3 Things You Can Do for Your Gut Today
- Written By:Dr. Amy Shah
- Photography:Sarah Elliot
Optimizing gut health is now the cutting edge of medical treatments. We are understanding that it's more than bloating, constipation or discomfort – abnormal gut also leads to diseases like food allergies, eczema, autoimmune disease, cancer and so much more.
We are learning that gut bacteria really acts as the gatekeeper to your body’s immune system. When you take a course of those antibiotics, you are really changing your immune response of a number of weeks and maybe months or years!
Although there are so many tonics, pills and things you could be doing for your gut, I like to keep it simple: change your food. Changing your diet is the only truly effective way achieve a healthy gut. Try these three basic things for good gut health and remember health from the inside shows on the outside!
Yeah, I know, easier said than done! Sugar is a huge inflammatory food, especially white and processed sugar. This my number on tip for healing the gut (and hormones for that matter). Remember sugar is everywhere! If you are new at this, here is what I suggest: log all your food for two days on the Myfitnesspal App (it's free). It automatically calculates your sugar grams. Take those grams and cut it in half for the next week. Once you are at 30-50 grams, you are doing pretty good. When you start to cut down sugar you will notice your taste buds change in about a week and suddenly, those Starbucks drinks just don't taste good anymore.
Plant Fiber is the Gut Bacteria's Friend
Every day you should be aiming for 3-5 cups of vegetables. They literally feed the good bacteria and clear out the toxins and waste products in your gut. Here are my top vegetables to choose from:
- Brussels sprouts
- Dandelion greens
Remember if you are trying to eat more cruciferous vegetables, like the cabbage and cauliflower, go low and slow. Makes sure it's cooked well and start with 1/2 cup every other day. When the gut is not used to cruciferous vegetables it can first get inflamed before it starts to benefit from it!
Eat More Fermented Foods (Especially Fermented Fibers!)
Fermented foods are literally bacteria containing foods. Fermented foods are particularly helpful for those suffering from common digestive and gut issues. For example, leaky gut syndrome, constipation, and autoimmune disorders. Three great sources of fermented fiber are:
- Kimchi: Traditional fermented Korean dish that is made from vegetables including cabbage, plus spices and seasoning. Excellent source of probiotics encouraging good gut flora.
- Sauerkraut: Similar to Kimchi in that it is also made with cabbage and is somewhat spicy. A serving gives you a powerful dose of healthy probiotics that aid digestion, and research has found raw sauerkraut prevents cancer cells from forming.
- Natural Pickles: The ones from the fresh foods area that don't contain a bunch of preservatives.