8 Surprising Foods That Can Heal Your Gut

( - Did you know your gut serves as your second brain? It even produces more of the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin — thought to influence the mood — than your brain does. Your gut is also home to countless good and bad bacteria, which outnumber the cells in your body at a ratio of 10 to one. Maintaining the ideal balance of good and bad bacteria is essential for physical, mental, and emotional health.

The gut doesn’t just digest your food throughout the day. Home to trillions of other microorganisms, like viruses, fungi, and parasites that live inside the organs of your digestive system, the gut plays an important role in various biological processes.

One of the most important roles is the gut microbiome’s role in establishing and developing your immune system, and protecting the gut lining. But too often, we put our gut through the ringer by eating too much processed junk food, taking antibiotics, or experiencing chronic stress. Many health problems can result from poor gut health, like these autoimmune disease symptoms.

“Any dysfunction of the brain is usually connected to what’s going on in the digestive system,” explains Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, a Russian-trained neurologist with a full-time medical practice in the U.K.. “Hippocrates… made a statement that all diseases begin in the gut. The more we learn now with all our modern scientific tools, the more we realize just how correct he was.”

Hippocrates may not have fully understood the science behind his statement, but today, scientists have discovered that, hidden in the walls of the digestive system, a “brain in your gut” is changing medicine’s understanding of how digestion is linked to mood, health, and the way you think.

“Once you heal and seal your gut lining, and once you make your digestive system healthy and working properly again, you’ll be surprised how many various symptoms in your body originated from your digestive system. Most [symptoms] start disappearing, because the health and the disease are usually born inside your digestive system. That’s where they originate from,” McBride explains.

Common symptoms of an unhealthy gut include:

  • Digestive issues like bloating, gas, diarrhea
  • Food allergies or sensitivities
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mood swings, irritability
  • Skin problems like eczema, rosacea
  • Diabetes
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Frequent Infections
  • Poor memory and concentration, ADD or ADHD

But as Hippocrates explained, food is medicine, so with that, here are seven surprising foods to start repairing and protecting your intensely valuable microbiome:

1. Tea

When the gut is out of balance, a common type of yeast called candida albicans can overpopulate and infect the area. Certain toxic byproducts of the yeast and other bacteria begin to break down the intestinal lining, which results in leaky gut syndrome. This can be triggered by a high-sugar diet, antibiotics, and chronic anxiety.

Candida Gut sufferers may experience a white coating on the tongue, extreme fatigue, food sensitivities, and chronic sinus and allergy issues. To get back to health, you’d first need to eliminate any food triggers and turn to a diet that’s low in sugar and high in probiotics. You may also want to take advantage of tea.

Pau d’arco tea is thought to support the spleen while combating candida, while nettle and tulsi teas are also beneficial if your gut imbalance is the result of high cortisol, emotional stress, thyroid issues, or adrenal fatigue. Chamomile, fennel, ginger, marshmallow, or mint teas are great for autoimmune issues stemming from the gut.

2. Avocado

Avocados are chock-full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Just one avocado has 54 percent of your recommended allowance of fiber that will look after your colon. Furthermore, about 25 percent of the fiber in avocado is soluble, while 75% is insoluble.  Soluble fiber is thought to feed the friendly gut bacteria in the intestine, which makes for a happy and healthy microbiome. The fruit is also rich in potassium and magnesium, which prevent constipation by bringing water into the digestive system.

3. Natto

A staple in Japanese culture, natto is made from fermented soybeans that house an extremely powerful probiotic called Bacillus subtilis. This probiotic is rich in vitamin K, which is essential for building and maintaining strong bones. The Department of Public Health even reports that natto contains 100 times more vitamin K2 than cheese! One study also concluded that the Bacillus subtilis in natto may also improve immune function.

4. Apple Cider Vinegar

Raw, organic and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar contains what is called “the mother” of vinegar, giving it a somewhat cloudy appearance. Loaded with raw enzymes and gut-friendly bacteria, ACV promotes health and healing. For instance, it’s chock-full of acetic acid, which boosts digestion’s ability to absorb important vitamins and minerals. It can also inhibit digestive enzymes that break down carbs into sugar, therefore preventing blood sugar from spiking after a meal. Other beneficial ingredients in raw organic ACV include: calcium for strong bones and teeth, potassium for heart, kidney and other organ function, magnesium for heart health, iron for blood health, malic acid to protect you from viruses, bacteria and fungus, and ash, which works to maintain a healthy alkaline state in the body.

5. Bone Broth

The gelatin found in bone broth is a hydrophilic colloid, which attracts and holds liquids like digestive juices, giving it the capability to support proper digestion. Simmering the bones of chicken or beef also helps to heal a leaky gut, since the bones and ligaments release compounds like collagen, glycine and glutamine, which have immune-boosting properties.

6. Coconut Kefir

While you may be aware that milk kefir is beneficial for gut health, this dairy-free version is a great option, too. A fermented version of coconut water and kefir grains, coconut kefir contains some of the exact gut-friendly probiotic strains in typical dairy kefir, just in smaller amounts. It’s been shown to help cleanse the body, enhance digestion of all foods, flatten the belly, enhance mood, balance hormones, boost energy levels, eliminate Candida and so much more.

7. Medicinal Mushrooms

About 100 species of mushrooms are being studied for their health-promoting benefits, and an estimated half dozen have been found to tremendously boost the immune system. The reishi mushroom, for instance, can actually bring your candida index down, making it a beneficial food for anyone battling candida.

Medicinal mushrooms are also potent prebiotics for the microbiome — augmenting the growth of beneficial bacteria such as Acidophilus and Bifidobacterium. Turkey tail mushrooms are another immune booster, balancing the microbiome in favor of these beneficial bacteria to promote better digestion.

8. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is rich in medium chain fatty acids that contain beneficial anti-microbial properties to ease the effect of candida, toxins, bacteria or parasites harming the digestive system. Coconut oil also increases the absorption of nutrients from food, as well as boosts metabolism and energy levels.

Try these eight miraculous foods that support your “second brain.” Incorporate them into your daily diet for a healthier life.

Written by Alexa Erickson
Inspired by balance, Alexa finds that her true inner peace comes from executing a well-rounded lifestyle. An avid yogi, hiker, beach bum, music and art enthusiast, salad aficionado, adventure seeker, animal lover, and professional writer, she is an active individual who loves to express herself through the power of words. See more articles by this author
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