26 Apr How to Heal Leaky Gut?
There are more than 300 autoimmune conditions and the one common feature among all of them is the intestinal permeability also known as leaky gut. Leaky gut or intestinal permeability is the number one root cause of autoimmune conditions. Too often we spend all our time chasing the symptoms and we never deal with the root cause of the problem. Read my post I did here on What is Leaky Gut?
When you continue to chase only the symptoms, you will always complain of the same issue. However you don’t have to persistently put up with symptoms when you deal with the root cause of the problem. Taking pills or potions and putting them over the symptoms is like popping a band aid on an issue so you can ignore it for a while. If you don’t take effort to heal the issue correctly, it will come back, sometimes angrier and stronger. So if you have any autoimmune condition then it may be a good idea to start your healing journey by looking at gut health.
What Causes Leaky Gut?
- Chronic stress
- Intestinal infections
- Small intestine bacterial overgrowth
- Environmental contaminants
- Excessive alcohol
- Poor diet
- NSAIDS and other medications
What is Leaky Gut aka Intestinal Permeability?
This is the damage to the lining of your gut wall. Your gut contains mucous lining, villi and microvilli. The mucous lining is there to protect us from foreign substances, toxins and foods that may irritate the villi and microvilli. However, if you continue to abuse that lining, sooner or later you will gradually wear it out. You will then reach the microvilli which are like little tentacles when healthy. They are involved in every part of digestion. If you eat the wrong food, these microvilli get blunt and your immune system starts to get compromised. Then gradually the cell wall of your intestine starts to become permeable. Little holes start to form inside the lining of your gut and food particles begin to escape and enter your blood stream. This then leads to a whole host of autoimmune conditions. For me the symptoms were perioral dermatitis on my face, high cortisol levels in the middle of the night, adrenal fatigue, candida, joint ache, and low thyroid. At my age of 30, this shouldn’t be happening.
If you are battling with any autoimmune condition, you have to start with healing your gut. Leaky gut is the number one link between all 300 autoimmune conditions!!
How to Heal Leaky Gut?
First, you have to remove the foods that irritate the gut. This includes all wheat, any gluten containing products, sugar, processed foods, alcohol, coffee and modern grains. Lifestyle factors have to be addressed like having good quality sleep in dark room, managing stress, finding time for low strain exercise and getting fresh air, and receiving vitamin D into the body via sunlight.
It can take 6 months to a year to heal a leaky gut so removing irritating foods has to be strict. Your diet has to be therapeutic and nourishing over a period of time to allow it to heal. The good news is your gut lining is one of the quickest parts of your body to heal and repair. However, the healing process will also depend on the severity of the damage on the healthy gut flora or if you have any other symptoms related like SIBO or candida which also need time to heal and allow the good gut flora to repopulate. Until healing has finished and the gut health is back again, all grains, sugar, legumes and dairy (excluding butter, real yogurt and some cheeses for those who can tolerate diary) need to be removed from the diet.
If the leaky gut is severe and healing is not starting to take place, then removal of knight shade vegetables, egg whites and nuts may also be required. These foods can cause irritation in an already irritated gut. It is not saying that you have to eat this way forever; this is just to help you heal so you can regain gut health. If you don’t take this step, then you will always continue to chase the symptoms and you will always feel the same. However, if you get to the root cause and fix it, the sooner you will gain that optimal health you are seeking for. It goes without saying that all packaged and processed foods must be avoided. It is so important to change your diet to avoid gut irritation and bring down inflammation. Any exposure to the irritating foods can slow down the progress. So it is really vital to take the time to heal. For some people they put up with symptoms for a lifetime and just take it as it is because they consider it as a bad luck. However, if you take the time to heal and really heal, you can reverse autoimmune conditions and get back to genuine health and feel great.
What Do I Eat To Heal Leaky Gut?
Time to eat foods that promote healing and reduce inflammation, you need to rebuild the cell wall of your intestine and let your microvilli recover, replenish, and restore the mucosal lining of your digestive system.
Omega 3 Oils
Good quality omega 3. Your body needs the correct ratio of omega 3 and omega 6. Our modern diet has way too much omega 6 which promotes inflammation. You need to increase your omega 3. You must have a ratio of 1:1 of omega 3 to omega 6 for your health. However, a better ratio for healing and inflammation looks more like 4:1 which omega 3 being the dominant healer.
Omega 6 oils are found in vegetable oils, grain fed chickens and eggs, and nuts which are common in a lot of people’s diets. Omega 3 is present in fish, cod liver oil, grass fed animals, and organic free range eggs.
Gelatin Rich Foods
Gelatin rich foods contain collagen and minerals which are essential for building strong bones and repairing of the cell wall. So getting in some homemade bone broths and jellies can help you intensify the recovery of your gut as well as a good collagen supplement is a great start.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Green leafy vegetables are high in minerals and vitamins alongside anti oxidants and fiber to help draw out toxins from your body and help your body control inflammation. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, turnip, and kale) are fantastic in promoting toxin removal. So getting a variety of vegetables of all colors provides your body with all the nutrients it needs to help it heal. Get into having vegetables for every meal, including breakfast; you will be amazed at how this sets you up for the day. Aim for all the above ground leafy green vegetables instead of loads of below ground starchy vegetables and have a good 2 handfuls with every single meal.
Low Sugar High Nutrient Fruit
Try to avoid having too much fruit because fruit is high in sugar and it can cause irritation to the gut. Start with fruit that is super high in vitamins and antioxidants such as berries and pay attention to how your body reacts to them. Often in a gut that is irritated, cravings and emotions are one of the big symptoms of damage. Any sugar can cause all the bad bacteria to make you crave more. Sugar can often throw fuel on a fire, even though fruit is one of those foods that can be good for you, for someone with any gut damage, it needs to pick carefully the right kind and amount of fruit to eat.
Vitamin C Rich Foods
Vitamin C helps your body recover and repair, so if you can’t handle the fruit, then you need to ensure you are getting adequate vitamin C. Rest assured, vitamin C is all those vegetables you will be consuming. But try adding the juice of a lemon to your first bottle of water. This will not only help your liver, the vitamin C is fresh and also very helpful in the healing process of your gut lining.
Eat foods that will help you restore the healthy gut flora. This means getting into fermented vegetables and exploring it. My favorites are sauerkraut and kimchi. If you can tolerate dairy then you may try yogurt and kefir. You can also make kefir with coconut milk. This is where probiotics come into play. A lot of available probiotics only have a bacterial count of around 3-5 billion, in order to help heal and repopulate your body with good quality bacteria you need a therapeutic dose of 15-20 billion count. Good quality probiotics will not only help you build up good bacteria, they are also anti-inflammatory and they will advance the restoration of the mucous lining of your gut. Garden of life primal defense ultra is the best ones I have found.
Vitamins A, D and K
Vitamins A, D and K are the vitamins which are discovered by Dr Weston A Price that when used together they become most essential vitamins for health and healing. The vitamins together with the omega 3 in the cod liver oil really promote healing of the cell wall. Along with vitamin D from the food, vitamin D from sunlight is also crucial for healing, so putting real attention to getting sunlight on your skin is vital for healing. In order to get adequate vitamin D, about 30 minutes of direct midday sunlight in the summer months is considered optimal amount.
Coconut oil is also very healing, it is an antimicrobial short/medium chain saturated fat, and this can help reduce fungus, bacteria, and yeast overgrowth in the small intestine. Medium chain fats are incredibly healing and gentle on the cells which mean that they are absorbed easily and can be used for energy without any stress on the digestive system.
As your body heals it needs the building blocks of cells. This comes from protein and animal protein is your best source. This helps your body build new cells and connective tissues. So get into making meals that contain bone broth and loads of vegetables. This will help promote healing not only in the gut but also in every other part of the body. You will not only heal, you will also feel amazing when you eat food that is fuel and easy to digest.
Want to know how leaky gut can affect the rest of your body? Check out my next post How Leaky Gut Causes Stress On The Rest Of The Body
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