As discussed last week, our gut is a critically important organ, which lets us absorb the nutrients we need, but also acts as a barrier to prevent harmful substances from getting inside our body and into our bloodstream. This physical barrier remains intact by protective gut-mucus, healthy epithelial cells that line the gut and tight junctions between those cells. If the gut barrier function is compromised, then bacteria, toxins and undigested large-molecules can pass through that lining and into the blood stream causing widespread and chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation damages the cells lining the gut, which in turn causes more inflammation and long-term health problems.
Inflammation that results from intestinal permeability can result in a host of symptoms in the gut and throughout the entire body. Bloating, digestive problems, fatigue, food sensitivities and inflammatory skin diseases are common manifestations of a leaky gut. It has also been suggested that many autoimmune diseases stem from a poorly functioning gut barrier. Gut health even has a connection to skin health.
Clinical studies show that marine collagen peptides can reduce chronic inflammation which can bring relief to those suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis.
Marine collagen reduces the release of inflammatory cytokines (these cytokines are tiny proteins that are released and are responsible for chronic inflammation in the body). The result is reduced inflammation in the gut and bowel. Reduced inflammation allows epithelial cells in the gut to heal and restore the barrier function of the gut.
Avoid Diet Sodas
Diet beverages are marketed as being healthy because they have the word ‘diet’ in them, but in reality, they are anything but. Diet sodas are free from sugar, but what they do contain instead is much worse. They are sweetened with artificial chemicals, which has been linked to, amongst other things: cancer, ADHD, migraines, depression, metabolic syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, and dementia. Anything else? Oh yes, these chemical sweeteners can destroy healthy gut bacteria. For sweetness, either go with pure stevia, or natural honey. Remember, natural is always best.
Try Consuming More Fermented Foods
Although referring to these foods as ‘fermented’ may not make them sound terribly appetizing, in reality some of the world’s most popular foods are fermented and many of them were listed above. Foods such as sauerkraut, and Kimchi are consumed in massive quantities around the world. As well as tasting delicious, they also do wonders for the gut. Pickled foods should be on your menu as well - Miso, Kefir, Kombucha, and natural yoghurts are all great examples of delicious-tasting fermented foods that not only strengthen the digestive system and promote optimal gut health, but they also help give a boost to the immune system as well.
Probiotics are actually foods and/or drinks that contain a specialist strain of bacteria proven to keep the gut and digestive system fit, healthy, and working as efficiently as possible. Probiotics not only help improve the overall composition of your existing gut microbiome, they also help to improve your overall health and well-being, including increasing your metabolism and improving your body's ability to burn fat. Probiotics basically help to strengthen existing healthy bacteria in the gut and ensure that everything is running as it should be. Some great probiotic foods include yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, miso, pickles, and some cheeses that identify live or active food cultures on the labels.
Taking care of your lets you get back to a health and happy life.