If you regularly suffer from stomach-related problems like irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, bloating or gas, there are chances that you might have a leaky gut. This condition arises when the gap between the cells in the gut increases abnormally, making it possible for unwanted and potentially dangerous substances to enter the bloodstream. Failure to heal the gut can cause antigens, bad bacteria, undigested food and other toxins to enter the bloodstream. Owing to the current lifestyle of people, many people are being diagnosed with a leaky gut.
All guts are supposed to be leaky, that is how the nutrients from food enter our body. The problem arises when the tears in the lining of the gut become so large that harmful substances start being released by the gut. While digestion related problems are a definite sign of a leaky gut, there are other symptoms that can be linked to this condition.
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Symptoms Of A Leaky Gut
- Digestion related problems like diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating or irritable bowel syndrome
- Chronic fatigue
- Food allergies
- Hormonal imbalances, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and premenstrual problems.
- Lack of concentration
- Arthritis, celiac disease or thyroid
- Mood swings and depression
- Obesity and weight fluctuations
- Fatty liver, type 2 diabetes or heart problems
A leaky gut is a result of eating foods that your body is unable to digest. This inability can be a result of food allergies or bad bacteria. The only effective way to heal the gut is by eating foods that are suitable for the body. In other words, decreasing inflammation is the only effective means of repairing a leaky gut. Unlike other disorders that require medical attention, in most cases, a leaky gut can be repaired without medication. Not only do these tricks help in fixing the leaky gut, they also prevent further damage to the gut. The amount of time required to heal the gut is different for different people. The healing process depends on the extent of damage to the gut, steps taken and lifestyle of an individual, not to mention their allergies and other preexisting health conditions.
5 Ways To Heal A Leaky Gut
The human body was not meant to be consuming food so often. In the prehistoric ages, humans as well as animals were known to eat intermittently. It is only now that we have so much access to food and are eating as often as we do. Fasting is a very efficient and proven way to heal the gut. Digesting food is a serious business and the more we eat, the more work our gut needs to do to digest the extra food. Giving your body some time off digesting reduces inflammation of the gut and also gives it time to regenerate itself.
2. Dietary Changes
The main cause for a leaky gut is a bad diet. There are many kinds of diets that are efficient at repairing a leaky gut. However, not all of these diets work for all individuals. A thorough examination of their allergies and body composition is what determines the diet that will be best suited. Some of the popular diets that heal the gut are gluten-free diet, ketogenic diet, sugar free diet, mediterranean diet and paleo diet. All of these diets are aimed at feeding the body foods that reduce inflammation and eliminating foods that increase inflammation. People who do not suffer from celiac disease have benefitted immensely from the gluten free diet because eliminating gluten reduces inflammation in the gut. Usually, it takes anywhere between 6-8 weeks for these diets to show effect but everybody responds to the diet differently.
Some common food items that help in repairing a leaky gut are salmon, chicken eggs, turkey, avocado, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, extra virgin olive oil, brussel sprouts, beetroot, carrots, potatoes, strawberries, oranges and kiwi. Foods that cause inflammation and should be avoided while trying to heal the gut are sugar, processed foods, refined carbohydrates and caffeine.
Prebiotics are carbohydrates which work as food for the good bacteria present in the gut. These substances help in improving the immunity of the gut. Eating foods rich in prebiotics is very beneficial for the digestive system as they assist in the growth of good bacteria. Prebiotics are present in food items such as garlic, onion, asparagus, banana, apple, oats and flax seeds. Prebiotics can also be consumed by way of supplements.
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There is a lot of bacteria, both good and bad, that is present in the body. Probiotics are the live good bacteria which help to heal the gut. The two main functions of probiotics are to maintain a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria and to replenish the good bacteria lost due to the leaky gut. Foods that are rich in probiotics are yogurt, cottage cheese (paneer), mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, gouda cheese, pickled vegetables and kimchi (a Korean side dish made with pickled and fermented cabbage). Just as in the case of prebiotics, probiotic supplements are also available in the market.
5. Lifestyle Changes
The modern lifestyle that is high on stress is majorly responsible for people feeling the need to heal the gut. Mental health and physical health are interconnected. Thus, healing the mind will automatically have a positive effect on the body. Overindulgence in alcohol and excessive smoking also leads to increased inflammation, resulting in intestinal permeability. Making small lifestyle changes will gradually fix a leaky gut.
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A leaky gut is a disorder, but it could also be a symptom indicating a bigger disease. When diagnosed early, it is relatively easy to heal the gut. Keeping your gut healthy has short term as well as long term benefits. When your gut functions well, everyday problems like fatigue, irritability and allergies disappear. A healthy gut can also prevent lifelong ailments like diabetes, autoimmune diseases, asthma and mental disorders.