4 out of 5 Americans have Leaky Gut Syndrome– a largely undiagnosed and dangerous condition which contributes greatly to autoimmune diseases
Fight off illness with delicious food
This article is going to serve as a quick guide to fight off one of our body’s most harmful enemies: a condition called Leaky Gut.
Because we have our own Certified Nutrition Coach here at MAFF (Master Melodee Meyer) – who also happens to be an awesome fitness instructor – oh and the best-selling author of Clean Food Diet, I asked for her to share some of her wisdom in this area on our blog.
In this article, Master Mel will be educating us a bit on the connection between our digestive and immune systems, and then explaining the symptoms, causes, and cures of Leaky Gut (hint: the cure is delicious).
What are we fighting?
Leaky Gut Syndrome has been linked to illnesses such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, food allergies and food intolerances, autism, lupus, narcolepsy, depression, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, obesity, skin issues like eczema and acne, and psoriasis, infertility, type 1 diabetes, headaches, Crohn’s disease, poor immune system, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue and even anxiety.
Yes – that is a huge list! To make matters worse, it is extremely difficult to diagnose Leaky Gut, and most people are busy trying to merely fix the symptoms instead of addressing the root cause.
Your digestion is a huge part of your immune system
Our bodies are designed to defend us from dangerous viruses and bacteria, and we do this through proper digestion and elimination. Yes, you heard that right – your digestive system is a huge part of your immune system! In fact, I would go so far as to say that an unhealthy gut is the root of dis-ease.
Proper digestion and elimination will ensure the absorption of proper nutrients while ridding the body of harmful pathogens, toxins, and antigens.
Unfortunately, there are stats out there that most of the current population does not have a healthy gut. In fact, it is estimated that nearly 80% of Americans have Leaky Gut.
What is a healthy gut?
The gut, which is the gastrointestinal tract, is like a complex food processor. It’s job is to break down food and then either absorb or eliminate it from the body. Along with processing food, the gut has the vital role of being the selective barrier between us and the outside environment.
The cells in the gut’s lining are connected by tight junctions which act as a barrier, deciding what gets through and what gets denied. Basically, the lining of a healthy gut acts as a bouncer that lets in the good stuff like nutrients and water, and keeps out the bad.
What is Leaky Gut?
Although the gut is designed incredibly well, sometimes those tight junctions don’t do their job, and things get in that aren’t supposed to. When this happens, those bad substances crash the party. They leak into the bloodstream and make a mess of the place, which happens to be our body. This is leaky gut.
Leaky gut is a syndrome also known as intestinal permeability. The tight junctions of the intestinal lining are compromised and allow potentially harmful or antigenic compounds into our body, then all of that gross stuff like undigested food particles, toxins, and bacteria can leak through our intestines and into our bloodstream which can cause a great deal of problems such as inflammation and ultimately an autoimmune response.
What causes Leaky Gut?
There are many things that can cause leaky gut, including stress, poor sleeping habits, and non-inflammatory drugs. However, in most cases Leaky Gut is caused by what we eat.
Certain foods cause inflammation and irritation, which not only lead to leaky gut but ultimately lead to autoimmune disease.
Here are some of the main food culprits of leaky gut:
- Gluten (wheat and other grains) can damage your intestinal lining.
- Processed foods and GMOs are high in lectins, which are sugar-binding proteins that attach to the digestive lining, causing inflammation.
- Sugar creates toxins that can eat a hole in your intestinal wall. • The pasteurization of dairy destroys vital enzymes, making lactose hard to digest.
- Legumes contain anti-nutrients and other substances that increase leakage.
- Too much alcohol reduces zinc, which is a critical pro-gut nutrient, along with causing intestinal inflammation.
When we continue to eat these leaky-gut-inducing foods over and over again, an inflammatory sequence persists, and the gut is unable to heal. Therefore, it’s essential to provide the nutrients necessary to help the gut repair itself.
How to heal our gut
Fighting off Leaky Gut is as easy as cutting out the toxic foods and replacing them with the whole foods you’ll find listed in the Clean Food Diet meal plans. This includes fruits, vegetables, pasture-raised meat, seafood, nuts and seeds, and healthy fats.
Removing the processed foods that damage your gut and replacing them with nutrient-dense, healing foods will rejuvenate the lining of the intestinal wall and help your gut get back on track.
Adding probiotics and fermented foods can help, as will moderate exercise, stress management, and plenty of sleep.
Leaky gut is rarely diagnosed, and the symptoms are left to be treated one by one. Or worse, an autoimmune disease ensues and eclipses attention from the original culprit.
Eat clean and help your gut get healthy.