Great question - by nourishing your gut, you ensure a state of health that radiates from the middle out! Most, if not all aspects of great and lasting health stem form that digestive system of yours. You could think of it as the gateway to the rest of the body!
If the gut is the gateway to the body, then that would make the bacteria, yeasts and fungi of the microbiome the gatekeepers. I like to think of them as intestinal bouncers. They prohibit pathogens, toxins and viruses from entering the body whilst helping you assimilate your precious nutrients - the VIP’s.
If you want to preserve the diversity, composition and concentration of these microbes, then there are a few plays you can run:Probiotics
These are bacteria themselves, and can be found in special, mostly fermented foods. Adding these to your diet is a game changer since they help maintain the diversity of bacterial strains within the microbiome.
This is a big deal because beneficial bacteria such as the famous Lactobaccilus
Direct protection of the intestinal barrier;
Influence on local and systemic antioxidant status, reduction in lipid peroxidation;
Direct, microbial-produced neurochemical production, for example, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA);
Indirect influence on neurotransmitter or neuropeptide production;
Prevention of stress-induced alterations to overall intestinal microbiota;
Direct activation of neural pathways between gut and brain;
Limitation of inflammatory cytokine production;
Modulation of neurotrophic chemicals, including brain-derived neurotrophic factor;
Limitation of carbohydrate malabsorption;
Improvement of nutritional status, for example, omega-3 fatty acids, minerals, dietary phytochemicals;
Limitation of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth;
Limitation of gastric or intestinal pathogens (for example, Helicobacter pylori);
Together, the harmony amongst bacterial strains helps you stay strong immunologically, healthy mentally, and helps you maintain healthy body composition.Some probiotic rich, fermented foods I like to use:
- Apple Cider Vinegar
You can also supplement these. A really good brand that I have used for a year or so now can be found on amazon - Bio-Kult 30caps- 30caps. This probiotic was developed by Dr Natasha Campbell McBride (she literally wrote the book on gut health - GAPS.)Prebiotics
You could also call these fibre. One of the reason fibre is so good for us is that it acts as a prebiotic. This means that it is a fuel for existing bacteria. Microbes break down the resistant starches and cell walls of fibrous veg to produce some powerful compounds called Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA).
Any fibre is good fibre:
- They help regulate the permeability (opening and closing) of the tight junctures throughout the intestinal lining. These junctures allow passage of digested food particles and deny toxins, transitional bacteria, viruses and undigested food particles.
- They help to maintain the cellular structure of gut cells. These protect our inside world from the outside. Hair like structures called microvilli coat the outside of enterocytes, forming a brush border which contains digestive enzymes to complete the final stage of digestion before absorption.
- 60-70% of energy for gut cells comes from beneficial bacterial activity. The SCFA’s provide nourishment to keep the enterocytes alive and well.
- Leafy greens
Fibre is everywhere, yet many of us don’t seem to get enough of it. So long as you are eating real, whole foods, you will probably be getting a good dose of prebiotics!
Just don’t be fooled by the phoney claims on supermarket products like cereals and flour products. Get your fibre form whole foods!Gut Friendly FoodsGhee
Ghee packs in a load of omega-3 & omega-9 fatty acids which support the growth and repair of cells in the gut, as well as new neurones in the brain. These fats are like the lubricant which keep your anatomy tuned and well oiled.
The nutritional makeup of Ghee make it a wondrous medicine for reducing inflammation of the gut whilst also providing the raw materials for healing of the intestinal lining caused by chronic inflammation.
As ghee is a concentrated form of butter, it is densely packed with a very beneficial compound for good digestion and outward health. Butyric acid (butyrate) is a type of short chain fatty acid (SCFA) which offers powerful support to the health of your cells and the health of your bacteria.Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a powerful immunomodulator. Poor immunity can occur in response to a scarcity of beneficial bacteria and an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria. The anti-fungal, antimicrobial and antiviral properties of MCT’s actually help to stamp out infections in the gut and restore harmony within the microbiome. C. Albicans
(candida) can be effectively treated with virgin coconut oil.
The oils and fats from coconuts are very effective antioxidants, preventing oxidative damage to cells, preserving their integrity. Strong cells (of the gut) helps us to draw nutrients more efficiently and keep out viruses, infections and undigested food particles.
Coconut oil has shown to be a effective anti-inflammatory, which is especially beneficial for combating inflammatory damage to enterocytes within the intestinal tract.Bone Broth
The healing power of bone broth can be attributed to its plentiful minerals such as magnesium, calcium and phosphorus. These are fuel sources for intestinal reconstruction alongside additional compounds which reduce inflammation such as Glucosamine.
Reducing inflammation is key when it comes to healing a damaged gut, which is why you might want to add vegetables, herbs and spices to your broth the charge the anti-inflammatory potential of your elixir.
These are all fairy easy to process, putting little stress on the digestive system allowing good nutrient absorption for healing and repair.
Make it here - How to Get 6 Meals (and Change) From One Chicken
You also find a serious arsenal of amino acids in bone broth - glutamine, arginine, glycine and proline. These all assist in the rebuilding and restructuring of healthy cells, used in digestion, detoxification and tissue repair.Supplements
Some of these supplements I still swear by to this day, even after having healed a leaky gut:
Get rid of the bad stuff
- Omega-3’s form the membranes of cell walls, helping to maintain the integrity of the gut. Not to mention the fact they are powerfully anti-inflammatory. Therapeutic grade fish oil - Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil - 120 Capsules
- CBD - the non-psychoactive constituent to Cannabis is an incredible anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant and an antimicrobial. This powerful combo not only ensures the cells of the gut are strong, but helps maintain order within the microbiome. CAPSULES Archives - CBD Brothers
- Turmeric or Curcumin, the active ingredient, much like CBD is highly anti-inflammatory. This will also help to maintain healthy microbes and stamp out bad ones. It also prevents oxidative damage to cells as an antioxidant. Organic Turmeric Curcumin 600mg
- L-Glutamine is a big one for digestive health, because it is a vital nutrient for the intestines to rebuild and repair. This amino acid works wonders - It heals a leaky gut, acting as a bandaid against foreign matter. L-Glutamine powder - 10.58 oz (300 grams)
As well as including all this good stuff, some bad stuffs gotta go.
Many things artificial, processed or toxic can have damaging effects on your digestive health. Refined sugar is probably one of the most nefarious. You should get rid of the things that cause inflammation and bring disharmony to the microbiome:
- Psychological stress (Early life trauma, faulty belief system, emotional baggage etc.)
- Processed, preserved, refined foods (junk food)
- Pesticides + GMO (Horizontal gene transfer specifically)
- Environmental Toxicity
- Smoking, Drugs + Alcohol
- Some medications