Did you know that gut health is the foundation of a healthy body? Yes, it’s true and when our gut is off balance we are likely to feel less than vibrant and vital and may struggle with digestive issues or food sensitivities and low immune function in general.
Imagine this – about 70% of the cells that make up our immune system are in the wall of our gut, so a sluggish digestion, poor diet, stress, environmental toxins and food toxins can really take a toll.
The gut is the first line of defense against pathogens. It’s where we digest and absorb nutrients and where we house our gut microbes, also known as gut bacteria. Poor gut health is now thought to be strongly linked to a compromised immune system, malnutrition, impaired brain function, poor mood regulation, and even plays a role in arthritis and obesity.
There are many health complaints that may benefit from a detoxification program which focuses in part on gut health including:
- Constipation and diarrhea
- Skin issues
- Mood swings
- Poor Concentration and focus
- Joint pain
- Weight Gain
Detoxing for gut health
In my Westchester and Dutchess County offices, I have seen so many patients with the digestive symptoms as mentioned above. For many, I highly recommend a comprehensive 14-day detoxification plan that will help them learn how to systematically replace foods that aggravate and compromise gastrointestinal health with gut-friendly foods that do several things including:
- healing and sealing the gastrointestinal tract;
- provide probiotics for healthy gut bacteria,
- and provide fiber for bowel health.
And if you are struggling to lose weight, this plan is also one of the best things you can do to get yourself on the road to dropping those excess pounds. Research shows that an unhealthy gut environment, caused by a poor diet and overuse of antibiotics, produces toxins, triggers inflammation and insulin resistance, which in turn promotes weight gain. We often focus on counting calories for weight loss, but the truth is, if you have gut imbalances, losing weight is a real battle.
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What’s Involved in Gut Cleansing Foods
Essentially it is all about eating a clean diet of unprocessed, unrefined gut-friendly foods. This is where I feel everyone needs to start.
I like to include foods such as:
- All fresh seasonal vegetables, especially brassica vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower
- All fresh seasonal fruit
- All fresh sprouts
- All fresh herbs and spices, especially ginger and turmeric
- Unsweetened almond milk, rice milk or coconut milk
- Fermented foods
- Gluten-free grains (rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet)
- Organic chicken and fish
- Avocado, extra virgin olive oil, raw nuts and seeds, nut butters, coconut oil
- Herbal teas, including green tea
When I am working with patients with serious digestive and toxicity issues, I like to create a diet plan that routinely avoids foods such as:
- Gluten (wheat bread, couscous, pasta, rye, spelt)
- Deli meats, excessive red meat, processed bacon, sausages
- Processed/ refined foods (breakfast cereal, canned foods, chips, biscuits, pastries, muffins, etc.)
- Sugar, sweets, milk chocolate, jams, fruit spreads
- Chips, burgers, fried foods
- Alcohol, coffee, soft drinks
- Margarine, commercial dressings, sauces, artificial colors, flavors, additives, flavor enhancers & hydrogenated fats.
And to all this, we add the all-important gut-health superstar – probiotics.
Why we need probiotic supplements
Probiotics are an important part of the complex world of foods that contain live bacteria and it is the bacteria and metabolites they produce that give them their health-promoting properties. The numbers of each kind of bacteria change depending on age, diet, health status, and use of drugs and supplements. The bacteria thrive because they can adhere to the intestinal wall and use the semi-digested food that is passing through the intestines.
The body functions as a complex bacterial ecosystem with the colon alone containing 3-4 pounds of bacteria. There are over 700 types of harmful intestinal bacteria, while there are only 20 types of beneficial microbes. To maintain optimal health the colon needs a ratio of 85% health promoting “good” bacteria to 15% or less of the harmful bacteria.
The multitude of environmental and internal stressors in our modern world create an activation of pathogenic bacteria in the intestines, increasing the number of bacterial toxins these give off. These toxins are harmful to the body and mind. The same negative environmental forces decrease the percentages of healthy gut bacteria, which protect our health on many levels. Our healthy bacteria are so much a part of us that they are even essential for the specific biochemical pathways that are a normal part of our metabolism. In other words, it’s important to keep their population healthy.
Not all probiotics are created equally
The two main types of bacteria considered to be probiotics include strains from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium genera. Other genera, such as Escherichia, Enterococcus, and Saccharomyces have also been designated probiotics. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are made up of different strains, each of which has a different health function.
Benefits of taking probiotics
Scientists believe that probiotics work by repopulating the gut with good bacteria, which can be eliminated along with bad bacteria during a course of antibiotics. Additionally, probiotics are believed to have the power to fight off pathogens and toxins, as well as strengthen the gut fortresses that in turn helps ward off diseases.
I recommend several probiotics including a unique one that is formulated to support the proliferation of beneficial bacteria throughout the small and large intestines to promote healthy GI and immune function. It is a dairy-free formulation that also features a delayed-release capsule to increase intact delivery to the small intestine by protecting these organisms from stomach acid. In my honest opinion, Probiophage DF™ is one of the most advanced GI therapies available in a capsule.
It is also important to make sure your probiotics are delivering a balanced number of organisms into your entire intestinal tract. Probiotic Supreme™ delivers 15 billion probiotic organisms per dose of the two main forms of good bacteria that are supposed to exist naturally in the digestive tract:
L. acidophilus‚ which is often used as a probiotic to promote digestive health.
B. bifidum‚ which is a strain of healthy bacteria that is normally present in the gut.
Other good digestive health supplements include:
• Aloe Vera and spirulina green powder – both promote gut cleansing and repairing.
• Glutamine powder or capsule in a product called GI Revive™ powder– strengthens and supports gut lining.
• Digestive enzymes – promote optimal food digestion and nutrient absorption.
• Fish oil capsules – great anti-inflammatory benefits.
These supplements support digestion and absorption of nutrients, protect and heal gut lining and repopulate good bacteria for bowel health.
The most obvious first step in maintaining a healthy gut is to avoid all the things that destroy gut flora and damage the intestinal barrier. But that’s not always possible, especially in the case of poor eating habits, chronic stress, and infections. That’s when it’s time to clean up your act and lighten the load on your system by focusing on a good detoxification program that can help restore gut health.
Contact me today and let me help you sort out all the issues that are keeping you from feeling your best. My detoxification program and the support you will receive will put you on the road to weight loss, increased energy, great digestion, a clearer mind and a happier outlook on life.
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Now I’m going to make myself a hot cup of fresh ginger tea! Until next time!