Whole 30: Day 22 – Caring for Your Gut & Digestive Health

Proper digestion is more important to health than we give it credit for.

When it comes to our immune system, 60 to 80% of our immune function is located within our guts. This means that if our guts and our digestion are in proper balance, our immune system has more of a chance of functioning properly and protecting us from illness, bad bacteria, diseases and so forth.

Yet, the opposite is also true – if our gut and digestive system are out of balance and unhealthy, our immune system will direct most of its efforts towards trying to heal this imbalance, consequently taking our immune system away from fighting off other diseases and illnesses that may plague our bodies.

Digestion is a dear and important topic to me. Before transitioning to real, whole foods, I constantly had gas and other digestive issues. It wasn’t until I did my first Whole 30 and started to transition into eating more whole foods that I noticed how I didn’t have gas or those other digestive issues as often, or even at all. It wasn’t until eating real foods that I realized how processed foods, stress, my chewing patterns, and even the conditions I ate under affected my digestion either for the worse or better.

Don’t get me wrong, my digestion isn’t always perfect. Even while doing Whole 30 this go around, I’ve had some issues but I’ve just come to learn that my body is smarter than my mind at times and because it’s now used to certain foods and drinks, the minute I eat anything that is processed, refined, or may have certain bacteria in it, my stomach goes into fight mode! The goal isn’t perfect digestion, but  to try to work towards having optimal digestion as much and as often as you can. Our gut is important, so let’s take care of it.

Below is some very useful information form Diane Sanfilippo’s  “Troubleshooting Your Digestive Issues” guides (Part 1 to Part 4) on signs and symptoms that you may indicate you have digestive issues, as well as some potential causes of these issues. Take a read as well as the links below to learn more on how to have optimal digestive health:

Signs and Symptoms

  • Heartburn
  • Frequent burping/belching
  • Indigestion
  • Feeling of fullness after meals
  • Frequent upset stomach
  • Gas after meals
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

Potential Causes of Disruptive Digestion

  • Low stomach acid
  • Stress
  • Food Intolerance/Sensitivities (you may have autoimmune conditions and be sensitive to Nightshade vegetables or FODMAPs)
  • Improper biliary function
  • Fiber (too little or too much)
  • Medications
  • Leaky Gut
  • Dysbiosis/Candida (an imbalance of unfriendly microorganisms in your digestive tract)
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Sugary and starchy foods (feeding potential dysbiosis/candida/SIBO)
  • Potential causes of constipation: all of the above and 1) dehydration, 2) waiting too long to go, 3) mineral deficiencies such as magnesium, 4) under-active thyroid, etc.
  • Potential causes of diarrhea: all of the above for disruptive digestion and 1) contaminated food or water, 2) infections, 3) excess magnesium or vitamin c, etc.

Hope is not lost! You can improve your digestion through eating real foods, cutting out processed and refined foods and drinks, and some of the other tips below:

Tips to improve overall digestion:

  • Get in a relaxed state before eating
  • Support appropriate stomach acid (helps to break down the food – try lemon/apple cider vinegar in your water, sauerkraut, or other probiotics)
  • Support biliary function (bile made by your liver and stored and released by your gallbladder, helps to digest fat). Add beets, radishes, leeks, or asparagus, coconut and palm oil to help in this process.
  • Support your pancreas (which releases digestive juices to aid in process, consider digestive enzymes)
  • Proper hydration (water, herbal teas, etc.)
  • Reduce stress (trust me, this wreaks havoc on your body and gut more than you ever thought)
  • Consume organic, mineral rich bone broth
  • Probiotics (probiotics replenish the good bacteria in our bodies, while antibiotics kill the bad bacteria. Fermented veggies such as cabbage, carrots, etc provide probiotics, as well as drinks such as Kambucha. Also consider probiotics in the pill form)
  • Avoid alcohol (promotes leaky gut)
  • Digestive blend of essential oils and other single essential oils
  • Apple Cider Vinegar (I take this in a glass of water every morning)

Tips to improve diarrhea:

  • Consume enough fat
  • Identify potential food triggers
  • Hydration
  • Magnesium and Vitamin C supplements
  • Digestive blend of essential oils and other single essential oils

Tips to improve constipation:

  • Consume enough fat (bile and fat help remove toxins from the body, not eating enough fat slows down this process)
  • Go to the bathroom when your body is telling you to (waiting too long can cause toxins and hormones to be reabsorbed by the body)
  • Movement (low intensity exercise such as walking and yoga)
  • Epsom salt baths
  • Magnesium (Natural Calm is a really great brand – mix with warm water before bed, start with a very small dosage)
  • Fiber (too much fiber may be the problem as well, during constipation try more cooked veggies instead of big raw salads)
  • Digestive blend of essential oils and other single essential oils

All of this information may be overwhelming, so don’t try to apply it all right away. Take one recommendation from above and in the below links, and apply it to your life. Experiment and see what foods and ideas work best for your body. Everyone’s body is different, so what works for you may not work for me, and vice versa. The key is to simply take action each day and make a positive change in your health 🙂

Links:

  1. Troubleshooting Your Digestive Issues: Part 1 – Signs and Symptoms
  2. Troubleshooting Your Digestive Issues: Part 2 – How to Improve Digestion
  3. Troubleshooting Your Digestive Issues: Part 3 – Recommendations for Constipation and Diarrhea
  4. Troubleshooting Your Digestive Issues: Part 3 – Tips for Common Digestive Issues in Pregnancy

P.S. Want to try some of my 5 of my favorite Whole30 Recipes? Grab your own copy >>HERE<<.

By Brianna Wilkerson

I'm Brianna Wilkerson and I'm a Holistic Health and Life Coach with my business, Made Well. I'm passionate about seeing others made well in all areas of their lives! I'm also an avid essential oils lover and am passionate about others learning how they can be natural solutions for their lives as well. I'm excited to serve you on your holistic health journey through Made Well! P.S. If you're interested in receiving support and accountability in your health, business and purpose journey, be sure to check out the different support groups and services I offer -->http://bit.ly/work-with-me-made-well

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want to {Cleanse and Detox Naturally } this New Year?