How to support proper digestion
Support your Gut
This article provides the list of some of the most common issues that a lot of people face and suggests the order at which one should follow to get relief on some the symptoms. The practises at the top of the list we consider good practises independent of the diet you are following and you would benefit significantly if you are not doing them already.
Main areas Covered
How to support your gut and overall health
Review step-by-step with your coach, define actions and proceed only those actions are completed.
Follow short-term diet protocols
Fix your Microbiome
- Too much stress
- High alcohol consumption
- High caffeine
- Too much processed food
Especially when it comes to stress
- Do daily breathing exercises (for example, the box breathing)
- Practice meditation or mindfulness-based techniques (proven to reduce stress when practiced regularly).
- Exercise daily (walking and light gym workout).
- Acupuncture and/or visit a charopractor
Do daily fasting
The effects of fasting on intestinal function have been extensively studied and is one the key practises that one should include in his/her life.
Practicing intermittent fasting produces long-lasting positive effects on the gut microbiota, reducing inflammation and improving condition of the gut lining. Many people who practice fasting report that it has provided the necessary “rest” for the intestines when there is no food to digest continuously. It is also very likely that the gut’s own repair mechanisms will work more effectively (gut autophagy). Especially in inflammatory bowel diseases, this natural repair process (autophagocytosis) has been observed to be impaired.
By supporting autophagy for example via fasting and intermittent fasting, it is possible to help the gut to recover from the inflammatory condition faster. The process of autophagy has also been found to eliminate harmful microbes through so-called xenophagy.
Try a 16/8 protocol and some longer fasts(3-4 days) twice a year.
Cut down on anti-biotics
ANTIBIOTICS DESTROY NOT ONLY THE PATHOGENIC BACTERIA BUT ALSO BENEFICIAL BACTERIAL STRAINS OF THE INTESTINES.
This needs to be stated both in bold and in capitcal, since a single course of antibiotics (usually taken for 7+ days) can affect as much as 30% of the entire bacterial flora of the intestines and can throw off the bacterial balance from six months up to two years.
Antibiotics can be necessary when a harmful pathogenic bacterium, has entered the intestine. Alongside viruses, these bacteria are also the most common causes of traveler’s diarrhea and intestinal infections. Depending on the individual’s bacterial balance, the liberal use of antibiotics may cause predisposition to diarrhea and various infections, as well as overgrowth of other harmful bacteria. The increased use of antibiotics can also result in an increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria around the world. Avoid them as much as possible.
Remove for example, ibuprofen.
Eating and Cooking Habits
The importance of chewing for nutrient absorption is often insufficiently considered.
Eating slowly and chewing the food thoroughly may create a greater feeling of fullness and increase the absorption of nutrients. Eating slowly can also help with weight management—slower eaters gain less weight and eat less at once than fast eaters. Try to eat with friends and family as often as possible and eat for 15-20 minutes
- Chew slowly,
- Don’t eat when stressed. You simply can’t digest your food
- Spend at least 20 minutes eating
- Avoid drinking liquids during meals (dilutes stomach acids)
- Don’t eat alone – social eating improves food digestion and overall well-being
Additionally you should always prepare your food properly using one of the below methods
- Slow cooking, Boiling, Stewing, Steaming your veggies, Oven-baking slowly, Sous-vide, Ferment your foods
- Avoid frying
- When cooking steaks don’t burn them
- Don’t over cook your food. You are destroying it
Cut Down on Dairy
Milk sold in the store (homogenized and pasteurized) is the cause of more and more intestinal problems worldwide.
Many people get stomach swelling, flatulence, diarrhea, stomach pains, and skin symptoms after drinking milk.
Increased airway mucus production and susceptibility to sinusitis are also common.
For some individuals, giving up milk entirely may help in the recovery from chronic sinus infection. The inflammatory cycle is particularly common in people who unknowingly suffer from milk hypersensitivity. This is particularly the case in A1 milk via the β-casomorphin-7 peptide of which there is plenty in milk and dairy products.
Abundant milk intake increases silent inflammation and oxidative stress in the body. This means that the body is more easily affected by various diseases.
The qualities of milk products vary depending on the cattle breed of origin. Often the terms A1 milk and A2 milk are used. The distinction is made according to differences in milk proteins between cattle breeds. A2 milk produced by indigenous cattle breeds cause significantly fewer health problems. Conversely, A1 milk proteins are associated with heart disease and intestinal inflammation.
Milk-induced intestinal symptoms can be caused by A1-milk beta-casein. In this situation, choosing lactose-free milk alone does not help much, even if lactose intolerance has been established. A1 milk proteins also lead to looser stools and delayed stool passage (constipation). In addition, digestive discomfort is correlated with inflammatory markers in humans for A1 but not A2.
Heal your gut-lining (Leaky Gut)
To address a leaky-gut you need to
- Remove all foods that are contributing to making the epithelial junctions less tight
- Add foods that help heal the gut and make those junctions tight again
- Processed oils and sugars
- All grain products (note: also gluten-free grains!)
- Dairy products (including sheep’s and goat’s milk)
- All legumes such as beans, lentils, peas, soy products, and peanuts
- All nightshades such as potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, etc.
- Seeds (and seed-based spices) and Nuts
- Foods that cause allergies and hypersensitivity, if already known
- Caffeine and other stimulants such as cocoa, green tea, matcha
Try this for a timrframe of 4-6 weeks and re-evaluate
At the same time add to your diet
- Saturated fat
Food hypersensitivity may also be caused by histamine present in the food (chocolate, red wine, tuna, or fermented ingredients such as cheese).
In some cases, food (for example tomato or pineapple) may release histamine in the body. This is referred to as histamine intolerance syndrome (HIS).
Individuals with HIS typically have a low level of diamine oxidase, (DAO) an enzyme that metabolizes histamine in the system.
This is due, among other things, to genetic factors and mutations in the DAO gene.
Typically histamine increases the heart rate and causes nasal congestion and flushing.
Histamine may also cause intestinal symptoms such as diarrhea and abdominal pain as well as neurological symptoms such as dizziness and headaches. Intense histamine reactions may be prevented with antihistamines or enzyme preparations containing diamine oxidase.
A person sensitive to histamine may get very severe symptoms, for example, at a dinner containing alcoholic beverages, aged cheeses, and pizza (tomato, cheese, processed meat, yeast). If you suspect that you are sensitive to histamine, try reducing the amount of histamine-containing and releasing foods. Consider removing
- Wine, alcoholic cider, beer, and other fermented alcoholic drinks
- Fermented foods (sauerkraut, wine vinegar, soy sauce, kefir, yogurt, kombucha)
- Aged cheeses
- Processed meat products (sausage, ham, salami, bacon)
- Smoked animal products
- Dried fruit
- Nuts (walnut, cashew, peanut)
- Products made from wheat
- Eggplant, spinach, and tomato
Follow the Fodmap diet
FODMAP is short for Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and Polyols. According to recent studies, the most effective treatment for IBS is the restriction of FODMAP carbohydrates. About 70% of IBS patients experience significant symptom relief through FODMAP restriction and not only.
There are carbohydrates which are fermented by bacteria living in the colon. The end products of fermentation are short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), which have remarkable health promoting effects.
The issue however is that the fermentation process also produces lots of gas and water, which can cause straining and bloating, eventually leading to pain in the gut. The recommendation is to reduce daily intake of FODMAPs from the diet to less than 10 grams. FODMAP restriction comes quite easily with very low carbohydrate diets (< 20 net grams / day), where automatically many of the FODMAP carbohydrates are excluded from the diet.
There are many foods belonging to the FODMAP group, but already restricting a few groups in particular can produce significant results.
Try to limit/eliminate cereals (fructans, raffinose), legumes (galactans, raffinose), and dairy products (lactose). This can help in completely addressing any symptoms.
If on the other hand this does not help, remove all fructancontaining foods from your diet (such as kales and onions) and reduce polyol foods (sweeteners, apples, avocados, mushrooms, etc.). Some probiotic preparations may also contain added FOS (fructo-oligosaccharides) as a growth substrate for good bacteria; however, many people with IBS may develop symptoms because of this. Inulin has also been added to many probiotics, which can cause bloating.
- Remove cereals and legumes completely from the diet.
- Avoid lactose (preferably avoid all cow’s milk products at least in the beginning).
- Avoid kale and onions.
- Avoid sweeteners (xylitol, sorbitol, maltitol and mannitol).
- Avoid products with added fiber (inulin, FOS and other oligosaccharides)
- If you still have symptoms, reduce the following foods further: apples, pears, cherries, asparagus, plums, mushrooms, watermelon, artichokes.
- Drink enough water
- Use Probiotics (strains of Bifidobacterium (Bifidobacterium infantis, in particular)). Certain Lactobacillus strains, together with Bifidobacterium strains, are also effective (for example, Vivomixx Probiotic)
- Add psyllium fiber (soluble fiber)
Follow the Carnivore diet
Many people follow the carnivore diet and have found relief from many issues, since it is essentially the ultimate elimination diet. Read more about this below
Fix your microbiome
Kept as last step in this protocol since it we are still learning about the microbiome and there is no way one can say in a definite way how to fix the microbiome.
- Increase fermentable fibers, i.e. prebioticts. For example inulin, pectin, and oligofructose (Note: do not use if you suffer from IBS)
- Other soluble fibers such as psyllium, acasia fiber, apple pectin, and sensitive oat fiber as well as nutritional fiber in fruit, berries, vegetables, nuts & seeds, etc.)
- Fermented foods
- Eating a wide variety of vegetables and wild plants
- Resistant starch, found refrigerated rice and potatoes
- Polyphenols (such as berries and colorful vegetables)
- Dark chocolate (contains polyphenols and fermentable fibers)
- Long-chain omega-3 fatty aids (EPA and DHA)
- Probiotics (certain bacterial strains)