What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?
Too many of us are living under high stress; from high-pressure jobs, financial issues, dilemmas with kids and relationships or family health problems—all adding strain and extra obligations in a hyper-paced world. We also tend to eat for convenience, to please our taste buds or to appease our moods versus eating for nutrition and good health. This dangerous combination can wreak havoc on our digestive system, and when paralleled with certain genetic profiles or dietary sensitivities, some individuals may experience what is called leaky gut syndrome or intestinal hyperpermiability. In short, the lining of the intestines can become compromised and digested material can leak from the intestines into the blood stream causing a host of problems from diarrhea to food allergies and autoimmune disorders.
There are several natural approaches to treating leaky gut, but the first course of action is to slow down and focus on self-care. When you remain distracted on all of the stressors piling up in your life, it will help ensure that your own health issues will not only continue but will likely escalate and become more severe. Prioritizing your own needs, particularly your health needs, is paramount. If you intend to heal yourself, be mindful of your own present needs and prioritize all of the steps required to bring balance back to your life, emotionally and physically. To do this, try using mindful meditation and/or yoga to help you realign with your present self, your breath and your body.
Begin developing daily stress management routines that may include incorporating meditation and yoga with daily exercise, creative time, alone time, play time and other activities that will help bring greater balance to your mind, body and spirit. Spend time developing and nurturing positive relationships, laughing and doing things you enjoy with people you care about.
Next, consider your diet. What are you eating? Immediately refrain from eating processed foods, which includes most fast food items, most packaged and frozen foods and only eat whole foods—foods with one ingredient such as fresh vegetables, fruit, fish and meat. Also, avoid foods with high sugar content and an abundance of carbohydrates, which can promote the growth of bad bacteria in your gut and perpetuate imbalance in your digestive system. There are specific foods that are known to aid with leaky gut, so focus on ways to incorporate these foods into your diet:
- Avocado: Avocados are known to contain a high concentration of anti-inflammatory healthy fats and enzymes that help heal and seal the intestinal wall
- Meat Stock: Stock is different from broth in that it uses meat bones and the marrow of those bones to flavor the liquid whereas broth uses the meat and skin/fats as flavorings. Stock is preferred because of the gelatin produced, which is easy to digest and includes vital minerals and nutrients
- Cultured/Fermented Foods: Yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, fruit preserves, chutneys, kombucha, kefir and even sour cream—are each examples of cultured or fermented foods or drinks that contain probiotics along with micro and macro nutrients.
Supplements are also especially advantageous to help treat leaky gut. These include:
- Digestive Enzymes: Supplements of digestive enzymes help to break down food and help your body easily absorb nutrients
- Probiotics: In addition to including foods rich in probiotics to your diet, you may also wish to include supplements that add micro and macrobiotic organisms—good bacteria that your digestive system needs to process foods and promote digestive health.
- Slippery Elm: Is a soothing herb, often used for digestive issues and can help promote mucus secretions to assist with digestive protection
- L-Gluatamine: Helps aid in digestion of proteins and can aid in repairing the intestinal wall
The worst thing you could do is nothing. hoping your leaky gut just goes away. That’s not going to happen without you making some major dietary and lifestyle changes.