When we think of gut health we only think about symptoms like bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis among others; we rarely think about things like depression, anxiety, autism, ADHD and other autoimmune conditions that affect our mental health. And why would you? Depression or eczema have nothing to do with the gut! This is where you’re wrong and this is why our digestive health is so important for our overall health.
As a society we are eagerly awaiting that ‘one thing’, that ‘magic pill’ to come along and effortlessly deliver us to our destination of desired health. Unfortunately, the wait is unending and the results, poor at best. However, the power to restore balance and health in your body, particularly your gut, is a lot closer than you might think. Our bodies are designed to keep us healthy, energised and strong, if we nourish them with the right nutrition. This is the key to my Better Guts Programme; finding out the right nutrition for you and your gut health, so that you CAN arrive at your destination of better health and happily live there.
We are only beginning to understand the pivotal role gut health plays in our overall feeling of health and wellbeing.
Some typical signs and symptoms of gut dysfunction
- Abdominal bloating
- Excessive burping or flatulence, often odorous.
- Gastric reflux, which may be accompanied by a burning sensation
- Constipation, diarrhoea or an alternating pattern of both / a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Gastritis and/or ulceration
- Abdominal cramping
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stools that are pale in colour or float
- Increased incidence of food intolerances / allergy
As each individual responds differently to foods, lifestyles and environmental toxins, it’s important to find out what aspects of your diet or lifestyle aren’t serving you.
In our Better Guts programme you’ll find out
- The right foods for your gut for now
- Specific nutrient deficiencies
- How stress, toxins and lifestyle behaviours can affect gut health
- The importance of functional testing to get a definitive insight into the bacteria levels, your absorption capabilities and the health of your immune system within the gut
- Triggers and underlying causes of gut dysfunction and lots more..
What does restoring gut health look like?
“We are what we eat” but more importantly “we are what we absorb” so how do we improve our ability to absorb and utilise specific nutrients for better health?
The road to a properly functioning digestive system is via our Better Guts programme which is based on the Institute of Functional Medicines (IFM) 5-R Programme: Remove, Replace, Reinoculate, Repair, Rebalance
Remove stressors – get rid of things that negatively affect the environment of the GI tract including allergic foods, parasites and potential problematic bacteria or yeast.
This might involve using an allergy “elimination diet” to find out what foods are causing GI symptoms or it may involve taking medications or herbs to eradicate a particular bug
Replace digestive secretions: add back things like digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid, and bile acids that are required for proper digestion and that may be compromised by diet, medications, diseases, aging, or other factors.
Help beneficial bacteria flourish by ingesting probiotic foods or supplements that contain the “good” GI bacteria such as bifidobacteria and lactobacillus species, and by consuming the high soluble fiber foods that good bugs like to eat, called prebiotics.
Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms found in the gut that are also called “friendly bacteria.” Use of antibiotics kills both good and bad bacteria. Probiotics in the form of supplements or food are often needed to help reestablish a balanced gut flora. Fermented foods, such as yogurt, miso, and tempeh are food sources of probiotics.
Prebiotics are food ingredients that selectively stimulate the growth of beneficial microorganisms already in the colon. In other words, prebiotics feed probiotics. Prebiotics are available in many foods that contain a fiber called inulin, including artichokes, garlic, leeks, onion, chicory, tofu, and other soy products. Grains such as barley, flax, oats, and wheat are also good sources of prebiotics. Another good prebiotic source is a supplement called “fructo-oligosaccharide” or FOS.
Help the lining of the GI tract repair itself by supplying key nutrients that can often be in short supply in a compromised gut, such as zinc, antioxidants (e.g. vitamins A, C, and E), fish oil, and the amino acid glutamine.
It is important to pay attention to lifestyle choices. Sleep, exercise, and stress can all affect the GI tract. Balancing those activities is important to an optimal digestive tract.
To book an appointment or speak with a member of our team, get in touch.