Did you know the way to a happier life is via a healthy gut? That’s because your gut is the gateway to all diseases. We have often heard of the fact that if your gut is not clean, it can create a breeding ground for bacteria overgrowth, imbalances, and much more.
The gut needs to be balanced. When a person is constipated over a period of time or has unsatisfactory bowel movements, it leads to decomposition of the bowel in the colon which leads to a gassy feeling. It also creates a feeling of nausea or reflux, giving rise to headaches and BP fluctuations, in some cases even vomiting or a bout of diarrhoea thereafter.
According to Janvi Chitalia, an integrative gut microbiome health coach and functional nutritionist, and the founder of Body Cocoon (a nutrition and fitness studio), here’s how constipation causes an imbalance in the system. Food lies in the large colon, waiting to be evacuated and while that happens, more food from the day comes into the system, and causes the reabsorption of vitamins and minerals from the large colon. During this time, the toxins also get circulated, causing changes in your mood, triggering anxiety, food sensitivities and hormonal imbalance, migraines, skin disorders and autoimmune diseases.
“Foods that clear the colon not just directly, but which facilitate overall improved gut health are essential to keep the colon happy and healthy,” suggests Chitalia.
She recommends ten foods that help you clear your gut and get a natural colon cleanse:
Foods that are high in magnesium such as nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables are important, as they have a positive impact on calming the nerves of the gut. Often, people with IBS or irritable bowel syndrome have issues because of low magnesium levels. So, getting magnesium through various foods or taking a magnesium supplement would be helpful to keep the colon healthy.
Soluble fibre such as oats and apples are an important part of our diets, as soluble fibre helps to moisten the intestinal lining, thereby helping further with clear motions. It also aids the rate of gut motility that helps the bowels to move satisfactorily, and not cause excess reabsorption of water that leads to pellet-like stool.
The master antioxidant glutathione helps in renewing the cells of the gut. Glutathione helps to reset the cells of the gut lining, namely enterocytes. The gut renews itself every three to five days and the colon can heal itself every few days. Foods high in glutathione are okra, asparagus, avocado and kale. In conditions related to the gut, where reactions on the skin are seen, it is important to consume this antioxidant.
“Bone broth helps to heal the gut. We have often seen that in many cases, a leaky gut is the reason behind imbalance. Bone broth helps to heal the integrity of the gut lining by sealing the small spaces. Organic fish or chicken bone broth is a good option, but it is imperative that the bones are of good quality. Lime and apple cider vinegar can be used to leach out calcium out the bones, to help make a good bone broth. The broth made with spices, herbs also helps to facilitate regular motions and reduces predisposition to autoimmunity,” recommends Ms Chitalia.
Aloe vera is a good anti-fungal source that causes a soothing effect on the lining of the cells and calms the gut. Its strong antioxidant and fungal properties especially help in cases of candida or yeast overgrowth, and should be taken on an empty stomach, about 15 ml in water to help improve digestion. Constipation is again a major symptom in terms of anti-fungal overgrowth.
People with GERD or so-called acid reflux often complain of having a slow rate of digestion or movement of the food from the small to large colon. Ginger is an excellent prokinetic that helps to improve the rate of motility of the stool, regulating transit time.
“Turmeric and pepper help to reduce gut inflammation. Inflammation is the baseline of any issue with the gut, leads to more imbalances and creates an environment for the most pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and yeast to thrive. Turmeric helps as a strong anti-inflammatory compound, and reduces mucus in the colon and stool. So, the lesser the inflammation, the better the gut health. Pepper helps to increase absorption of active compound curcumin from the turmeric. It also helps to reduce gas and bloating, and facilitates good bowel movements,” says Ms Chitalia.
They are beneficial strains in the gut that are essential to maintain balance in the gut and intestine. Any imbalance causes basic gut dysbiosis which can further lead to issues in the health of the gut. Curd, fermented vegetables, homemade pickles, miso, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut are some great options to consume as natural probiotics.
For a clear stomach, consuming healthy fibre is important, which one can get from fruits and incorporating rainbow-coloured vegetables. These foods can add a great deal of polyphenols , bioflavonoids, which helps the gut to reduce inflammation, and also aids in creating a healthy terrain for a balanced gut flora. The fruits also help to move the bowels effectively.
Caprylic acid, present in coconut oil, is an excellent anti-bacterial. When added along with turmeric and pepper, it can help to improve the absorption of curcumin to reduce inflammation. For people who suffer from small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, this may be really helpful, as constipation is one of the main symptoms that show up in case of bacterial overgrowth and excessive bloating.