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Happy Tummy: Understanding and Treating a Leaky Gut
Today’s busy lifestyle is really stressful and bad for your gut, because the entire digestive system can be affected by processed foods, medications, alcohol, stress and bacteria. These are digestive irritants causing inflammation of the intestinal tract and a lot of pinprick-style leaks in a very delicate and thin lining of the intestines. Undigested food particles, toxins and bacteria can leak to the bloodstream that leads to a potentially out-sized immune response. Severely damaged intestinal lining causes substances to regularly leak which can cause bigger problems. Allergies, acne, asthma, arthritis and autism are just some of the conditions associated with a leaky syndrome. Symptoms of leaky gut include fatigue, respiratory issues, joint pain, rashes, and autoimmune responses like psoriasis.
Rather than taking medicines to suppress symptoms of a leaky gut, the primary objective of treatment is the identification and removal of the source of the irritation intestinal linings. The things you can do to identify and remove the intestinal irritants that cause intestinal inflammation are starting an elimination diet, keeping a food journal, limiting use of NSAIDs and alcohol, and ruling out infections. Remove digestive irritants such as dairy, sugar, soy, gluten and chemical additives found in processed foods. Digestive irritants should be eliminated for at least two weeks, and are gradually reintroduced taking note its effects. If you feel gassy, bloated or fatigued after eating a specific food, add and write it to your elimination list so you are able to monitor the foods you need to avoid. Your gut tells you what foods you’re sensitive to, all you have to do is listen. Limit the use of alcohol and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs and alcohol because it inhibits the production of prostaglandins needed for rebuilding the lining of the intestines, while alcohol tires the liver and steals the nutrients from your gut. Leaky gut can be caused by parasites and pathogenic microorganisms that live in the warm and mucosal environment of your digestive system.
You need to consume foods with high fiber such as berries, vegetables, nuts, legumes, seeds, and whole-kernel grains for elimination of toxic waste materials quickly and efficiently. You may also consume food supplements such as flaxseed, chia seeds, psyllium seeds, or oat bran. Taking enzyme supplements before eating gives your gastrointestinal tract a jump-start for good digestion, so food are easier to break down and nutrients are easier to assimilate. Supplementing your diet with glutamine fuels the small intestinal lining to support digestion and immunity. Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce inflammation and rebuild the wall of the digestive system, so you can consume avocado, seeds, nuts, cold-water fish and purslane. If you have a leaky gut, avoid foods for upset stomach, and consume foods that are helpful in achieving a digestive system.
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