Our guts are home to approximately 100 trillion microorganisms. Those are including bad bacteria and good bacteria. Many people do not realize how important it is to maintain a healthy balance for overall health and metabolism.
What does my gut bacteria do?
The role of the gut flora has just recently been tapped into in connection with human health and disease. Among other things, the gut flora regulates the immune system (more than 80% of our immune system is comprised in the gut), and produces neurotransmitters that directly impact brain health and controls gene express in the liver that determines metabolism. Imbalances in gut flora has been linked to many diseases such as Hashimoto’s, inflammatory bowel disease and Type 1 diabetes.
Q: What can affect my gut health?
A: Antibiotics and other medications like birth control and NSAIDS, diets high in refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods, diets low in fermentable fibers, dietary toxins like wheat and industrial seed and vegetable oils that cause leaky gut, chronic stress, chronic infections and alcohol which can overfeed certain bad bacteria such as e. coli.
Q: What can I do to promote healthy gut flora?
A: Remove all food toxins from your diet, eat plenty of fermentable fibers (starches like sweet potato, yam, yucca, etc.), take a high-quality probiotic or eat fermented foods, treat any intestinal pathogens (such as parasites) that may be present, and take steps to manage your stress.
If taken seriously your gut can begin to heal within a matter of days. As with anything, you need to be consistent with a regimen to be successful.
The video below is a great portion of the podcast from Underground Wellness about Reversing Autoimmune Disease with Sarah Ballantyne.
When the bad bacteria in your gut take over it can cause tears to develop in “the net” of your digestive tract. This makes it easier for things that normally wouldn’t be able to pass through to leak out and filter into your blood stream. Some of these things include protein like gluten, bad bacteria and undigested food particles. Toxic waste can also leak from the inside of you intestinal wall . When this happens, it leads to inflammation and can cause numerous symptoms such as:
- Food sensitivites
- Thyroid conditions
- Joint pain
- Skin issues like rosacea and eczema
- Digestive Problems
- Weight gain
“Our gut is home to approximately 100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion) microorganisms. That’s such a big number our human brains can’t really comprehend it. One trillion dollar bills laid end-to-end would stretch from the earth to the sun – and back – with a lot of miles to spare.” – Kris Kresser
Healing with food
Along with making some dietary and lifestyle shifts, healing foods are a great addition to the protocol for a leaky gut. According to Kris Cresser, here are some foods include in your diet for healing your gut:
- Bone Broth- broth contains collagen and the amino acids proline and glycine that can help heal your damaged cell walls. To rapidly repair a leaky gut, do a 3 day bone broth fast.
- Raw Cultured Dairy – contains both probiotics and SCFA’s that can help heal the gut. Pastured kefir, yogurt, butter and raw cheese are some of the best.
- Fermented Vegetables – contain organic acids that balance intestinal pH and probiotics to support the gut. Sauerkraut, Kimchi, and Kvass are excellent sources.
- Coconut Products – all coconut products are especially good for your gut. The MCFA’s in coconut are easier to digest than other fats so better for leaky gut. Also, coconut kefir contains probiotics that support your digestive system.
- Super seeds – Chia seeds, flaxseeds, and hemp seeds are great sources of fiber that can help support the growth of beneficial bacteria.
Also, consuming foods that have anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fats are beneficial such as grass-fed beef, lamb, and wild caught fish like salmon.
“All diseases begin in the gut.” -. Hippocrates
One of my favorite and easy recipes for fermented foods is sauerkraut. Here is a simple recipe using Kraut Kaps (get them here). No expensive bulky crocks to mess with and makes a smaller amount.
- 1 head of cabbage (about 2 pounds), purple or green
- 15 grams (about 1 Tablespoon) of regular grind, natural sea salt
- Core a fresh cabbage and remove any wilted outer leaves. Tear off one leaf for later use and set aside. The cored and cleaned cabbage should weight about 1 pound, 10 oz.
- Using a sharp knife, slice your cabbage into fine shreds, as consistent in size as possible. (You can use a mandolin or food processor to make quick work of this step, but the shreds must be very thin. This is the one I use) Place the cabbage shreds into a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt. With clean hands, firmly squeeze and massage the shredded cabbage to help break it up and help draw out the moisture, Let the mixture sit for a few hours to form a nice brine. (You can also use a sauerkraut tamper or meat mallet to pound the juices from the cabbage, but giving time is the easiest way.)
- After the cabbage has wilted and is swimming in its own brine, use a wooden spoon or clean fingers to pack the shreds very tightly into a wide-mouth, 1-quart mason jar. Leave at least 2 inches of headspace, making sure to allow room for the glass canning weight that will weight the mixture down before sealing. The liquid brine should top the shreds by at least one inch; if you are short on brine, you can mix up a little more (1 tsp. salt in 1 cup water).
- Place your reserved cabbage leaf on top of the shreds. Then top the leaf with a Crock Rock Mason jar weight and press down until the shreds and weight are fully submerged under the brine.
- Screw a Kraut Kap very tightly onto the jar, making sure the silicone seal is properly set. Insert the airlock about ¾ of the way up the stem. Fill with distilled water to the “fill line” (about half way) or with 1 ½ T.
- Place the jar of kraut in a dark place at room temperature (68-72 degrees Fahrenheit). Let the kraut sit at least 4 weeks or up to 12.
- Once the kraut is ready, remove the Kraut Kap, top with a storage cap, and move the jar to cold storage.
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