorb nutrients more effectively from the foods you eat. Meanwhile, bone broth has collagen, which helps seal holes in your gut lining. Collagen is also super easy for the body to absorb, which makes it ideal if your digestive system has been weakened.
Other supplements worth looking into:
Other supplements often suggested to improve gut health include:
- Betaine HCL
Betaine HCL is a hydrochloric acid supplement that helps increase stomach acid production, essentially improving your digestion and absorption of nutrients. Here is legendary Coach Charles Poliquin talking about the importance of HCL
Glutamine is an amino acid that helps repair the gut’s mucus lining and decrease intestinal inflammation.
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D activates T-cells, which defend against infections and bacteria. It is also known to decrease chronic inflammation. It’s best to take Vitamin D in liquid form, and especially in the winter if you live in a place that doesn’t get much sun! Here's another article talking about vitamin D in depth
People with zinc deficiency generally have digestion problems, because it’s necessary for stomach acid production. And without enough stomach acid, nutrients won’t get absorbed into your body properly. It is also important for the immune system.
- Fish oil
One of fish oil’s claim to fames is its ability to reduce inflammation. Fish oil also improves brain and mental function, especially if it's high in DHA. Some dosing guidelines that I like to prescribe are: 1000mg of DHA minimum per day up to 1000mg of high potency fish oil per percentage of bodyfat per day. If most people are in the 18-25% bodyfat per day, so the amount adds up, but the more potent the less volume you need. One guideline I've heard is slowly titrait up the amount until you experience loose stools then back off one dose. That is of course if you have healed your gut or taken steps to start the healing process!
Give it a try for 30 days and report back.