1. Stop eating food that damage the lining of the intestines and create inflammation.
Many foods can contribute to inflammation in the gut and contribute to your leaky gut. If your goal is to improve your gut health, consider changing your diet.
2. Add food to reduce inflammation and encourage healing of the gut lining.
Our body can do incredible things when we give it the raw materials to do its job. By adding high-quality foods, we can create a healthy gut flora and support our microbes in our gut. Consider adding the following:
- Prebiotics – Most prebiotics come from a plant-based source. They can fuel our intestinal health and create a healthy flora that multiplies quickly. Try to incorporate foods like apple, berries, garlic, leeks, onion, jicama, kale, asparagus, and bananas as a prebiotic source.
- Probiotics– Usually come from a carbohydrate source and pass through the intestines and make their way to the colon where this good bacteria is used for fuel. This bacteria in the colon will produce a short chain fatty acid and be used for lining the intestines. Foods high in probiotics include sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles or kombucha.
- Bone broth has been used for many years dating back in Chinese medicine. It can be made by boiling animal connective tissue and bones and then slowly simmering them. This allows collagen, glutamine, and gelatin from the bones to be released to a broth form. We can then use the gelatinous broth for many everyday foods. Collagen and gelatin work to heal the lining of the gut while glutamine (an amino acid) strengthens the gut lining. While supplements for collagen or glutamine work also, bone broth is easier for the body to digest and absorb.
- Grass-fed, pastured or wild caught animal products: These animal products tend to be higher in omega 3 essential fatty acids. Omega 3’s are needed for all anti-inflammatory responses in the body, which your gut needs for healing. Conventionally raised animals are typically fed grains or corn which are higher in omega 6’s, which is a pro-inflammation essential fatty acid.
3. Control stress and sleep
A lack of stress or an abundance of physical or mental stress on the body signals your bodies stress hormones to create inflammation among other byproducts. Working to get quality sleep and control our everyday stressors is essential to overall health. Try meditating, yoga, journaling, being in nature, reading or whatever calms you for at least 15 minutes a few times a week!
4. Add gut healing herbs to your life
Many of the herbs listed can be found in herbal teas. Some are even specifically formulated for gut health or labeled as “tummy tonic” to heal. I personally love the licorice flavor so love the herbal tees with licorice and lavendar added!
- Marshmallow is a mucilaginous herb that creates a gel-like consistency when combined with water. This gel can act as a lining for your tissues and will also help to heal your body.
- Slippery elm is another herb that creates a get like consistency when combined with water. It also stimulates the nervous system to naturally produce more of its own mucous in the digestive system. Some studies even go as far as testing healing properties in the colon for slippery elm use.
- Licorice is an adaptogenic herb, meaning it works to bring homeostasis to the body but it is also a mucilaginous herb. A much-cited article suggests that Licorice root contains an anti-ulcer and anti-inflammatory compound which can heal the intestinal walls.