More and more people have been calling me lately to tell me how foggy and fatigued they are feeling. They are gaining weight, feeling sluggish, and feeling discombobulated by the lack of routine during the quarantine. Many are chalking it up to feeling isolated and depressed due to the pandemic.
Of course, isolation and lack of a normal routine can have huge influences on your health and other more root cause gut issues can play a role too. Many times the symptoms are masked with medications and the root causes are never addressed. Let’s talk a little bit about how things can fall apart in the gut and what we can do about it.
Leaky Gut Syndrome and Cellular Inflammation
Leaky gut syndrome, also known as “intestinal permeability,” happens when the lining of the small intestine becomes damaged, allowing undigested food particles, toxic waste products, and bacteria to “leak” through the intestines and into the bloodstream. Sounds gross, huh? It is gross, and a leaky gut can also lead to major health issues.
Cellular inflammation is caused by an imbalance in the ratio of two crucial fatty acids in the blood. When our cells are inflamed, hormonal signaling at the cellular levels is thrown out of whack. This leads to increased fat accumulation, acceleration of the development of the chronic disease, and decreased overall vitality. It’s not something we can feel, but it can be detected by blood or urine testing.
Why Gut Health Matters & The Dangers of Inflammation
I’ve been talking a lot about gut health lately in light of COVID-19 because the gut is actually home to your immune system! It houses more immune cells than anywhere else in the body. We want our gut lining to having tight junctions that help to keep our immune system strong and fight off any “bad bugs” that we encounter, like the coronavirus. So you see why gut health is more important than you may have even realized!
Inflammation can be a lifesaver. It’s our body’s rallying cry to defend itself. But chronic inflammation can have dire consequences for our health.
As scientists delve deeper into the fundamental causes of those and other illnesses, they are starting to see links to an age-old immunological defense mechanism called inflammation — the same biological process that turns the tissue around a splinter red and causes swelling in an injured toe. Most of the time, inflammation…enables our bodies to fend off various disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and parasites…The instant any of these potentially deadly microbes slips into the body, inflammation marshals a defensive attack that lays waste to both the invader and any tissue it may have infected. Then just as quickly, the process subsides and healing begins. Every once in awhile, however, the whole feverish production doesn’t shut down on cue…Inflammation becomes chronic rather than transitory. When that occurs, the body turns on itself with aftereffects that seem to underlie a wide variety of diseases. (Source)
How to Heal
The good news is that we can choose to make significant diet and lifestyle modifications so our bodies can start to heal. I know that making lifestyle changes can be difficult, but honestly, that’s the difference between those that heal and those that don’t heal. And right now is the perfect time to start investing in your health!
It takes willpower, but it’s not too complicated. Removing carbohydrates, sugars, and any known allergens from our daily diet is key. By eating good fats, grass-fed protein, consuming smaller meals, and chewing our food thoroughly, we can reduce inflammation and also speed up the healing process.
Here are a few healing foods that can make a big difference for your gut health. As always, not every one of these will be appropriate for everyone, so pay attention to how your body responds to these foods.
- Grass-fed butter, ghee, or butter oil
- Naturally fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles (without sugar)
- Bone broth (from grass-fed animal bones)
- Cultured whey water
- Fermented cod liver oil
- Prebiotic foods 38 (promote the growth of good gut bacteria) like dandelion greens, chicory root, jicama, Jerusalem artichoke, garlic, onion, and leeks. I talk more about prebiotic (and probiotic!) foods in my Crash Course Guide to Your Gut Health.
My Top Tip For Changing the Way You Eat
A diet doesn’t mean deprivation. We are talking about changing what we eat to add in healthy fats and other important nutrients for reducing inflammation and healing the gut.
Don’t Be Afraid of Healthy Fats in Your Diet
It’s been drilled into us that fats are bad for our body, but in some instances, that couldn’t be further from the truth! There are several types of fats, and some even help to fight inflammation.
I love to add chia seeds to my homemade kombucha drinks. Chia seeds help reduce the inflammation in the lymphatic system and bloodstream. Sprinkle chia seeds or flax seeds on your salads or side dishes. Both of these types of seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory properties. Some people call chia seeds the perfect food because they contain protein, omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals in the proper proportions.
One of my favorite snacks is avocado slices with a sprinkle of Premier Research Pink Salt. Avocados contain antioxidants to eliminate dangerous free radicals from your cells while unsaturated fat helps to reduce cholesterol levels. Try adding avocado to sandwiches and salads!
Popeye was definitely onto something when he popularized spinach! Spinach is a dark leafy green vegetable that contains high levels of vitamin K that can reduce the inflammation in the bloodstream. Spinach is also beneficial for macular degeneration and eyesight, strengthening the bones and muscles, maintaining blood pressure, and boosting metabolism.
In order to be healthy, we need to remove the offending sources of leaky gut and cellular inflammation by consuming healing foods, detoxing, fasting, and taking high-quality supplements. Our bodies can then heal themselves, and other chronic conditions will become better as well. And our energy levels will improve! No more fogginess and fatigue.
Stay tuned for more about gut health and how it relates to energy levels and weight loss resistance. I’ve got some leading-edge info planned for you in our upcoming newsletters.
How have you been doing with your diet and lifestyle during this challenging time? What are your biggest challenges right now?
Go ahead and leave a comment and let me know. I’m happy to answer your questions and offer up some suggestions in the coming weeks. Until next time, stay happy and strong!