Have you ever noticed that when you are under a lot of stress, you can actually feel it in your gut? You sometimes wake up and you can instantly feel a churning in your stomach, and then your bowel habits start to go a little wacky and only get wackier the longer your stress lasts? Maybe you have noticed that you don't seem to be digesting your food properly and end up with gas, bloating and indigestion more often than not. And even worse, perhaps you are struggling to fall asleep because of the dreaded HEARTBURN!!!
This is what stress does to your gut! And when you gut is suffering, you are also going to struggle to lose weight.....because your metabolism, blood-sugar levels and energy levels are all going to suffer too!
Hey! I've been there! Too many times than I want to count!
But it is soooo important to notice the signs of distress in your digestive system early on so you can avoid a very uncomfortable and unhealthy condition called "leaky gut syndrome". Perhaps you already are suffering from this syndrome and don't even realise it? If so, you will be happy to know you CAN reverse this condition! Simply by giving your digestive system a little TLC so it can heal and become stronger in the face of stressful situations.
"Leaky gut" is becoming increasingly common in this stressful world we live in. It has been linked to allergies, food intolerances, inability to lose weight, low energy, joint pain, and even some autoimmune and chronic inflammatory diseases such as Crohn's, Colitis, Celiac Disease, IBS, and Multiple Sclerosis.
But what exactly is leaky gut? And how does it start?
Simply put, your “gut” is your intestinal tract which is a part of your digestive system. Your intestinal tract is made up of living cells and ideally a healthy balance of good bacteria and aids in the breakdown of the food you eat. It is also responsible for absorbing the nutrients from your food into your bloodstream. Once in your bloodstream, these nutrients are then delivered to the liver and to all other important organs within the body to be used as fuel.
So it makes sense that the quality of your nutrients must be stellar if they are expected to fuel your body processes right? But what is just as important if not more so, is how well these good quality nutrients are ABSORBED into the bloodstream. This is where the health of the gut comes in.
If your intestinal tract is healthy and strong, it will easily know what is allowed into the bloodstream and what is foreign to the body and needs to be prevented from entering the bloodstream. Anything that is prevented from the bloodstream will then move onto the large intestine where it leaves the body in your bowel movements. Typical things the small intestine should not allow into the bloodstream include anything that resembles a toxin. Simply put a toxin is something that isn't naturally required by the body to function but instead could be deemed harmful and pose a threat to our health (bad bacteria, viruses, chemicals, etc.)
Now did you know that approximately 75% of our immune system resides in our gut? This means that a healthy gut equals a healthy immune system. And a healthy immune system will act as an impenetrable defense to any type of foreign invaders and will block them from getting into our bloodstream. Only healthy, fully digested nutrients in their most absorbable, useable form will be allowed through to the rest of the body.
So how does this process go wrong?
When the intestinal tract begins to spring leaks!
The gut can become leaky if the cells get irritated and damaged over time. And the more damaged they get, the more they stretch and the intestinal wall then loses it's defensive strength.
What causes this irritation and damage to the intestinal wall?
Well it can be a number of diet and lifestyle factors.
Too much sugar, alcohol or foods that you know you are either allergic or intolerant to will irritate and damage the gut lining. Also, foods that are not fully digested down into their smaller, more absorbable form bombard the gut lining over and over causing big holes which they are now allowed to sneak through into the bloodstream. The problem with this is, food that is not broken down completely will look very similar to a foreign invader like a virus. Plus, you are not getting the benefit of the nutrients in that undigested food which could lead to even more health issues including malnutrition.
And what happens when the immune system in your gut sees a virus or another foreign invader? It flares up causing inflammation and attacks the foreign invader in an attempt to trap and kill it. On occasion, this is a good thing because our immune system is doing it's job when a true invader like a virus or bacteria tries to get in. But when the immune system is constantly flaring up unnecessarily our uncomfortable symptoms become chronic and long-term conditions develop such as food allergies and autoimmune conditions.
Lifestyle factors such as stress, lack of sleep, infections, and some medications can also wreak havoc with the health of the gut over time because they all hinder an effective and efficient digestion. When food is continuously left only partially digested to ferment in the gut, bad bacteria levels rise and can lead to the growth of yeast organisms. Yeast and bad bacteria will attack the gut lining causing even more leaks to appear.
The first typical symptoms of an unhealthy, inflamed digestive system include abdominal pain, bloating, gas, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, constipation or diarrhea. Not to mention that if foods, even healthy foods, aren't properly digested, their nutrients aren't properly absorbed. Poor absorption can lead to lack of essential vitamins and minerals for the optimal health of every cell in your body.
Some of the early symptoms of gut distress can show up on the skin in the form of acne, dry skin, itchiness, rashes, eczema, and hives. Even rosacea and psoriasis have been linked to leaky gut syndrome because of their autoimmune response.
And unfortunately, it doesn't end there :(
Mental symptoms such as brain fog, fatigue, headaches, insomnia and mood swings have also been linked to a leaky gut and even more serious conditions such as heart disease and stroke are a risk if a leaky gut is left for far too long.
So what is the first step in healing your gut?
You need to switch your focus from foods that typically promote inflammation (acidifying foods) and start eating more soothing, healing foods (alkalising foods).
You also want to focus on nutritious foods that contain fibre (cruciferous vegetables), fermented foods that contain high levels of friendly bacteria and foods high in essential fatty acids. Foods high in Vitamin D are also highly recommended although you may want to ensure you get plenty of time in the sun (without burning!) as this is the best way for the body to manufacture adequate levels of Vitamin D.
If you are struggling with poor digestive health and are looking for an in-depth, step-by-step coaching programme to help you heal your gut so you can balance your hormones, strengthen your immunity and manage your weight, then you are in LUCK!
Enrolment into The Gut Recovery Programme is currently 30% off until 11:59pm on Friday 8th November 2019! That means you can get started right away on this cutting edge programme for as little as only £97!
Ready to find out if you meet the criteria for the programme? Click the image below and book your free 45-minute clarity call today!
So in summary....
Leaky gut takes hold when your intestinal lining gets damaged due to too much sugar, alcohol and inflammatory foods and can also be down to chronic stress, which leads to incomplete, sluggish digestion, and too much bad bacteria outweigh your friendly bacteria.
There are many symptoms of leaky gut; some may seem minor and tolerable. But it is SO IMPORTANT that you don't ignore these symptoms otherwise you are putting yourself at risk for the more worrisome health conditions further down the road.
A perfect way to get all the right foods into your body is to make your own batch of healthy chicken broth. Check out my recipe below and add it to soups, stews or even drink a glass or two each week to start healing your gut and your health overall!
Recipe: Homemade Chicken Broth
1 whole chicken, cooked, bones with or without meat
3 carrots, chopped
2 celery, chopped
4 bay leaves
4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Herbs and spices as desired (salt, pepper, paprika, parsley)
2 handfuls spinach
Place chicken bones, and meat if using, into a slow cooker.
Add chopped vegetables, vinegar, and herbs/spices.
Cover with hot water (about 2 litres/8 cups).
Cook for 8 hours on medium or overnight on low setting.
Add spinach 30 minutes before serving (you can choose to leave it in or take out after cooking)
Serve & enjoy!