Gut Healthy Foods & Drinks
Updated: Nov 9, 2018
Welcome back to the final part of the Gut Health series. In this blog post I will be taking an in-depth look at the foods and drinks that are gut healing and healthy; meaning they help repair and restore your microbiome. But before we do, let’s do a brief recap on what you have already learned in the past 2 blog posts.
In the first post, we took the time to break down and define common gut health terminology. The gut is defined as the gastrointestinal tract in its entirety and this is where 80% of your immunity and serotonin levels are created- remember the function of serotonin? It keeps you from becoming depressed or anxious. “Microbiota refers to the trillions (anywhere from 10-100 according to a NIH study defining the microbiome) of microbes living in your gut. The Microbiome refers to the genetic makeup of these microbes, their categories, and the home they live in.” (1)
The second post was all about the gut healthy supplements we suggest; not based on our personal or professional opinions, but on scientific research that supports their efficacy. Supplements such as probiotics and collagen peptides have supporting clinical research and literature that suggests they are vital for not only repairing the microbiome, but for balancing the good to bad bacteria ratio. (2)
Now that we have recapped the last two posts, I would like to educate you on the foods and drinks that you should be taking in to support a healthy and happy gut.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”—Hippocrates
Science and medicine are always changing. It truly is a profession that thrives on a dynamic environment; clinical studies and their suggestions are consistently changing as quickly as we update our social media status. With that being said, this is a brief overview of foods and drinks that seem to have a solid foundation in the repair and replenishment process of the gut.
Pronounced Kom-Bu-Cha This fermented tea has been floating around for the past 2000 years, but has gained recent popularity due to society becoming more aware of their health and wellness. In the beginning stages of fermentation, there lies a SCOBY. SCOBY is an acronym for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast. The SCOBY, also known as the “mother” (shake this up well before you drink it FYI) contains the bacteria and yeast that benefit the body and mind and has made this drink so popular. Kombucha’s many benefits include, but are not limited to, healing of gastrointestinal candida infection, liver detoxification, improved circulation, improved mental clarity, ulcer prevention, and so on. Literally, there are too many benefits of this amazing drink to list them all. We recommend 8-16oz of Kombucha daily to feel the benefits, but build slowly as the gastrointestinal side effects (diarrhea, bloating, fullness etc) might be too much if you take too much too quickly. Brands that we love include GTS, Big Easy, Kevita, and Healthade. You can find all of these brands at your local grocery store or fresh market.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Affectionately known as ACV, apple cider vinegar (in our opinion) is one of the most underutilized “foods” that supports gut health. ACV has both antiviral and anti-yeast/fungal benefits, yet its just starting to get a buzz in the medical community- even though “alternative” or functional medicine has been utilizing it for years. Not only does it aid in heartburn and digestive symptoms associated with reflux, it is considered a “natural” antihistamine. ACV has been proven to reduce the response of histamine to the body, thus lessening allergy related symptoms such as sneezing and itchy/runny nose and eyes. For the best benefits you should purchase organic ACV containing the “mother” (this will be written clearly on the bottle), and the sediments from the mother (which contains the gut friendly antiviral, yeast and fungi) should be clearly visible. (3) ACV is pretty bitter and, when taken all at once, can potentially be harsh on your teeth (its an acid!). Therefore, we recommend diluting 1-2 tablespoons in a minimum of 2oz of water or even in a whole water bottle (16oz) and sipped throughout the day.
An interesting article came across while researching this particular topic: “I Drank Celery Juice For A Month To Heal My Gut. Here’s What Happened.” A contributing columnist for MindBodyGreen.com (if you do not know about this site—educate yourself! You can thank us later!) Fern Olivia came across a book called “Medical Medium” by Anthony William in which she educated herself about the benefits of drinking 16 oz of celery juice daily.
“Celery contains compounds called coumarins, which are known to enhance the activity of white blood cells and support the vascular system. It also helps to purify the bloodstream, aid in digestion, relax the nerves, reduce blood pressure, and clear up skin problems. Celery is rich in vitamin A, magnesium, and iron, which all help to nourish the blood. Celery juice is also rich in organic sodium content, meaning it has the ability to dislodge calcium deposits from the joints and hold them in solution until they can be eliminated safely from the kidneys.” (4)
She put this information to the test and her results became astonishing. Drinking celery juice daily may not be for everyone and there are limitations if you have certain disease processes (renal failure) or take certain medications (ex: coumadin) (5), so this would most definitely need to be brought up to your healthcare provider prior to even starting it. But with that being said, this juice seems to not only help “heal the gut” but affect a multitude of diseases and symptoms- so its too good to not bring to our readers attention!
Bone broth, another “uprising star” in the gut-friendly food community, has gained much notoriety for its major benefits in healing a not-so-happy gut while at the same time detoxifying the liver and improving brain function. Bone broth comes from vertebral animals (long bones, tendons, ligaments etc) and provides many benefits. Not only does it decrease inflammation in the gut lining but helps to restore a “leaky gut” (refer back to the second blog post in defining and explaining leaky gut), aids in regrowth of hair, skin, and nails, helps the digestive process, and decreases inflammation in our joints. Bone broth is truly good for the whole body, inside and out. A brand of collagen powder that we love and use in our own bone broths (which enhances the benefits even more!) is Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides. These accelerate the benefits of bone broth to an even higher level of performance.
Kefir is a fermented drink that can either be produced from a cow or a goat. Containing over 30 different bacteria and yeasts, kefir tends to be a better choice when compared to certain yogurts as this aids in restoring good bacteria after the gut has been repaired from chronic inflammation. The probiotic Lactobacillus kefir, which is specifically unique to Kefir, has bacterial fighting capabilities against Heliobacter Pylori (H pylori)- a bacteria that has been known to cause gastric ulcers and has been linked with certain forms of gastric cancer. Lactobacillus kefiri also decreases the frequency of irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-d). (6)
Sauerkraut & Kimchi
These can be grouped together as they tend to be one in the same. Sauerkraut (a fermented cabbage) and Kimchi (a fermenting Chinese cabbage or radish) go through a process of producing lactic acid bacteria (7). These bacteria, which are considered good and beneficial when it comes to repairing your gut, help to support a strong immune system and alleviate symptoms of bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and all of the other symptoms listed in the previous blog posts on gut health. Did you know……1 cup of sauerkraut can equal to 3 billion CFUs?!?! Remember that term from blog post 2 of this series? Because of this, sauerkraut and kimchi should be on your list of foods to eat after ingestion of antibiotics as it will help rebalance good flora into the microbiome.
To round out this blog post, YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT! Being cognizant of taking these type of food/drinks daily will help ensure that you receiving and restoring the natural balance of good and bad bacteria throughout your gut. And believe it or not, this blog post could have gone onto the length of a thesis paper! But for our reader’s sake we tried to keep it to the “big guns” and give you the the information on what we think is the most important.
We hope that you found this 3 part gut health series educating and informative, but if you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact us via email firstname.lastname@example.org or our various social media pages. Lastly, you can always contact us through our website.
Until next time, continue to Follow Your Gut!