Tag Archives: Gut Health
Tags: beans, Blood Sugar, blueberries, carrots, celery, Chia Seeds, cucumbers, dark green leafy vegetables, Dietary fiber, Digestion, diverticulitis, Elimination, Fresh-ground Flax Seeds, Fruits, green beans, Gut Health, Heart Health, hemorrhoids, IBS, insoluble fiber, Nuts, Psyllium, Skin Health, soluble fiber, Stool, Stroke, Vegetables, Weight Loss
Further to my previous post on eliminating gluten, let’s take a further look into an elimination diet. In previous post we have talked about the microbiome and how important a healthy gut is to our overall health and what can happen when the gut is compromised. Certain foods tend to be more problematic when it comes to food allergies and sensitives. Some of the more problematic foods include: wheat and gluten containing grains, soy, corn, pasteurized dairy, lactose, peanuts, tree-nuts, eggs, fish, shellfish and citrus. This is where your food and mood journal comes in handy. Food preservatives and additives can also be problematic.
If you think you are sensitive to any one of these common problem foods, try eliminating it completely, in all forms, from your diet for a week. When you add it back in, try to eat quite a bit of it. Eat it for every meal if you can. Watch for any signs of reaction and record them in your journal. You can eliminate these foods singularly, one at a time or do a complete elimination diet where all of the suspect foods are eliminated at once. These foods should be added back one at a time while watching for and recording any reactions. Some signs and symptoms to watch for might be digestive upset, bloating, gas, cramps, diarrhea, rash, eczema, breathing problems, stuffy or runny nose, agitation, emotional upset, brain fog, headaches, loss of energy fatigue or muscle aches.
While we are discussing removing problem foods, we might also consider not only eliminating foods that we are potentially sensitive to but also foods that are not serving us in other ways. Some of these foods include: animal products raised with growth hormones and anti-biotics that disrupt our own hormone levels, sugary foods that disrupt our insulin and leptin levels, caffeine that stimulates stress hormones, and gluten grains that may have a negative affect on the thyroid.
Allergies and autoimmune diseases are on the rise and according to a recent Harvard study, gluten might just be implicated. The study followed four groups of test subjects from those with full blown celiac disease to those who felt they had no problem with gluten at all; every group showed inflammation and damage to the gut wall after eating gluten. All subjects developed intestinal permeability (leaky gut). Because the gut lining heals very rapidly, the cycle of damage and repair happens over and over again every time we consume gluten. Eventually this cycle can lead to permanent damage called a loss of oral tolerance, where the gut no longer repairs.
So what does this have to do with allergies and auto-immune disease? As the gut becomes permeable, proteins from our foods, which have not been properly broken down yet, enter the blood stream. The immune system sees these proteins as foreign invaders and sets up an immune response. One explanation for the reason that gluten has become more of a problem in recent times is not because eliminating gluten is a fad, but because we as modern humans are in a state of toxic over-load being exposed to as many as 4,400 man made chemicals including BPA, Mercury, DDT, PCBs and thousands of other dangerous toxins. Our immune systems are overtaxed and can’t adapt fast enough to keep up with the demand. Gluten is just the straw that breaks the camel’s back. No human has the enzymes to break down gluten proteins into amino acids. Once the assembly line has been built to build antibodies to gluten, it can’t be un-built. If we go off of gluten, we will stop producing antibodies but as soon as we are exposed to it again, the assembly line will start churning out antibodies again. If we are sensitive to gluten, we have memory B cells that will never go away.
Another problem is called molecular mimicry. Gluten contains a 33 amino acid peptide chain. When an immune response is triggered to this chain the immune system goes on a seek and destroy mission. If it finds a sequence that matches 8 of the same amino acids in the chain, it will attack that peptide chain. It just so happens that we have other amino acid peptide chains in our body that match this sequence. Our thyroid is one of these places. As the antibodies mistakenly attack the thyroid cells, we call this autoimmune condition Hashimoto’s Disease.
Gut inflammation also leads to poor nutrient absorption that can lead to a whole host of health problems including osteoporosis. Celiac disease and osteoporosis have been linked.
When we cut out gluten, and as we heal the gut, other allergies and sensitivities tend to abate as the foreign proteins are no longer prematurely entering the blood stream .
Nothing is more important for your health than the state of your gut microbiome. Did you know that we are made up more of living microorganisms including bacteria, than we are made of cells?
Our digestive tract is basically a tube that runs from our mouth at the top of our digestive tract to our anus at the bottom. In our intestines or gut portion of our tube is a world of organisms called our gut microbiome. The gut is populated with friendly or beneficial microorganisms that are part of our immune system, help us break down foods, and even produce needed nutrients for us. The state of our gut micobiome even affects our mental health.
We also have microorganisms in our gut that can wreak havoc on our health if they become too out of balance. Our modern diets of processed, sugary foods laden with pesticide residues and antibiotics upset the healthy balance our gut microbiome. Stress also destroys this balance. Did you know that in certain cases, we can’t even lose weight no matter how much we diet and exercise if our gut microbiome is out of balance? In short, we can not be in optimal health if our gut microbiome is out of balance.
It is therefore important to re-establish a healthy gut microbiome balance. One way of doing this is by adding in probiotic rich foods. Some of these foods might include: old-fashioned, lacto-fermented foods such as sauerkraut, lacto-fermented pickles and cultured dairy such as homemade (unsweetened) yoghurt and kefir.
See my article, I Found A Solution, to read more about my personal experience with finding a solution to GERD (gastro-oesophageal reflux disorder) with probiotic foods.