Things That Heal the Gut

“All disease begins in the gut.”

Hipocrates

Having a healthy gut is key to good health. After all, if we can’t digest and assimilate nutrients from our food then our body can’t use them to repair itself and function properly. Some people have stronger GI tracts than others. This could be due to genetics, foods they ate growing up, foods their parents ate, less exposure to drugs and toxins, etc. However, anyone who eats a modern diet is at risk of lowering their gut function. Traditional diets actually supported good gut health, especially the diets of really healthy populations.

Whenever I try to quickly explain my special diet to someone, I always tell them it’s purpose is to rebuild my gut. Then I quickly list off a few foods that help rebuild the gut, a couple that are hard to digest, and leave it at that, invariably leaving out some important stuff. So here are some things that I know of that help heal the gut. If you know of something important I’ve left off the list, please share in the comments.

  • Animal fats, especially from pastured animals
  • Quality bone broths/gelatin
  • Probiotic foods
  • Meats
  • Eggs
  • Good metabolism
  • Eating enough food
  • Gentle exercise
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Reducing stress
  • Getting enough nutrients
  • Avoiding processed foods
  • Avoiding hard-to-digest pathogen-feeding foods (such as legumes, grain, lactose and other non-monosaccharides–until your gut is healthy enough to digest them well)
  • Avoiding pharmaceuticals (including over-the-counter drugs) unless truly necessary
Some things that may also help:
  • Taking a quality probiotic (may be necessary if your gut flora is very off-balance or you don’t eat enough cultured foods)
  • Eating only pastured meats and dairy
  • Avoiding GMO foods or foods grown with pesticides
  • Certain herbs
  • Quality whole-food vitamin and mineral supplements (zinc, magnesium and natural vitamin A are some nutrients important for digestion)
  • Following a special diet like SCD or GAPS
  • Eating more carbohydrates if you’ve been low-carb
  • Avoiding non-traditional oils such as canola or soy
  • Taking quality cod liver oil
  • Supporting the liver
  • Getting enough fresh air and sunshine
  • Having a positive mentality toward your health
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