It's amazing the horrible things we put in our bodies--often without knowing it.
Every time you take a sip from a plastic bottle or a metallic can, every bite you take of processed food and junk food. Every time you eat out at a fast food restaurant, every time you apply cosmetics or lotions, and every time you walk down the street, you are exposed to a terrifying array of toxins, chemicals, and pollutants. These dangers are far too small for your eyes to see, but they're there!
The pollution in the air (courtesy of cars, cigarettes, and smoke stacks) and toxins in our cosmetics are nothing compared to the garbage in fast, processed, and junk food. These foods are packed with artificial flavorings, preservatives, emulsifiers, and enhancements. With every bite you take, you pollute your body a little bit more.
Don't let your body suffer because of poor food choices! Take steps to eat the right foods: the natural, healthy, and raw foods that your body needs to function. Most important of all, eat foods that will cleanse the toxins and chemicals from your gut and restore healthy digestion.
If you want to have a properly-functioning digestive system, here are a few gut cleaning foods to include in your diet:
Herbs are so much more than just a delicious addition to your meals! They are also wonderful to help cleanse your gut and promote a healthy internal balance.
Which herbs should you add to your meals?
- Fennel -- Fennel seeds can help to reduce mucus buildup in your gut, and it will promote healthy elimination of wastes. How else does your body get rid of toxins and chemicals? Via your waste material (feces and urine), of course!
- Oregano -- Oregano can kill off both viruses and fungi, along with any harmful bacteria attacking your intestines. To improve digestion and cleanse your gut, eat oregano (meaning pasta sauce!) regularly.
- Peppermint -- Peppermint can help to soothe your stomach and reduce bloating. If you've got digestive problems (like IBS or indigestion), it's a good idea to have a bit of peppermint after your meals.
Add these herbs to your diet, and you'll give your gut the good scrubbing it needs!
What makes yogurt such an awesome option for a healthy gut? Simple: it's all about the bacteria!
Lactobacillus bacteria transforms milk into yogurt, but did you know that it's very similar to the bacteria living in your intestines? These gut bacteria are responsible for breaking down your food, but they also act as your body's first line of defense against viruses, bacteria, fungi, and other pathogens you ingest. Basically, 70 to 80% of your daily immune activity takes place in your gut.
The bacteria in yogurt acts as reinforcements, ensuring that the beneficial bacteria in your gut are able to fight off any harmful pathogens ingested via your food and drink. Yogurt with active cultures is one of the best gut-cleansing foods you can add to your diet!
You know the old saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away"? This is mainly because eating apples help to improve your digestion, thereby ensuring healthy overall body function.
Apples are packed with carbohydrates that provide your body with energy, but they're also rich in dietary fiber. Pectin is an important type of fiber, as it binds with toxins and chemicals and prevents them from being absorbed into your body. The fiber is then shunted along your digestive tract and expelled, eliminating the toxins in the process.
But the benefits don't stop there! Pectin can also strengthen the lining of your intestinal walls, and can help to eliminate built-up waste matter. It's also an effective antitoxin that can combat heavy metals and chemicals.
Bonus: Apple cider vinegar is an amazing gut-cleansing food! It increases the production of stomach acid and digestive enzymes, thus promoting healthy digestion. It has anti-parasite, antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. Definitely, food to add to a gut-friendly diet!
Chia seeds are all the rage these days. You can't walk into a health food store without hearing about the remarkable benefits of these little seeds.
But it's not just hype! In fact, chia seeds are one of the best foods you can eat for a healthy gut. Why is that?
- They're packed with fiber -- Chia seeds are LOADED with dietary fiber, a particularly soluble fiber that can absorb water, sugar, toxins, and cholesterol. When the thread encounters the toxins and chemicals in your gut, they absorb them and send them down toward the waste disposal exit. They also contain insoluble fiber that will scrub the waste from your intestines.
- They're rich in Omega-3 fatty acids -- These fatty acids help to stabilize the cells of your intestinal walls, protecting them from damage by bacteria and other harmful pathogens. At the same time, they also reduce inflammation and promote healthy digestion.
The beauty of chia seeds is that you can add them to just about anything! They're small and tasteless but will do wonders for your gut health.
Bonus: Chia seeds may be the best, but flax seeds aren't far behind. They contain more Omega-3 fatty acids than chia seeds, though not as much fiber. Not the tastiest of seeds, but a good addition to your diet.
Remember when you were a child and got a bad sunburn, or you burned yourself on a hot stove? Your mother no doubt applied Aloe vera--nature's most amazing remedy.
Aloe vera is useful for so much more than just burns, and it's a digestion-friendly remedy you'd do well to try. The anti-inflammatory properties of Aloe vera will help to protect your digestive tract from bacteria and harmful pathogens. For those with IBS, leaky gut syndrome, and other digestive health problems, Aloe vera can help to soothe the irritation and pain and even reduce bloating.
As a bonus, Aloe Vera will also increase the production of the Lactobacillus bacteria in your gut. One study found that a 5% concentration of Aloe vera juice helped to promote not just lactobacillus growth, but many other types of beneficial bacteria as well. Basically, the study proved that Aloe Vera could be a useful therapy for digestive disorders, particularly when combined with probiotics. If you're eating more probiotic foods (yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, etc.), adding Aloe Vera into the mix will make the beneficial bacteria more efficient!
Green tea is one of the healthiest beverages on the planet. It contains as few calories as water, and the caffeine can help to boost your metabolism--though without the nervous system effects caused by coffee. It even helps your body to target belly fat for more effective fat burning.
Green tea is also an amazing gut-friendly food. The tea contains a lot of polyphenols, plant-based compounds that feed the bacteria living in your gut. Feeding the bacteria helps to encourage the growth and spread, giving your body better control over your digestive tract and its function.
How much tea should you drink? With just 2 or 3 cups of green tea per day, you can promote a healthy gut bacteria balance.
Garlic is one of those foods you can't help but love! It provides an amazing base flavor for just about every dish you prepare, but did you know that it's also one of the healthiest foods on the planet? It's heart-smart, packed with minerals, and is even a gut-friendly food.
Garlic contains allicin, a sulfur compound that can help to protect your body against a wide range of harmful bacteria. You'll find that it's one of the best immune-boosting foods around. Of course, given that a large amount of your immune activity takes place in your gut, it's no surprise that it's also a gut-friendly food!
Garlic can help to protect you against food-borne illness, and basically acts as a natural antibiotic. Garlic can also help to promote peristalsis, the contraction of your intestinal muscles that pushes waste toward the exit. It's also a diuretic, meaning it will help to flush waste (urine) from your body, taking all the harmful toxins with it.
Basically, eating more garlic is a key to having a healthier body!
All veggies are good for you, but some are "good-er" than others:
Dark, leafy greens -- Spinach, kale, chard, and other dark-colored leafy greens are packed with important minerals like Vitamin C, iron, and folic acid. They're also an amazing source of polyphenols, which help to enhance digestion and promote better immunity. They contain chlorophyll, a fat-soluble nutrient found in all plants that helps to cleanse your colon. When the chlorophyll bonds with fat, it clings to the walls of your intestines and protects from bacterial infections and growths. It can even help to eliminate old waste and bacteria, and heal your intestinal lining.
Cruciferous veggies -- The crunchier, the better! Cabbage, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower are just a few of the cruciferous veggies that can give you up to 40% of your daily dose of fiber. The fiber will promote healthy elimination of wastes, getting rid of toxins and built-up waste matter from your colon.
If you want to be healthy, it's always a good idea to eat more veggies.
Sauerkraut is another awesome probiotic food, meaning it contains bacteria that will reinforce your gut flora. "Fermented cabbage" may sound like an odd thing to eat, but anyone who's had it on bratwursts or sausages knows how delicious it can be. Thanks to the active bacteria in the fermented food, you can give your gut bacteria the reinforcement needed to flush out toxins, chemicals, and harmful pathogens.
Kombucha is another "hyped up" health product, and it's certainly not the best-tasting of foods! It's basically fermented sweet black tea, but the fact that it's fermented means that it's loaded with beneficial bacteria.
Not only can the Kombucha help to improve your gut health by reinforcing the beneficial bacteria in your intestines, but it can control Candida yeast growth, improve absorption and breakdown of food particles, and promote waste elimination. It may even help to heal leaky gut and manage other digestive disorders.
It may be odd, but it's worth a try if you want to have a healthy gut!
Beans, lentils, chickpeas, and other legumes are amazing sources of protein, fiber, and minerals, making them excellent for your gut health!
Legumes are rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber:
- Soluble fiber soaks up the toxins, sugar, fats, and cholesterol, and prevents them from being absorbed into the body.
- Insoluble fiber works like a scrub brush to eliminate the waste matter clinging to the walls of your intestines.
The fiber in legumes will get rid of A LOT of the waste matter built up in your body, and will do wonders to cleanse your gut. The starch in legumes also acts as a prebiotic, which means it will feed your gut bacteria. This causes the good bacteria to multiply and control the harmful pathogens introduced via your food and drink.
Ever wondered why people love lemon water so much? It's mostly thanks to the fact that it helps to improve your digestive health:
- It acts as an antiseptic, killing off infections and controlling harmful pathogens.
- It boosts your immune system, sending reinforcements to your gut bacteria.
- It increases the production of stomach acid, making it easier for your body to break down food for digestion.
- It enhances digestive enzyme production, enabling your intestines to absorb food more easily.
- It helps to neutralize toxins and free radicals in your digestive tract.
Basically, lemon in ANY form will do wonders for your gut health. Try fresh-squeezed lemonade, warm lemon water, or even a few drops of lemon in your chicken noodle soup. However you eat it, it will promote a healthy, cleaner gut!
Including these foods in your diet will help you balance the nutrients your body needs. It is important to be mindful of this balance to avoid risking your health especially as you grow older.