What is inflammation?
It’s your body’s natural reaction to infection, injury or stress. It’s also a healing reaction when it’s acute. When inflammation becomes chronic, even if it’s low-grade, that’s when it becomes harmful and problematic.
Today I’m focusing on gut inflammation, which more often than not is a chronic occurrence. When you experience chronic gut inflammation, it will suppress your immune system and you become prone to leaky gut syndrome, which in turn makes you vulnerable to much more serious conditions.
Chronic gut inflammation is a really bad thing. It shows up in a variety of ways, and if you have it, you want to take measures to reduce it! Because gut inflammation is caused primarily by diet (also medications and a few other factors), the good news is that it can also be reduced and reversed through diet.
Download my favorite anti-inflammatory recipes for gut health here!
Don’t have time to keep reading? Catch the video replay here.
How do you know if you have inflammation in your gut?
One major, tell-tale sign is if you struggle to lose weight even if you are practicing all of the right health habits: exercising regularly, eating well, staying hydrated and getting plenty of sleep.
You are likely experiencing inflammation in your gut if you are doing all of the things that would normally allow you to lose weight, but for some reason your body isn’t responding the way it should.
Other indicators include:
- chronic fatigue
- mood swings
- unexplainable weight gain or loss
- mood disorders like depression or ADHD
- digestive issues like constipation, diarrhea or gas
- digestive disorders like IBS or heartburn/GERD
- skin problems like acne, eczema or rosacea
Over time, chronic inflammation in the gut will trigger leaky gut syndrome.
What is leaky gut syndrome?
Leaky gut happens when the walls of your intestine become too permeable, allowing undigested food to pass through. This also affects your body’s ability to absorb nutrients.
Leaky gut is the gateway to autoimmune diseases, degenerative diseases and cancer.
If you’re feeling alarmed or concerned that you may experiencing gut inflammation or leaky gut, do not let it scare you! Like I mentioned before, this is something that can be reduced and reversed through diet.
4 major culprits of gut inflammation are:
In case you are unfamiliar, gluten is a protein found in some grains, primarily wheat, that’s very difficult to digest. Gluten weakens the cellular lining of your intestine, making it a major contributor to leaky gut. Beware: gluten lurks everywhere! It’s not only in processed wheat products like bread, crackers, pasta, baked goods, etc., but also in condiments, beauty products and even processed deli meats, where it is used as a binding agent/filler.
Dairy, in its raw, natural form, is actually a very intelligent substance with a plethora of live enzymes and probiotics. Unfortunately, we don’t have access to raw dairy in the United States. The dairy available in the grocery store is highly pasteurized. This means it is heat-treated to kill off any viruses or infections, which also happens to kill off its live nutrients. Another major factor that makes dairy so inflammatory is the heavy load of antibiotics and hormones used to treat cows. Inflammation caused by dairy is highly linked to asthma and skin problems, like acne and eczema. Keep in mind: not all dairy is created equal. I’m referring mostly to milk products, like milk, creamer, ice cream, cheese and even yogurt. Butter, however, is full of healthy fats, nutrient-dense and can reduce inflammation when used in the right context. When buying diary, you always want to buy full-fat (feel free to reach out and ask me why!), organic and grass-fed.
White, refined table sugar is becoming one of America’s greatest killers. It’s just as, if not more, addictive than nicotine. Yes, sugar is an addictive substance! It’s a major contributor to the diabetes and obesity epidemic as well as heart disease. Sugar literally feeds cancer. It may seem obvious that sugar is a harmful substance, but like gluten, sugar lurks everywhere! It’s not just in the sweet foods where you would expect, but also commonly found in store-bought breads, condiments, chips, salad dressing, canned vegetables, “health” drinks and even “sugar-free” foods. Because it’s so addictive, cutting sugar out of your diet may cause you to experience withdrawal symptoms. I recommend making the transition using natural sweeteners, like honey, maple syrup and even fruit.
- Processed foods
Most processed foods contain all of the above. But, there is a spectrum of processed foods, some less harmful than others. At the severely toxic end you will find fast food, frozen microwave meals, pantry foods like Cheetos, Doritos (and the like), Kraft Mac & Cheese, Little Debbie snacks, Oreo cookies, etc., processed deli meats and cheeses and canned foods/condiments/sauces. However, anything that is not in it’s original, whole-food form is considered processed, which leaves room for some less offensive processed foods, like homemade bread, lentil pasta, polenta/grits and the like. Also, just because it says “gluten-free,” it doesn’t mean it’s healthy or less-processed. In fact, many processed gluten-free products are actually more processed than the original, and spike your blood sugar just the same. The truth is, junk is junk. If you’re going to eat processed foods, it’s key to read ingredients labels to ensure you are eating food made from real food and not inundated with chemicals and fillers!
The best way to start your process of reducing gut inflammation is to scale back on your gluten, dairy, sugar and processed food intake.
It may seem scary at first, especially if it’s not what you are used to, but once you experience the energy and vitality that come from eating a whole-food-based diet, you will discover how delicious and exciting it can be! The process in itself is rewarding, as your entire life becomes more vibrant.
As a resource guide to get you started, you can download some of my favorite anti-inflammatory recipes here:
In addition to this, all of the recipes posted on my blog are made from real food, 100% gluten-free, contain little to no dairy and have absolutely no added sugar!
Bonus points: share this with a friend…because heaven knows we all need it!
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