7 Foods to clean up your digestive system
Did you know that your energy levels are tied to the health of your gastrointestinal tract, and if you’re frequently tired or feel bloated, you may want to get your gut in shape. Your gut is an intricate system, which consists of key players from your immune and digestive systems. About 70% of the cells that make up our immune system are in the wall of our gut. Yet a sluggish digestion, poor diet, stress, environmental toxins and food toxins can really take it’s toll, depleting our healthy supply of beneficial enzymes and bacteria. This allows disease to take hold beginning with yeast strains.
So how do you know if you have unhealthy digestion? Well, here are the signs:
- Acid reflux
- Throat and nose issues (clearing throat, runny nose, etc.)
- Inflammation anywhere in the body
- Skin disorders anywhere on the body
- Negative reactions to food
- Loose stools or constipation
According to Dr. Alejandro Junger, the “Father of Detox,” if you don’t have a “clean gut,” it will reveal itself on your skin through certain signs of toxicity. Does it appear dry or puffy? Look at your cheek and pull at your skin. Does it bounce back? If not, that may be a sign of inflammation. Additionally, redness and discoloration anywhere on the face is evidence of inflammation. With inflammation comes energy drain and digestive dysfunction.
That’s when it’s time to clean up your act! Eat gut-cleansing foods that will help flush the colon of any toxic build-up, improve digestive function and re-energize you. Here are 7 ways to help clean up your
1. Dark, Leafy Greens
These fibrous and bright plants are great for sweeping clean the gut. They are also full of minerals and antioxidants that can help our body protect itself from the toxins we get exposed to. Keep in mind that if you have a lot of digestive issues it might be best to eat cooked vegetables, as these are easier to digest. Try simple soups, sautéing your greens or steaming them. Always add some healthy fat (butter, olive oil or avocado) and acid (lemon juice or vinegar) to support proper absorption of the vitamins in the greens.
2. Chia Seeds
These tiny power seeds are the perfect gut cleansers. When soaked in water for a few minutes they plump up and turn into a jello-like substance. They help flush out the stomach and especially great for those prone to constipation. They also contain anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids which your body will thank you for! You can simply add a spoon of chia seeds to a glass of water and drink it down, or make a pudding using nut milk and some cacao, or add it to your smoothies, morning porridge or sprinkle them on salads!
3. Psyllium Husk
This is another powerful seed with serious cleansing potential! It’s a very potent and as with chia plumps up in water and turns into a gelatinous soup. Because it’s so powerful I always recommend people start very easy with a low dose and see how their body reacts. And make sure to drink plenty of water to support the gut cleansing.
There are lots of herbal supplements on the market that can be used to support a gut cleanse, but there are also great ‘everyday’ herbs you can add to your food that will help support cleansing of the gut. Try fennel seeds, which aid in elimination of mucus buildup and relieves gas. Peppermint is soothing for any digestive upset and helps alleviate bloating. Oregano has both anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. If you suspect you may have an overgrowth of yeast or fungus (a common issue!) it’s important to address it by including some herbs to your gut-cleansing plan.
Cayenne does more than just adding some heat to your meals. It’s a mucous dissolver and help loosen any mucous build up in the body. The stomach uses mucous and stomach acid to boost and ease digestions and cayenne may even fight symptoms of indigestion. It’s not a coincidence that’s it’s one of the three things you’re allowed to consume on the intense (and ludicrous!?!) Master Cleanse.
Did you know that we are in fact more microbe than we are cells? Our gut contains 100 trillion microorganisms and these little guys play a crucial role in digestive function, protection against infections, nutrient absorption and immune function. Wow! Prebiotics are indigestible fibers that these microbes feed on. Try leeks, onion, garlic, apples, almonds, bananas, sweet potatoes and yams.
Probiotic foods are fermented foods that contain beneficial bacteria. They tend to have a slightly (or intense) sour taste and are also known for helping to curb cravings! Try sauerkraut, kimchi, natural yogurt and kefir! These foods help populate the gut with more good bacteria, giving our gut a stronger fighting power and ability to function well. It’s also a good idea to take a probiotic supplement. Switch up the brand (and strains of bacteria) from time to time to give your body a variety of bacteria.