8 Foods to Repair Your Gut that You Should Be Eating
April 23rd, 2018
Your gut health plays a hugely important role in your overall health. It’s why I have all of my patients begin by repairing their gut, particularly anyone with autoimmunity. Fortunately, your gut cells turn over every 48 hours, so by following the 4R approach you can restore your gut health pretty quickly and start seeing your symptoms fade away.
In addition to removing toxic and inflammatory foods, there are certain foods with gut-repairing properties that can be really beneficial in helping to restore your gut lining. My new cookbook, The Autoimmune Solution Cookbook, features recipes that include a number of these gut-friendly foods!
Let’s take a look at some of the best foods that you should be eating to help repair your gut.
1. Bone Broth
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that bone broth is at the top of my list as one of the most important foods to repair your gut. Bone broth contains gelatin and collagen, two superstars for supporting a healthy mucosal lining, proper digestion, and intestinal functioning. Glucosamine in bone broth assists in repairing a leaky gut by combating inflammation and stimulating the growth of new collagen.1
Coconut products of all kinds, including oil, cream, and yogurt, are antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiviral, which makes them extremely helpful when dealing with SIBO, yeast overgrowth (such as Candida), and parasites. Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut aid in nutrient absorption and have been shown to be particularly beneficial for managing gastrointestinal disorders.2 Coconut yogurt comes with the added bonus of probiotics to encourage the growth of good bacteria in your gut.
For a sneak peek of my Coconut Shrimp and other gut-repairing recipes from my cookbook, sign up for my newsletter!
Mint has been used medicinally for thousands of years, since the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans.3 Peppermint, a hybrid of water mint and spearmint, has antispasmodic properties that make it ideal for relieving irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other GI discomfort. The cooling menthol in peppermint relaxes the intestinal tract, reducing the pain, gas, and constipation associated with IBS just as effectively as prescription antispasmodics.4,5
I like to use mint in smoothies and tea for a bright, refreshing, and nutritional burst of flavor!
Fiber is essential for digestive health. Getting enough fiber in your diet helps prevent gut-related maladies, including constipation and diverticulosis.6 Recent studies have also shown the power of dietary fiber to reduce systemic inflammation and support a healthy immune response.7 However, most Americans fall short of the recommended daily amount of fiber intake, which is 25g for woman and 38g for men.8
That’s why raspberries earn a place on my list of the most important foods to repair your gut! A single cup of raspberries contains 8g of fiber–roughly a quarter of your daily fiber needs! Research has found that eating raspberries with a meal improves insulin sensitivity and satiety, and increases the amount of a certain type of good bacteria in your gut that is often depleted by conditions such as IBD.9,10,11
Raspberries make a great addition to smoothies and desserts. You can also try homemade gummy fruit snacks made with raspberry puree and gelatin!
Wild, fatty fish such as salmon are an excellent source of Omega 3s and Vitamin D. Omega 3s reduce inflammation and increase healthy gut bacteria. Research has shown that Omega 3s could play an important role in reversing chronic gut-related illnesses, including metabolic disorder, obesity, and colorectal cancer.12 Meanwhile, low levels of Vitamin D have been associated with IBD and colon cancer. Increasing Vitamin D intake dramatically lowers inflammation and promotes the activity of friendly bacteria in your gut, helping to defend against infections such as Salmonella.13
My cookbook has a number of tasty salmon recipes, including inflammation-fighting Honey-Ginger Glazed Salmon and Roasted Sweet Potato Rounds with Smoked Salmon–my AIP spin on lox and bagels!
Lemon is high in Vitamin C, an antioxidant that suppresses inflammation, boosts the immune system (nearly 80% of which is housed in your gut), and is antimicrobial to support a healthy bacterial balance in your microbiome. Vitamin C also plays a role in the formation of collagen–which, as we know, is necessary for optimal gut barrier function.14
Lemons are naturally detoxifying and help stimulate bile production to aid in digestion.15 Low bile acid is a risk factor for developing gastrointestinal issues such as SIBO.16 Lemons also contain pectin, a type of prebiotic fiber that feeds your good bacteria and decreases the number of bad bacteria in your gut.17 To get the most benefits from lemon, rather than just squeezing out the juice, try blending whole, peeled lemons and stir the puree into your water or throw lemon wedges right into your smoothie!
Also, be sure to check out my recipe for deliciously sweet-tart Lemon Bars!
The humble ginger root is an age-old remedy for digestive complaints. Ginger is known for its ability to ease nausea, and can help relieve symptoms associated with IBS, including stomach cramps, gas, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. It can also prevent heartburn by keeping acid from regurgitating back into the esophagus and killing harmful bacteria linked to acid reflux. What’s more, ginger can help with nutrient absorption, which is often compromised when you are dealing with a gut infection.18
8. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (or “ACV”) is a natural antimicrobial, and can inhibit the growth of a certain type of bacteria that is high in lipopolysaccharides (LPS), endotoxins that increase intestinal permeability and cause leaky gut.19,20 ACV also helps your body create hydrochloric acid (HCL). Contrary to what you might think, people dealing with GI issues such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or acid reflux are actually low in stomach acid.21 Use ACV to naturally increase your body’s level of HCL to aid in digestion and nutrient absorption, as well as support a healthy immune response.22
I use apple cider vinegar in so many different recipes, from cassava tortillas to tangy coleslaw! It makes a great addition to salad dressings and homemade condiments as well.
Repairing your gut is the first essential step of The Myers Way®. Now that you know the perfect gut-repairing foods to add to your diet, you can start on your journey to optimal health and begin living the symptom-free life you deserve!