Ok, this post was going to come later in the series but I have had so many of you message and e-mail me about what to do to start healing the gut that I thought I had better bump this one up to priority publishing! So we will go back to poor gut health symptoms and disease states after this post but yes, I hear you, let's start repairing!
I also want to stress that you need to see a naturopath in a consultation if you are suffering from extreme symptoms of any sort as you need a specific and tailored plan outlined for you because as I have said many times, we are all so different and different things work for different people. Only a physical check up with a full case history taken can really target specific problems but there are a lot of general health benefits we can do for ourselves at home to keep our gut healthy.
Now I'm not currently consulting as I am loving being a SAHM too much and I must admit, really enjoying my blogging and flower essence business, but I have a wide network of practitioners to refer you to so if you feel you need an appointment, get in touch. You can also find naturopath's in your area using your postcode with the help of Natural Therapy Pages
To read why healing your gut is so important and why all disease states stem from poor gut health please also read last week's blog by clicking here
BEST GUT REPAIR INGREDIENTS
This week I will provide you with the list of gut repair elements I believe are the most beneficial. I am wanting to really go into depth on each of these subjects. The only ones I will expand upon this week are the first two - probiotic supplements and bone broth.
1) Good bacteria - Probiotics (translates to Pro - Life)
2) Bone Broth
3) Fermented foods and drinks
5) Aloe Vera
6) Slippery Elm and other herbs
7) DHA or docosahexaenoic acid (yep, DHA is much easier)
8) Flower Essences
9) Body Work
1) Good Bacteria (probiotics) This is extremely important. If you don't have the time or inclination to ferment foods and drinks (adding good bacteria to your diet) or perhaps you suspect that your good bacteria is quite low (stress, illness, antibiotics, poor diet, alcohol, prescription medication including the pill will all lower your good bacteria levels), I really suggest a course of probiotic supplements for 1 month and then you can maintain your levels afterwards with certain foods and drinks which will be mentioned in point number 3 next week.
This goes for kids as well. You, as their parent, need to determine whether they need this and another clue that someone is in need of more good bacteria is the fact they are suffering from food intolerances or digestive disturbances. Interestingly for any pregnant or nursing mummas, taking probiotics and maintaining your good gut bacteria with the right foods or supplements during pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding (if you do) can dramatically reduce the incidence of food intolerance and allergies in your child later on!
Why is good bacteria so important for gut health? Well as explained last week, we need 80% good and 20% bad bacteria for a healthy gut. This is because good bacteria keeps our bodies from being invaded by bad bacteria which can lead to bacterial infection. Good bacteria also manages our body's pH which plays a huge role in our health and how inflamed we can become. The more good bacteria we have, the less harmful bacteria can reside in that all important mucosal lining!
There are many different bacteria's so it can be quite befuddling to go into a healthfood store or pharmacy and read about the billions and trillions of bacteria on the bottles. It just happens that we have many types of good bacteria and they like to live in specific areas of our gut and so taking a blend of these is often the best way to go.
Sometimes you might be targeting a specific condition (candida, travellers diarrhoea etc.) and then a practitioner can point you in the direction of the best probiotic for you as you will need more of a specific bacteria for these types of things. For general gut health a combination of acidophilus, bifidobacterium lactis and lactobacillus rhamnosus are a great start. What I suggest though, is to ask an in-store naturopath to show you the 'practitioner brands' and ask what they would suggest. There are retail ones available also and these can be good as well, but as you all know, you get what you pay for, so please be wary of any cheaper ones out there. The non-refrigerated versions are handy for travelling but may not be as effective. To keep the bacteria alive, they have to be kept below certain temperatures and that is why they need refrigeration. The ones that are sold as a non-refrigerated capsule or tablet have had to undergo certain processes to keep them stable that way and although still effective, they won't be absorbed by the body as well as the other ones.
The good bacteria created by fermenting foods and drinks which will be in next weeks post, are the best and most absorbable forms of bacteria but as they are in lower amounts of the bacteria, they are best used as maintenance of gut flora or if you have time to build up your levels over a longer period. I only suggest the probiotic supplements for people who knowingly have low levels and need to fix them sooner rather than later and then go on to fermented food and drink afterwards to keep those levels nice and healthy.
Probiotics are usually sold as a 1 month course (30 capsules) and can also be bought in powder form. Children do not need the same amount of bacteria as adults and so it is important that you buy age appropriate probiotics for the kiddies or follow dosages closely. Most practitioner brands and some retail brands sell child formula's and they are usually in a powder form so you can mix a bit in with their drinks, yoghurts and cereals. It is not advised to give babies under 2 months of age any probiotics. Also make sure if you are dairy intolerant that you check you are buying a dairy free probiotic. Some have added colostrum which is fabulous for the immune system and well worth buying if you do not have a problem with dairy, as it is sourced from cow's milk.
2) Bone Broth Really couldn't have summarised this better myself - this is from a new company based in Tasmania called Broth of Life. They make bone broth so if you are too busy (full time worker, parent, not good in the kitchen etc. and can't imagine finding the time for making your own) - this is a great alternative! Anyway here is what they have to say about bone broth -
"Bones, marrow, and the cartilage (Bone Broth) that sometimes is attached to the bone are all made of a protein molecule called collagen.
Collagen contains two amino acids: proline and glycine.
Collagen has been found to help heal the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, which includes the stomach and the intestines."
The beauty of bone broth is that you can start to heal that lovely mucous membrane lining that I raved on about last week with the amino acids that actually make it up - along with glutamine, another amino acid, that we will talk about next week which plays a pivotal role in healing the gut lining.
Bone broth is also very nourishing, warming and filled with nutrients so not only are you getting your gut repaired, you are increasing your nutrition intake in a very absorbable form. Even the most debilitated and damaged gut will be able to absorb the nutrients and so this is a very important food for kiddies, people suffering from impaired gut function after illness, surgery, chemo, radiation, the elderly and anyone suffering from digestive upset. How good would it be to have this going into your bodies regularly?
It's not hard to make bone broth, really easy in fact and to get my easy peasy bone broth recipe, click HERE
Bone broth can replace the liquids or your normal stocks in your risotto's, stews, casseroles, soups etc. to boost the nutrition of the dish and help with the repairing and health of your gut! I even make my Bolognaise and Gravy with it!
Well guys, that's it for gut health this week and I'm already looking forward to sharing the amazing benefits of glutamine and fermenting foods and drinks next week! Read that Installment Here
Yours in Health,