Dr. Kristen Mitteness
6 Ways to Improve Gut Health
Updated: Mar 28, 2020
Maintaining a healthy gut is the number one step in maintaining good health. Your gut is your first line of defense from anything you eat. It is only one cell thick which is good and bad. It means the stuff that needs to be absorbed can be, but it also means that if if becomes damaged, stuff that shouldn't get through, might.
Our modern diets are so far removed from anything humans have ever experienced before. The wheat we eat today is much different from what it was just 30 years ago. An abundance of sugar in the form of candy and soda is available on every street corner. We are innately wired to like sugar because to our ancestors it meant that the food is safe and high in calories. We are innately wired to like fatty foods because they are high in calories and should sustain us in case we are unable to eat more food in the near future. The problem now is that lack of food is not an issue. So, instead of eating these sugary or highly fatty foods once in a while, we are eating them every day. Our guts can't handle it and are the first thing to be damaged. This leads to food sensitivities, auto immune issues, brain fog, anxiety and depression, just to name a few. And once our guts are damaged, our hormones go hay-wire trying to deal with the situation. The our liver takes a hit because it has to work extra hard to detox the hormones or junk food.
As a result, we really need to start taking care of our guts. Here are 6 things you can implement today that will slowly, but surely start the gut healing process:
1. Remove any offenders. If you have even the slightest inclination that a certain food might be wreaking havoc on your system, remove it! If you have no idea where to start, I am going to suggest removing all grains, processed sugars and soda and dairy. These foods often cause the most damage to the gut, especially if it is already weak. This doesn't mean you can never eat it again. Keep it out of your system for 3-6 weeks, implement some gut healing foods (see below) then slowly re-introduce the food (1-3 servings per day for 1-3 days) and see how you feel.
2. Drink some bone broth. The healing capacities of bone broth are amazing. The gelatin will help soothe and repair the gut lining and the mineral content will help maintain bone health. Homemade bone broth is encouraged and is much easier than you think! You'll simply need a chicken carcass or soup bones. Search for grass fed for optimal nutrient density. This is a traditional food that we are often missing in our diets today.
3. Add fermented foods. Fermented foods help add the good bacteria in our guts which is necessary for a solid immune system. Fermented foods are found in many traditional diets, but unfortunately, aren't often in our diets today. Add things like sauerkraut, kimchi or kombucha at least once every day or two. Take it slow, though, too much too fast can cause gastric upset! Once, or if, you tolerate dairy, plain yogurts, kefir or cheese can be beneficial, too.
4. Take a probiotic. Unfortunately, we are exposed to too many anti-biotics. From medications to the food we eat, anti-biotics destroy all of the bacteria in the gut. Of course, if you have a bacterial infection, this is helpful. But, the immune system and gut take a severe hit. And we often don't eat enough fermented foods, so a probiotic can help bridge the gap. As always, if you are going to take any form of supplement, please be willing to spend enough money to buy quality supplements. Find out more about supplements here.
5. Drink warm lemon ginger water. Ginger is very soothing for the gut. Warm lemon water is great to help the liver detox. Adding warm lemon ginger water first thing in the morning will help prime the gut for a great day.
6. Eat organ meats. We have gotten to a point where muscle meat is much more common to eat compared to organ meats. However, organ meats often times have so much more nutrients! Grass fed beef liver is one of the most nutritiously dense foods that exists. Some people are afraid of liver because it is a major detoxing organ. But, it does not store toxins. Eat up! Organ meats are great for your gut and overall health.
Healing takes time. Don't expect any overnight changes and implement changes slowly. But, in the end, you will feel better, be sick less often, think clearer and have more vibrant hair, skin and nails. True gut health means true health for your entire body.