This Check list for gut health is yours for free. It contains the essentials of everything you need to know about maintaing a healthy gut and therefore a solid foundation for your overall physical health and mental wellbeing.
Change your diet
The number one tool in the box is to change your diet. This one action has a massive impact on your gut flora and on your health and longevity as a consequence. In essence the objective is to do 3 things.
1 Stop eating the wrong foods that promote an out of balance profile of microbiota, and kill beneficial bacteria.
2 Avoid poisoning ourselves with various additives and harmful ‘foods’ that cause leaky gut syndrome.
3 Start eating different foods that promote a healthy balanced microbiota.
- Reduce (ideally eliminate) sugar consumption – it feeds the wrong bacteria. Remember that pasta, rice, potatoes, spaghetti, noodles and grains are all sugar!
- Avoid processed foods – crisps, chocolates, pastries, pizza, fizzy drinks, sweets, etc. In fact almost anything factory made with a bar-code on it.
- Avoid wheat and gluten grains – These compromise the gut lining due to the gluten content as well as the glyphosate routinely sprayed on wheat by farmers.
- To keep your calorie intake constant it is crucial to increase the amount of healthy fats you eat [olives and olive oil, butter, raw cheeses, fatty fish such as sardines and anchovies, avocados, pecan and macadamia nuts, etc,].
- Eat exclusively ‘ORGANIC’ or homegrown. This is essential in order to minimise the amount of glyphosate and other toxins ingested. Glyphosate causes leaky gut and is routinely used as a widespread antibiotic herbicide. Eating organic doesn’t guarantee toxic free but it certainly reduces the toxicity content by definition.
- Eat wild fermented foods – feed the gut with beneficial bacteria. Wild or home fermented foods are superior to a factory produced equivalent.
- Consume home made bone broth from organically raised grass fed animals.
- Eat plenty of Fibre – Non starchy vegetables (and fruits such as cucumbers, tomatoes and avocados) are good
Get outside into the natural environment and breathe
What ever your lifestyle the health and diversity of your gut flora benefits from exposure to the natural environment. After all that is where all the bacteria live. If we are to introduce them to our gut then we must get outside. A walk in the woods, a trip to the beach or just pulling weeds in the garden, all help to get us breathing in the airborne bacteria that subsequently move into the gut.
Be friends with the dirt in the garden
Getting outside into the garden and maybe even growing your own organic veggies is a great way of breathing in soil borne bacteria. Digging over the ground and pulling weeds releases millions of bacteria into the air. Breathing them in inoculates the gut and increases species diversity
Avoid using antibiotics
The use of antibiotics should be reserved for when it is absolutely necessary. There are instances where their use can be life saving, but indiscriminate use for all conditions including viral infections is needlessly detrimental to the gut flora. Antibiotics wipe out large numbers of your gut bacteria. If they have to be taken it is recommended to take a probiotic for a short period only in the immediate aftermath.
Avoid drinking tap water
Tap water contains many harmful chemicals and should NOT be regularly consumed by anyone interested in maintaining their health. Oestrogen mimicking compounds, chlorine, fluoride, glyphosate and other antibiotic residues are but some of the things that should not be ingested. Either filter your water, use a borehole, well or spring, or use a reliable glass bottled water supply. Securing a pure water supply is very important.
Avoid over cleanliness in the home and immediate environment
Contrary to the popular belief it is counter productive to keep the home disinfected or germ free. A sterile environment robs us of the bacteria we need to inoculate the gut and increase the ‘all important’ diversity of species.
Avoid toxicity in the immediate environment
Over zealous personal hygiene can be similarly counter productive, especially with regular use of toxic personal care products, anti bacterial soaps, shampoos and fragrances. Household building materials, furniture, paints, carpets all have a negative impact on the gut as the toxins inhaled and filtered in the nose end up being swallowed.
Get adequate sleep
Our sleep affects our gut health and our gut health affects our sleep. Circadian rhythm disruption is known to have a negative effect on the gut and vice versa. The inter-relation of hormone levels rising and falling during the day is a complex process and there is much more still to learn. But cortisol, melatonin and serotonin all play a part tying gut health to good sleep. Sleep is one of the essential foundations of optimal health and so eating right for your gut has a double benefit.
Manage your stress levels
The previous point necessarily overlaps with stress management. Managing stress benefits us in many ways. It improves mental function as well as immune system response. Whether we choose to sit quietly or walk in the park, whatever activity we choose, it is important to have a vent for stress, a means to unwind. As with sleep the relationship of gut health to stress works both ways. The best option is to nourish the gut and have a strategy in place to manage stress.Avoid the use of dishwashers
Dishwashing machines use water at a high temperature that kills beneficial bacteria from plates and utensils. Studies have shown that beneficial bacteria remain on dishes washed by hand at hot water temperatures that hands can bare.
Consider a colonic irrigation
Colonic irrigation is when the colon is gently rinsed with purified water. The process removes digestive debris and fully re-exposes the gut lining to increase water reabsorption and toxin release. This increases the functionality of the large intestine and the increased ability to detoxify significantly enhances health and longevity.
Vaginal home births and breast feeding
For potential mothers to be, perhaps the most crucial of lifestyle choice that supports gut health for the next generation is natural vaginal childbirth. During delivery the baby ingests mums bacterial flora during the passage down the birth canal and this is it’s most precious inheritance. It is the seeding of the infant’s microbiota [the sum of microbes in the gut] and the basis of the fledgling immune system. Too many infants are born C-section these days into the sterile hospital environment. This can lead to health problems and allergies later in life. Breast-feeding also helps inoculate the infants gut.
Probiotics have their place but they are not a long-term means to increasing the diversity of your microbiome. After a course of antibiotics a probiotic is a good idea in the short term. Also after a colonic irrigation the same applies. However, as a long-term strategy they are of little use. There are some estimates that a healthy human gut contains roughly 25,000 – 30,000 species of bacteria. A probiotic with maybe 7 or 10 species is more likely to promote a monoculture if taken for a long time.
Keep it up
It is important to understand that maintaining a healthy gut is an on-going process and requires that we be continually exposed to the beneficial bacteria and also that we constantly replenish them. All the lifestyle choices listed above are best integrated into a way of living that mutually supports and sustains them all.
Gut health and it’s consequence of bodily health is accessible to all of us by making appropriate lifestyle choices. If the above steps are taken the only a few supplement products are necessary to support gut health. One is RESTORE, made by an American company called Biomic Sciences LLC. Restore has been scientifically shown to enhance tight junction integrity of the gut lining. It is a means of preventing and healing leaky gut syndrome. Another one with some convincing merit is spore probiotics. I recommend Dr Mercola’s Spore Probiotics.
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