Let’s give a grateful shout out to the super-powered foods that support a Gut-Loving Life. A healthy gut means a boosted immune system, healthy skin and hair, and enhanced energy—all reasons for more gratitude!
We know that adding whole foods and reducing your sugar, gluten, and dairy in your daily diet put us on the path toward gut healing, and as I’ve said before, lasting change comes gradually. So in that spirit, here are eight days of ways to introduce Gut-Loving foods into your daily diet.
- APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
Apple cider vinegar stimulates hydrochloric acid (HCL) in the stomach. Why is this important? Stomach acid eliminates bacterial intruders that can make their way into our bodies through food. Low stomach acid—spurred by aging, chronic stress, antacids or poor diet—can cause a vicious cycle of poor digestion, chronic gut inflammation, microbial overgrowth, leaky gut, and lowered nutrient absorption. And a whole host of uncomfortable symptoms. To increase your production of stomach acid, try a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar before you eat.
- ALOE VERA
Used as a digestive herb in Chinese medicine for thousands of years, the mucilaginous gel of aloe vera has healing powers and acts as a probiotic. I like George’s Aloe Vera, which is high-quality and tasteless, and add it to smoothies, soups or juice to flush out toxins.
L-Glutamine is an amino acid that acts as a foundation for the health and wellbeing of your digestive and immune systems. It is helpful in repairing the gut from damage, helps regrow and repair the gut lining, helps undo any damage from leaky gut and reduces sugar cravings.
- DEGLYCYRRHIZINATED LICORICE ROOT (DGL)
This herb has been used for thousands of years to enhance immunity and treat digestive issues including adrenal fatigue, indigestion, stomach ulcers, leaky gut, heartburn and canker sores. Pro tips: Look for DGL products and not the glycyrrhizin product, and avoid it completely if you have high blood pressure, kidney disease, liver disease, diabetes, heart disease, or are pregnant or breastfeeding.
There’s all kinds of buzz around probiotics, but one of the most nourishing ways to support your gut bacteria is to also feed them Gut-Loving, food-resistant starches, AKA prebiotics. These are digestible fibers that our bacteria need to promote further growth of new and beneficial bacteria.
Prebiotics can be found in bananas, plantains, squash, yams, asparagus, sunchokes, legumes and seeds. Build them into your diet for a happy gut (read: regular bowel movements, improved immune function and healthy digestion).
- BARLEY JUICE EXTRACT POWDER
This powder contains vitamins, minerals and proteins—plus chlorophyll—that are easily assimilated into the gut. It includes calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, phosphorous, manganese, zinc, beta-carotene, vitamins B1, B2, B6, and C, folic acid, and pantothenic acid. And it has five times more iron than spinach and 11 times the calcium! More importantly for our Gut-Love program, it improves the production of HCL in the stomach, which is essential for the breakdown of foods. My favorite is Vimergy.
- COLLAGEN POWDER
The most abundant protein in our bodies, collagen is found in muscles, bones, skin vessels, tendons and our digestive system. It’s been shown to help seal and heal the protective lining of the gut. And it has beauty benefits. Since collagen gives our skin strength and elasticity and replaces dead cells, as our collagen production decreases with age it leads to signs of aging (we see you, wrinkles and sagging skin). Collagen is the secret behind bone broth’s magic: When cooked, collagen becomes gelatin and when cooled it congeals into jelly.
When life is too busy for organic, grass-fed bone broth, try incorporating collagen into your diet with a supplement—I prefer Great Lakes Gelatin brand.
Last but in no way least, there’s turmeric. A healing spice in India, it’s used to remedy colds, flus, sore throats, stomach aches and wounds. According to the Health Chef: “Turmeric has been linked to management of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, asthma, eczema, and inflammatory bowel disease. It is a nutritional powerhouse, rich in manganese, zinc, B group vitamins, and iron.” Convinced? Try incorporating it into your diet via curry dishes, seasoning for lean meats and veggies, dashed on hummus, in turmeric milk or in soups and stews.
I recommend combining your turmeric with pepper, as it enhances absorption! Health note: turmeric may interact with anticoagulants and antiplatelet drugs, such as Coumadin, which may cause an increase in bleeding in some people. Ask your doctor, as always, if you have questions!