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09 Jun, 2021

The Complete Cleanse: The Lowdown on Gut Health

Fasting is a great way to give the gut and microbes time to rest. Rosemary Ferguson gives us the lowdown on the benefits of fasting and gut health. Rosemary has partnered with us on The Complete Cleanse to create a programme designed to support and strengthen a healthy gut and microbiome.

Health

Fasting is a great way to give the gut and microbes time to rest. 50% of our energy every day is used for breaking down our food therefore that energy goes towards healing our bodies. Fasting enables the body's enzyme system to concentrate on detoxifying and breaking down toxins in the body quickly and efficiently without the job of heavy food digestion. It helps to reset and balance a healthy gut microbiome.

The Complete Cleanse programme has been created to support and strengthen a healthy microbiome and encourage good bacteria. The first four days are designed to nourish and reset the body, it consists of soothing broths, fresh pressed juice and salads, by giving your microbes a rest it will help your microbiome thrive.

Why gut health is the key to better health

The purpose of good gut health and optimal digestion is to turn the food you eat into fuel for your body’s cells. Many people have poor digestion and what happens when we are not efficiently turning the food we eat into fuel? We feel horrible! Fatigued, foggy, bloated, experience flatulence, possible nutritional deficiencies, constipation, diarrhea, reflux, weight gain, brittle nails, dry skin, an inability to lose weight, cravings, low immune function and hormonal imbalances. The list goes on!

Our gut does so much more than just break down food. It’s really important to remember that a healthy gut needs a good balance of healthy bacteria. Your gut holds trillions of bacteria that help process your food, produce nutrients, and fight disease. When the gut is happy, we flourish. Eating and drinking nutrient rich foods, supports this healthy bacteria like no other.

How do I know if I’m living with poor gut health?

  1. Digestive system issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
  2. Seasonal allergies or asthma.
  3. Ongoing hormonal imbalances such as PMS or PCOS.
  4. Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, lupus, psoriasis, or celiac disease.
  5. Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia.
  6. Mood and mind issues such as depression, anxiety, ADD or ADHD.
  7. Skin issues such as acne, rosacea, or eczema.
  8. Diagnosis of candida overgrowth.
  9. Food allergies, food sensitivities or food intolerances.
  10. Poor immune system.
  11. Arthritis or joint pain.

The gut health protocol

If you are suffering from gut issues you are likely to be absorbing insufficient essential nutrients from your food, which your body needs for good health. If the gut is not healed, then long term implications for your health can be very serious. Here are some of my go to’s and some of the big no no’s, also some useful tips that may help you on your journey to healing and caring for your gut.

FOODS TO AVOID

  • Avoid gluten found in wheat, rye, spelt, oats and barley, as it hugely contributes to a leaky gut and triggers bloating. Eating gluten and wheat-free foods should make a big difference.
  • Refined sugars encourage fermentation and growth of unfriendly bacteria in the bowel, so keep refined sugary foods and drinks to an absolute minimum.
  • If you tend to bloat a lot after meals, avoid eating fruit directly after a large protein meal, as fruit likes a quick passage through the gut. If it gets stuck behind proteins, such as meat, the fruit will ferment, which adds to the problem. Alcohol, vinegar and most pickled foods contribute to fermentation.
  • Any foods to which you have intolerance will only aggravate the problem; the most common being wheat, citrus fruits and also cow’s milk and products. Chocolate I’m afraid should be avoided.
  • Melon is particularly bad for a leaky gut – this should only ever be eaten on its own.
  • Generally fruits such as apple, grapes, bananas, pears can cause bloating after a meal keep these fruits to an empty stomach only. Keep a food diary and note when symptoms are worse if you need a little guidance.
  • Avoid heavy, fatty, large meals, which place strain on the digestive system and the liver.
  • Cut down on low fibre foods such as sugary jellies, ice cream, burgers, biscuits, cakes, pies, pastries and so on.


FRIENDLY FOODS

  • Pineapple is rich in enzymes, which improve protein digestion, making it less likely that undigested proteins end up in the bowel. Eat before or in between meals not directly after (for desert).
  • Mango, papaya, pomegranate and berries do not tend to ferment as readily as most other fruits. Eat between meals.
  • Try almond, rice, quinoa or coconut milk as non-dairy alternatives.
  • Beetroots, Jerusalem artichokes, peas, radishes, celeriac and dandelion are all good liver cleansers, which help digestion. Beans, pulses, lentils are all good gut food. They contain inulin, which helps encourage the growth of bifidus within the large bowel. This helps to reduce the load on the liver.
  • Raw sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds, flaxseeds, plus nuts are all rich in fibre.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Organic source chlorella is a great way to detoxify the system. Stir in smoothies or juice, or sprinkle over cereals and fruit salads.
  • Use fresh root ginger in your cooking, which soothes and heals the gut.
  • Green cabbage is rich in the amino acid L-glutamine, which helps heal a leaky gut. Eat more raw or steamed cabbage and use the liquid from cooking to make sauces.
  • Eat plenty of fresh vegetables; and if you eat fruit, eat it between meals or for breakfast.
  • Try quinoa, buckwheat, millet and brown rice.
  • Drink more organic green and white teas, high in anti-oxidants.