What is "leaky gut?"
The term “leaky gut” is not an official medical diagnosis, but describes well what is happening visually when the intestinal lining becomes more permeable. Throughout our day, there are many environmental toxins, foods and particles that come into contact with our entire digestive tract starting from the mouth. Normally the healthy bowel lining should be strong and well-protected through tight junctions which protect us from keeping the bad guys out (bad bacteria and toxins) while allowing the good guys in (nutrients and minerals). For many people, this important gut lining can become inflamed, damaged and more “leaky” contributing to a host of medical symptoms and conditions.
The symptoms of “leaky gut” can include: bloating, gas, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, rash, and fatigue. It can cause local and widespread inflammation and can increase your risk for autoimmune conditions including Inflammatory Bowel Disease or celiac disease. It can also contribute to mood disorders like anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue, brain fog, and allergies.
There are many factors that play a role in “leaky gut” yet you can have a strong influential impact by lifestyle decisions you make daily. Yes you cannot change your genetic profile, but you do have some role if those genes get turned on or off in a term called “epigenetics.” So let’s focus on what you CAN control. As you begin to incorporate these lifestyle changes, start small, maybe just with one new behavior and continually reassess what suits your own digestive system. There is no one algorithm that works for all, so be patient and compassionate with yourself on your gut healing journey.
- Limit your intake of saturated fats, sugars, processed foods and alcohol to decrease proinflammatory foods in your system
- Increase your fiber intake, eat a rainbow of colored fruits and vegetables to promote diversity in your gut flora and to promote local gut restore and repair signals
- Drink half your body weight in ounces of water, ie: 150 lbs, aim for drinking 75 oz daily
- Aim to get 8 hours of sleep per night to allow for more rest and repair
- Practice gratitude and/or meditation to the produce more calmness in your body
- Move your body in ways to create aliveness and joy and release stress
- Go outside in the morning to get sunlight to generate more dopamine in your body
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