It is a pity that the leaky gut syndrome is such a highly misunderstood disorder despite being the harbinger for multiple other health issues in the body.
What is it and how can it be prevented?
What Is Leaky Gut Syndrome?
Our small intestine, where all the food gets digested, has microscopic pores to allow the transfer of nutrients into the bloodstream. This wall is semipermeable, allowing specific molecules and nutrients to pass through and blocking the toxins and large undigested food particles.
But in people suffering from a leaky gut, these pores in the intestine widen and the undigested food particles, bacteria and toxins (essentially materials that need to be blocked) make their way into the bloodstream. This activates the immune system and can potentially lead to multiple allergies, chronic inflammation and health disorders in the body like asthma, heart disease, diabetes, respiratory diseases, migraines, irritable bowel, eczema, food allergies, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, depression and many more.
Common signs of leaky gut are chronic diarrhoea, constipation, gas or bloating, nutritional deficiencies, poor immune system, headaches, anxiety, brain fog, memory loss, exhaustion, skin rashes, acne, excessive cravings for sugar or carbs and joint pain.
A study published in 2014 shows that when people drastically change their diet, significant changes in the type and the number of bacteria can be observed in their Gastrointestinal(GI) tract by the third day.
So go ahead and follow and these strategies to rest your leaky gut.
First is, of course, prevention. Usually, chronic constipation or a severe imbalance of good versus bad bacteria in the intestines leads to leaky gut. Long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as aspirin and ibuprofen, may increase intestinal permeability.
- Tip 1: Don’t self medicate.
- Tip 2: Eat a high-fibre diet to prevent constipation.
Second, begin writing a food journal. Write down what you eat and how it affects you. If you feel bloated, fatigued, or gassy, add that food to your ‘elimination list’.
Your gut will tell you what foods it is sensitive to. You just need to listen.
Third, change your diet and eliminate the foods that your body might treat as toxic. Eliminate or cut-to-size gluten, dairy, soy, refined sugar, caffeine, alcohol and chemical additives found in many processed foods.
- Tip 3: Focus on gluten-free grains like buckwheat, amaranth, rice (brown and white) and sorghum.
- Tip 4: Switch to green tea.
- Tip 5: Switch to non dairy alternatives like almond, rice, coconut or cashew milk.
- Tip 6: Eliminate junk food, processed food, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, carbonated beverages and other sugary drinks and processed meats like cold cuts, deli meats, bacon and hot dogs.
Fourth, pump up the intake of glutamine, an amino acid with the ability to heal soft tissues like intestine-lining.
- Tip 6: Spirulina and cabbage are good glutamine sources.
- Tip 7: It can also be found in poultry, eggs, and seafood.
Fifth, focus on probiotics. These good bacteria will help restore the balance of your gut flora.
- Tip 8: Eat at least one fermented food everyday (kimchi, pickles, yoghurt, dhokla, sauerkraut, tempeh, buttermilk and miso).
- Tip 9: Include a probiotic supplement (capsule or milk).
- Tip 10: Eat sprouted seeds like Chia seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds.
Sixth, omega-3 can prevent or reduce the inflammation that is part and parcel of leaky gut syndrome.
- Tip 11: Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel) twice or thrice a week, supplemented with walnuts and flax seeds every day.
Seventh, improve your digestive health by eating foods that would benefit and strengthen it. Leafy greens are easily digestible, fibre in cruciferous and root vegetables acts as food for the good gut bacteria, and focusing on eating the right spices quercetin rich can significantly reduce inflammation.
- Tip 12: Eat vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, eggplant, beetroot, spinach, mushrooms and zucchini.
- Tip 13: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, squash and turnips are beneficial as well.
- Tip 14: Turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, and even saffron are anti-inflammatory and great for gut health.
- Tip 15: Supplement with 1 to 2 tablespoons of psyllium seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds every day.
- Tip 16: Consume quercetin through leafy vegetables, broccoli, red onions, peppers, apples, grapes, black tea or green tea.
Lastly, bust the stress. Learn to consciously calm your central nervous system. Under stress, the body’s nervous system kicks into fight-or-flight mode that has an impact on your gut. Change your thoughts to change your physiology.
- Tip 17: Consider a daily meditation or yoga practice.
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