Did you know a healthy gut is an absolute requirement to have a healthy immune system? 70% of our immune system lives in our gut. If our gut is not operating well, then we are more likely to get sick. How do you know if your gut is unhealthy?
Here are a few signs:
👉Diarrhea and/or constipation, and intestinal discomfort 👉Inflammation 👉Congestion, coughing, wheezing 👉Brain fog, difficulty recalling words, short term memory issues 👉Headaches and migraines 👉Hives, flushing, and itchy skin 👉Fatigue and malaise 👉Sensitivity to fragrances and chemicals
If you are experiencing any of the above, your gut is unhealthy. Trying to figure out how to fix your gut is hard! So much conflicting advice. But I am here to help!
I am a Certified Holistic Nutritionist obsessed with teaching people just like you how to heal their gut so you can stop suffering and get back to living! I offer a FREE 30 minute strategy call where we will talk about your specific symptoms and start creating a plan on how to heal your gut using the Simply Great Health program. How would eliminating your symptoms improve your life? You could: ✅Be more present with your children ✅Thrive in your career ✅Improve your communication and your relationships ✅Have more fun! ✅Move your body and improve your fitness ✅Lose weight and feel better about yourself ✅Be able to cook healthy meals for you and your family ✅Take an active vacation ✅Reclaim your life! Simply Great Health is a customized 5 Step plan that heals your gut and fits your busy lifestyle. Book your call directly here. It’s very simple. No jumping through hoops and NO PRESSURE. If we determine it’s not a fit, we’ll go our separate ways for now. If it is a fit, we can take the next step and get you started on the path to healing.
1) FOOD SENSITIVITIES AND ALLERGIES
Eating foods that are known for keeping the gut healthy is just one way to avoid colds, flu and illness. As well as promote regularity and allow the body to naturally detox. In this post, I've made it easy for you to learn which foods you should eat. Plus, I've created a gut healthy meal-plan for you to try.
One thing I need to mention before we get into what foods to eat for a healthy gut is food allergies and sensitivities. If someone has a food allergy or sensitivity, it doesn't matter how nutritious the food is, they shouldn't eat it. Why not?
When our bodies are allergic or sensitive to a food or ingredient, the body automatically wants to fight to keep us healthy. Continually eating foods that are seen by the body as an enemy, weakens the gut and the immune system. This opens us up to illness and disease.
How do you know if you have a food allergy or sensitivity? Sometimes, it is very clear. I started becoming lactose intolerant when I was 32. I didn't realize it at the time because I didn't know the signs of a food allergy or sensitivity that did not result in a severe anaphalaxis. I loved yogurt and would eat it every day. I thought since it is a healthy food, full of probiotics, I should be eating it everyday.
After awhile, I realized that within a couple of hours of eating yogurt I would have gas, diarrhea and bloating. It was clear I had a food sensitivity. I stopped eating the yogurt and my symptoms went away. It took me years to figure out that yogurt was causing me digestive imbalance.
There are two ways to figure out if we have a food sensitivity or allergy.
An elimination diet attempts to find the food allergy or sensitivity by eliminating foods from our lifestyle and then slowly reintroducing the foods one at a time. It requires that we notice how we feel after reintroducing the food. We try to notice if the food makes us feel gassy, bloated, causes diarrhea or constipation. We try to figure out if a food makes us have brain fog, fatigue and skin rashes. If it does, then we stop eating it. If it doesn't, we move on to the next food. As you can imagine, we need to have time to figure this out.
FOOD ALLERGY OR SENSITIVITY TESTING
The other way to figure out what food allergy or sensitivity you have is to take an at-home test. There are two companies that supply at-home tests: EverlyWell and The Great Plains Laboratory. It is a simple pin prick and then you send the test back for analysis. This is a much faster way to find out if there is a sensitivity or allergy so you can stop eating the food ASAP.
2) FOODS THAT SUPPORT A HEALTHY GUT
Here are the foods that support a healthy gut. I've included why they are good for the gut. The next section supplies a 1 week meal plan with recipes to try!
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, contain beneficial antioxidants and help promote good bacteria in the gut. They should be eaten at every major meal and/or eaten at snack time. While the majority of them are gut-friendly, there are some that are not so friendly.
There is a group of fruits and vegetables that contain high levels of fructose. Known as the FODMAP's, these fruits and vegetables contain substances that cause bloating and gas. If you notice that a fruit or vegetable gives you bloating, gas, abdominal pain or diarrhea, you need to stop eating it. This type of reaction indicates an allergy or sensitivity to the fruit or vegetable.
In general, fruits and vegetables are the best foods for a healthy gut but it doesn't mean that if you don't care for a specific one you have to eat it. I know a lot of people who don't like broccoli or cauliflower. I would not tell them they have to eat those vegetables. Instead, experiment and figure out which ones you love to eat. Then you can substitute what you love in recipes.
GRAINS AND LEGUMES
Whole grains are beneficial to the gut through interactions with good bacteria. When we eat whole grains short chain fatty acids are produced. Short chain fatty acids help maintain the gut barrier function which keeps illness away and increases nutrient production. Whole grains to try are quinoa, brown rice and barley.
Legumes, or beans, are high in both fiber and protein, which can help regulate the passage of food through our digestive tract and can help steady the flow of digestion. This steadied digestive flow can result in benefits for regulation of blood sugar and overall digestive tract health. (Source: World's Healthiest Foods) Black beans, lentils, chickpeas and kidney beans are some of the most popular legumes. Worried about excess gas? Soak the beans in water for up to 48 hours, changing the water every 12 hours. This will make the beans easier to digest.
Foods like sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, kefir and kimchi are all fermented foods. Fermented foods are rich in beneficial probiotics and have been associated with a range of health benefits from better digestion to stronger immunity. Fermentation is a natural process through which microorganisms like yeast and bacteria convert carbs, such as starch and sugar, into alcohol or acids. (Source: Healthline) Experimenting with these foods benefits the digestive system since they feed the good bacteria in the gut.
Turmeric, garlic, ginger, cinnamon and basil are just a few herbs that support a healthy gut. Many spices can help reduce gas and bloating, which are very common complaints. Some spices like turmeric, garlic and cinnamon reduce gas and protect gut immunity. Spices are great to experiment with even if a recipe doesn't call for it.
3) GUT HEALTHY 1 WEEK MEAL PLAN
I created a one week meal plan with recipes that promote a healthy gut. You can follow it for an entire week or if you prefer, try a single day or even just one meal. The recipes in the weekly planner are below the meal plan. I included recipes with and without meat, to fit your lifestyle. Simply click on the name of the recipe to see it. I hope you'll find the gut healthy meal plan easy and delicious! Enjoy!
I hope this inspires you to eat foods that are good for your gut. Do you think you will try any of the recipes? Let me know in the comment box below.