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5 Practical Ways to Balance Your Gut Health

5 PracticalIt has been said that, “You are what you eat”.  A recent idea came my way though, that we actually are not.  To be more specific, what we really should be saying is, “You are what you eat, digest, absorb and don’t excrete“.  If our ability to process and package our nutrients for absorption is not what it should be, then good health is not achievable.

Correcting gastrointestinal dysfunction of any kind is of paramount importance in optimizing health.  Here are some ideas, methods and tests that can help get you on your way to obtaining better gut health.

1.  Remove all food toxins from your diet….  

Wheat and other gluten-containing grains have a protein in them called gliadin, which has been shown to increase zonulin (zonulin opens up the spaces between the cells of your intestinal lining so large protein molecules get into your general circulation and cause immune reactions) and thereby contribute to leaky gut.  Medicine, viruses, hormone imbalances, trauma and stress can also contribute to a leaky gut.  Leaky gut, also referred to as “intestinal permeability”, has repeatedly been shown in studies to be a major factor in auto-immune disease.

2.  Eat healthy, organic foods that actually spoil…..  

Shop the perimeter of the supermarket for fresh, unadulterated foods.  If your great grandma could have eaten it, then it is probably ok.  Processed foods contain chemicals and additives that are unrecognizable to our GI Tract and often treated as such.  Natural foods taste better and are less inflammatory than packaged and that is a good thing.  If it is in your budget, buy organically grown produce and staples and organically raised chicken and meat.  Follow the Safe Seafood Guide to promote sustainable and healthy seafood choices.

3.  Make time to eat and take your time eating…

Our digestion really begins in the brain.  Just by thinking of food we are priming our body’s digestion by secreting specific hormones and enzymes needed for the process. The more liquified the food becomes from mastication, the less pepsinogen (protein digesting enzyme) and HCL (stomach acid) is needed.  With optimal food breakdown, less time is needed in the stomach and more absorption can occur downstream in the small intestines.  This usually translates to less gas, bloat, heartburn or indigestion.  Another side effect of extra chewing is that you’ll eat less and have earlier satiety.

4.  Get a handle on stress…..  

Stress response involves the release of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol from the adrenal glands. These hormones trigger reactions like an accelerated pulse. They also cause changes in the digestive system, such as sudden lack of appetite, heartburn, nausea and stomach pains.  Stress also causes inflammation throughout the digestive system, which leads to aggravation of the digestive tract and affects the assimilation of nutrients. Over the long term, stress can actually cause chronic digestive problems like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and stomach ulcers.  Tip:  We are often in greater control of our daily stressors than we realize. We cannot always change situations that are causing us stress (though sometimes we can), but we can always choose to deal with them in a way that doesn’t damage our health.  Read this book for helpful insights: http://www.pacifichorizonconsulting.com/products/enlightening-moments/

5.  If you suspect gut issues, try following a 3 week elimination diet…..

For 3 weeks completely avoid all common suspected reactive foods, plus gluten,wheat, dairy, corn, soy, eggs, beef, chicken, legumes, coffee, citrus fruits, nuts and nightshade vegetables.  It sounds like a lot, but leaves you lots of creative and satisfying meals of rice, meat (turkey, fish, lamb), most fruit and leafy green vegetables).  During the elimination diet you should make sure you are consuming adequate amounts of water and having regular bowel movements. Monitor symptoms such as emotions, dream quality, skin, energy and workout recovery closely.  A diet journal works great for this.  After the 3 weeks, re-introduce 1 food for 3 meals every 3 days and monitor symptoms.  Virtually anything that is different than you felt during the previous 3 weeks could be a symptom, negative or positive.  For example, some people actually report increased energy when a certain food is reintroduced.  This can have been created by a stress response from a given food, which would be a negative reaction.

If you have tried the above and still have symptoms or unanswered questions you may want to contact a health professional for further investigation.

Below are some tests that evaluate for stress, culprits of infection (bacteria, yeast/fungus, parasites) and/or food sensitivities.

Call for a free consultation (760) 274-4642.

 

The Functional Adrenal Stress Profile evaluates the adrenal glands and hormone balance.  In the event of adrenal exhaustion and imbalances in the reported hormones, underlying causes must be determined through additional lab testing and investigation into environmental and lifestyle factors; while also supporting the endocrine system with therapies and lifestyle modifications. In a Chronic Stress Response all body functions can become compromised due to prolonged hormone, immune and metabolic breakdown that can lead like falling dominoes to a multitude of chronic degenerative diseases from which the weakened body has a reduced chance to recover.

The Metabolic Assessment Profile provides an index of digestive metabolism by assessing protein digestion, measures oxidative stress and liver function.

The Mucosal Barrier Test is a saliva test that measures the degree of intestinal permeability or “leaky gut”, your immune system response to combined dietary proteins  (wheat, corn, soy, cow’s milk, and egg), aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, and Candida yeast.

The GI Pathogen Screen is a comprehensive analysis of the intestinal microflora. The test detects the presence of ova and parasites, bacteria (including H.Pylori), funghi and occult blood

The Mediator Release Test  (MRT) measures the release of chemical mediators from white blood cells and platelets in response to specific foods, additives or chemicals. Such chemical reactions presumably indicate sensitivity to these foods or additives.  Certain foods, additives and chemicals are capable of triggering immune reactions that are not due to allergies. Chemicals mediators released by the immune system are capable of producing a variety of body reactions and symptoms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cat Dillon

This blog is my journal, where I share everything wellness. From tips on healthy lifestyle to creating as much deliciousness in your life as possible.

Cat Dillon is the Cat in Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness.

Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness is a unique combo of nutrition, fitness and cooking coaching all in one pretty package. Read more about Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness.

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