Your intestinal tract, or what we casually refer to as your gut, has a huge influence on your overall health. It’s not simply a way for your body to get water and nutrition. It contains most of your immune system and it affects your mental health.
When the semi-permeable barrier between the inside or lumen of your gut and the bloodstream becomes too permeable or “leaky” then you can have all kinds of health problems developing.
There are many things that can mess up your gut. Antibiotics are a big one. So are aspirin and other NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), alcohol, food allergens, infections and chronic constipation. Your intestinal tract is an amazing organ system but you need to take care of it.
How to Take Care of Your Gut
1. Eat Foods High in Fiber
You can start by eating the right foods and drinking enough healthy fluids like water, herbal teas, green tea, and fruit or vegetable juices. Optimally, you should consume 7-12 servings of fruits and vegetables per day and leaning toward the less starchy variety.
A serving is considered ½ cup of the food if it’s chopped or a medium size fruit. Vegetables and fruits contain soluble (mixes with water) and insoluble fiber, which is indigestible and adds bulk to your stool. Fruit helps keep your stools soft and movable and also provides food for the healthy bacteria in your gut. High fiber diets greatly reduce your risk of developing colon cancer and diverticulosis (protrusions out the sides of your large intestine which can bleed or rupture and kill you).
2. Avoid Antibiotics Whenever Possible
Another thing is to avoid antibiotics whenever possible. Don’t run to the urgent care every time you get a sore throat or cold or you will likely be given an antibiotic, which is unlikely to help you in any significant way and can most certainly do more harm than good.
If you do take a significant amount of antibiotics, you run the risk of developing “intestinal dysbiosis” or a disruption of the ecology of your intestines, or an intestinal overgrowth of yeast such as Candida albicans. Yeast can lead to something we call Candida-related complex (CRC), which generally involves many different kinds of seemingly unrelated symptoms. But when you do a Candida Diet, take various antifungal agents and use probiotics, CRC usually improves.
3. Incorporate Probiotics into Your Diet
Since the bacteria in your gut are so important, you want to support them. You can do that by consuming a good amount of fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, raw unpasteurized sauerkraut, kimchi, and natto. If you are sensitive or allergic to milk, there are non-dairy yogurts made from soy, coconut, or almond milk. These fermented foods contain live bacteria which are healthy for your gut. If you can’t or won’t consume fermented foods, then it’s a good idea to supplement your healthy gut bacteria with probiotics, or friendly, health –promoting bacteria.
4. Do a Gut Detox
Sometimes you need to hit the refresh button. Starting fresh with your gut means getting back to basics, reducing inflammation and removing toxin buildup. Forum Health has a proprietary, doctor-created and health-coach led program designed to restore the balance to your gut called GDRx. GDRx combines a nutrition plan with powerful shakes and supplements into a program that’s completed with the guidance and support of a health coach. Benefits of GDRx include
- Improved immune system
- Weight Loss
- Improved headaches, brain fog, and chronic fatigue
- Healthy & glowing skin
- Identified food sensitivities
- Reduced water retention and bloating
- Healthy digestion
- Decreased inflammation
- Enhanced energy, stamina, and mental focus
To learn more about GDRx and order your detox kit, click here.
Interested in Forum Health Bloomingdale’s other offerings for nutrition counseling and more? Schedule your complimentary, 15-minute consultation with a health advisor today.
Remember to take care of your gut, and it will take care of you!
Dr. William Epperly, Fellow American Academy of Family Practice
Fellow American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy
Member of Christian Medical and Dental Society.