Stress, alcohol, and other bad lifestyle habits can lead to a damaged gut. When there are too many of these factors the intestinal barrier, which protect us against microorganisms and toxins, while absorbing the essential fluids and nutrients, gets disrupted.
The disruption in the intestinal barrier, also known intestinal permeability, can allow various substances to leak into the bloodstream. This leak makes our bodies prone to diseases, such as, food intolerances and even more critical ones that affect the immune system.
If you are suffering from a damaged gut, it is never too late to reverse its effects. With the right lifestyle and mindset, you can detox the toxins in your body, and have a better working digestive system. In this article, we will talk about how to heal the gut fast and naturally.
What are the Symptoms of a Leaky Gut?
If you are unsure if you have a damaged gut, here are some of the symptoms that you must notice:
- Gas cramps
- Food sensitivities
- Aches and pain in some areas
- Mood swings
- Weight gain
The increased intestinal permeability causes diseases, such as the following:
- Inflammatory bowel diseases
- Celiac disease
- Food allergy
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Metabolic diseases
- Eczema and psoriasis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Autoimmune diseases
- Systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS)
- Type 1 diabetes
Top Foods to Avoid When Healing the Gut
If you have a leaky gut, the very first thing you must do is identify the foods you are eating. There might be a few items that you should stay away from such as the following:
Gluten can be found in grains like spelt, wheat, rye, and barley. Condiments and other packaged goods may also contain gluten.
You should stay away from grains not only because some of them have gluten. They also contain phytic acid, which is difficult for the body to digest.
- Refined sugars and artificial sweeteners
Refined sugars can be found in most conventional (processed) foods and beverages, such as: candies, cookies, sodas, energy drinks, cakes and much more. Consuming refined sugar feeds yeast that may outnumber the good bacteria in your gut. The same goes for artificial sweeteners like aspartame, which deplete healthy gut bacteria.
- Refined vegetable oils
Omega-6 is known to cause inflammation in the body and refined vegetable oils are the leading sources of this essential fatty acid. Please make sure that you keep refined sunflower, soybean, and canola oils out of the kitchen and go for unrefined coconut oil instead.
When alcohol goes through the liver, the toxins will be either broken down or stored in the body. Excessive alcohol consumption can strain the liver and damages the gut.
When antibiotics get in your body, they do not only get rid of the bad bacteria, but also the good ones that damages your gut.
How to Restore Healthy Gut Flora with Food
Now that you know which foods you need to avoid, let us look at the list of foods that actually restore the gut back to its healthy state.
When buying fruits and vegetables, it is best to go for organic and fresh. Frozen fruits and vegetables are okay as well, since they still contain the much needed antioxidants and polyphenols. What you should avoid are the canned foods that are loaded with salt, sugar and preservatives.
Here are the best foods that heal the digestive system:
Cinnamon lowers stomach temperature and aids digestion. A safe dosage is 1/10 teaspoon per day.
- Cruciferous vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage. They contain glucosinolates, which helps in lowering the inflammation in the intestines.
- Dark-colored fruits
Dark-colored fruits such as berries, cherries, and grapes contain polyphenols that heal the gut fast.
- Green tea
Green tea contains polyphenols, which increases the good bacteria, while decreasing the bad.
- Foods rich in Omega-3
Omega-3 fatty acids improve the biodiversity of the gut microbiota. You can get omega-3 from walnuts, pecans, chia seeds, basil, marjoram, and oregano.
Parsley has a high enzyme content, which relieves flatulence, relieves indigestion, and effectively eliminates waste.
Tomato is rich in antioxidants and lycopene, which helps balance your glucose levels.
Lemon is popular for detoxifications and can assist the body in eliminating bad bacteria.
Pineapple is rich in bromelain, which helps to break down and digest protein.
Coconut has antibacterial and antifungal properties that fights off potential pathogens. Instead of refined vegetable oils, you can use coconut oil when cooking.
Turmeric is a potent astringent that can control inflammation and can contract the protein in the bowel linings that reduces gut permeability.
- Aromatic herbs
Herbs like oregano, ginger, cloves, and rosemary have antibacterial properties.
- Fermented foods
Fermented foods like sauerkraut, pickles, and yogurt are rich in probiotics, which are known to increase the good bacteria in your gut and support the immune system.
Prebiotics are specialized plant fibers, that nourish the good bacteria already living in your gut. You can get prebiotics from sweet potatoes, pumpkin, honeydew, artichokes, and honey.
Essential Oils for Digestive Health
Besides food, you can use the healing properties of essential oils to heal the gut fast. Essential oils are highly concentrated, so I recommend having a carrier oil first where you can mix a drop or more of the essential oil along with the carrier oil. It always recommended to contact your local holistic health care specialist, to find out which essential oils are suitable for your requirements. Moreover, avoid using essential oils if you are pregnant or around infants and children.
Carrier oils include the following:
- Almond oil
- Apricot oil
- Hazelnut oil
- Olive oil
- Macadamia oil
- Kukui oil
- Wheatgerm oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Sesame oil
Here is the general blending guideline, you can use to keep your essential oils to carrier oils mixture precise:
- 1% dilution: approximately 6 drops of essential oil per 1 oz of carrier oil (best for children, pregnant women, and the elderly – please note that not all essential oils are suitable for children and pregnant women)
- 2% dilution: approximately 12 drops of essential oil per 1 oz of carrier oil
- 3% dilution: approximately 18 drops of essential oil per 1 oz of carrier oil (maximum)
You can also mix in jojoba oil or vitamin E oil as 10% of your carrier oil for added benefits and to extend its shelf life.
Here are the essential oils you can use to keep your gut healthy. These can be applied topically over the abdomen 2 or 3 times a day if needed:
Peppermint is the best go-to oil for easing digestive issues such as gas and cramps.
Caraway has warming and stress-relieving properties. It keeps the stomach healthy by stimulating the secretion of gastric juices, acids, and bile into the stomach.
Thyme has antibacterial and calming properties that can support the digestive system. It can also aid in balancing hormones for women.
Oregano essential oils contain carvacrol which serves as a better, natural alternative to antibiotics. Please note that oregano oil is very strong, it must be diluted in the correct manner, otherwise it can irritate the skin.
Listen to Your Gut
Listening to our gut does not only involve intuition, when making life choices. It can also tell us more about our overall health.
If you are aware of some of the mentioned symptoms above, it is important to take action, by restoring your gut health with the right food and essential oils, that can boost the healing process. After all, a happy gut, is a happy you!