Help Heal Your Gut Naturally with These Six Diet Changes

B.S. Dietetics, Dietitian, Health Professional

If you have acid reflux disease, you may also have another common condition that often goes along with it: gastritis.  Gastritis is a group of conditions resulting in inflammation of the stomach lining.  There are many causes of gastritis, including infection, injury, overuse of certain medications, or drinking too much alcohol.  While the cause of gastritis can be multi-faceted, there are some basic nutritional steps you can take to heal the gut naturally.

Remember: these natural steps should be used in conjunction with medications prescribed by your physician for best results.Be sure to let your physician know any natural remedies you are using so they can tailor these tools to your specific needs.

L-glutamine

L-glutamine is an amino acid with huge gut-healing benefits.  This protein building block is a powerhouse for fueling intestinal cells, maintaining a healthy digestive tract and soothing digestive disorders. You can find L-glutamine in beef, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy, parsley, spinach, soy and legumes.  Many naturopathic doctors suggest adding an L-glutamine supplement to your regimen for best results.  Be sure to discuss any use of supplements with your own physician before beginning a new treatment.

Healthy Fats

Healthy fats like nuts, seeds, oily fish and avocado are rich in fatty acids that serve to heal the gut by reducing inflammation.  Coconut oil, a saturated fat,  is also showing promise because it has antimicrobial, antifungal and antiviral properties.  Be sure to buy organic whenever possible for the best results.

Probiotic-Rich Foods

Probiotics are a healthy gut bacteria and they are essential for maintaining a healthy digestive tract.  There are several food sources rich in probiotics, like yogurts with live active cultures, as well as kefir and sauerkraut. You may want to try a probiotic in supplement form while your gut is healing, but be sure to start slowly and work up to the full dose.  Otherwise, you may find yourself with unpleasant side effects like gas and bloating while your gut adjusts to the healthy bacteria.

Bone and Vegetable Broths

Bone broth has been used for centuries for immune functioning, overall health and healing the gut.  Rich in fat-soluble vitamins and gelatin, bone broth is a great addition to your digestive health.  Vegetable broth, which is rich in water-soluble vitamins and antioxidants, can also be very soothing and healing while your gut recovers from gastritis.  Broths are all made in a similar way by boiling the item -- bones or vegetables -- until the nutrients are all released into the water.  The remaining spent vegetables and bone are strained until only the broth remains.

Turmeric

This golden colored spice is like gold for the digestive tract.  Turmeric has been shown to boost immune functioning, aid in good digestion, help with wound healing, and reduce inflammation. It also has antibacterial properties.  Turmeric can be used in curry, sprinkled on roasted cauliflower or added to one of the previously mentioned broths to boost its effects.  Start with a small amount of the spice until you know the quantity you can consume without triggering acid reflux.

Water

Proper hydration is essential to healthy digestive function.  This cannot be stressed enough: if you do everything else and fail to stay properly hydrated, you will not benefit from this gut healing program.  Aim to drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day. For example, a 150 pound woman would need to drink 75 ounces of water per day.

For best results, these tips should all be added to a healthy diet that is rich in organic foods and that limits processed or fast foods.

_Jennifer has a bachelor's degree in dietetics as well as graduate work in public health and nutrition.  She has worked with families dealing with digestive disease, asthma and food allergies for the past 12 years.  Jennifer also serves the Board of Directors for Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association (PAGER). _

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