The Natural Ayurvedic Approach to Leaky Gut

My Ayurveda Professor once said, "You aren't what you eat, rather how you digest." 

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UNDERSTANDING LEAKY GUT

In the medical world, this phenomena is called intestinal hyper permeability.

The father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, said it himself: "All disease begins in the gut”. Two thousand years later, we are finally starting to take this seriously. In Ayurveda we trace just about every ailment to digestive disturbances. This is why we consider this traditional medicine to be a ‘bottom-up’ approach, rather than the commonly executed ‘top-down.’

In short, here is how we look at it: our digestive tract is a fundamental mechanism in the body. It is how we break-down and store nutrients, regulate bowel movements, and identify harmful materials. Our digestive system is an integral part of our bodies health and wellness.

Research has shown that food allergies, lethargy after eating, joint pain, thyroid disease, autoimmune conditions, and slow metabolism may trace back to leaky gut. This can be attributed to Vata, Pitta, or Kapha imbalances. 

Our digestive organs are made up of smooth muscle. When this muscle is strong and toned, it can carefully control what passes into our bloodstream and what may be dangerous.

When this muscle loses strength and tone, it allows proteins to slip into the bloodstream before they have been properly broken down. Our body identifies these undigested proteins as ‘harmful materials’ and thus our body sends it defense mechanisms to attack our very own contents.

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Leaky Gut indications:

  • Food allergies (Vata or Pitta)

  • Autoimmune disease (Pitta)

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Pitta)

  • Thyroid conditions (Vata and Pitta)

  • Inflammatory Skin Conditions (Pitta)

  • Lethargy after Eating (Kapha)

  • Bloating and Gas (Vata)

  • Brain fog (Vata, Pitta, or Kapha)


 

ayurveda for leaky gut

Refer to these 4 steps to aid in the resolution of leaky gut.

  1. Remove food triggers: this is not forever, just for the time being to allow the gut lining to heal and regenerate even stronger.

  2. Reform diet with high nutrient, anti-inflammatory, and healing foods according to your dosha.

  3. Restore longevity of gut health with supplements.

 

foods to avoid

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Avoiding food triggers is paramount for improving your gut health. Avoid the following inflammatory foods below, of which often trigger bloating, gas, heartburn, constipation, and diarrhea.

Wheat: Bread, pasta, cereals, wheat flour, couscous, etc.

Gluten: Barley, rye, bulgur, seitan, and oats.

Processed meats: Cold cuts, bacon, hot dogs, etc.

Sweets: Cakes, muffins, cookies, pies, pastries and pizza.

Snacks: Crackers, chips, popcorn, pretzels, etc.

Dairy: Milk, cheese, and ice cream.

Refined oils: Canola, sunflower, soybean and safflower oils.

Artificial sweeteners: Aspartame, sucralose and saccharin.

Sauces: Salad dressings, as well as soy, teriyaki and hoisin sauce.

Beverages: Alcohol, carbonated beverages, and other sugary drinks.


 

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FOODS TO FAVOR

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Focus on the foods that offer anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that are nutrient-rich and whole.

Vegetables: Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, arugula, carrots, kale, eggplant, beetroot, Swiss chard, spinach, ginger, mushrooms and zucchini.

Roots: Vegetables: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, squash and turnips.

Fermented vegetables: Kimchi, sauerkraut, tempeh and miso.

Fruit: Coconut, grapes, bananas, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, kiwi, pineapple, oranges, mandarin, lemon, limes, passionfruit and papaya.

Seeds: Chia seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds and more.

Gluten-free grains: Buckwheat, amaranth, rice (brown and white), sorghum, teff and gluten-free oats.

Healthy fats: Avocado, avocado oil, coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil.

Fish: Salmon, tuna, and other omega-3-rich fish.

Herbs and spices: cardamom, cumin, fennel, coriander, turmeric, mustard seed, garlic, parsley, cilantro, and cayenne pepper.

Cultured dairy products: Kefir, yogurt, and Greek yogurt.

Beverages: Bone broth, teas, coconut milk, nut milk, water and kombucha.

Nuts: Raw almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts (includes nut milks)

 

SUPPLEMENTS FOR LEAKY GUT

L-Glutamine

L-glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in your body of which contributes to the repair of your gut lining and reduces inflammation.

This is a great supplement if you are prone to stress. Chronic stress depletes the presence of this amino acid in our gut.

N-Acetyl Glucosamine

Glucosamine is often found in joint supplements for arthritis. This is because it is known to reduce inflammation.

Glucosamine also supports the growth of bifidobacteria, which is a probiotic that’s protective of your gut.

DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice)

Licorice is a highly regarded herb in Ayurvedic medicine. It’s a strong demulcent (secretes mucus) that is effective for healing ulcers and promoting new cell growth in your gut lining. It can also help to prevent new ulcer formation and reduces inflammation.

Slippery Elm

Slippery Elm is a regular in Ayurvedic medicine. It is a very cooling herb that is often used to relieve gut inflammation (especially IBS), stomach ulcers, diverticulitis, colitis, and an excess of stomach acid.

The name speaks for itself, coating the digestive tract to promote healing and restoration.

Quercetin

Quercetin is a plant flavonoid. Quercetin can help with leaky gut symptoms by tonifying the digestive muscles.

Quercetin is helpful for allergies, as it works to stabilize our histamine response.

 

MINDFUL EXERCISE

Exercise, specifically yoga, is quite effective in easing leaky gut. Exercise is essential; however, the goal is to reduce stress and not add to it.

30 minutes of sweating-induced movement each day will benefit not only make your glamour muscles strong, but it will do the same for your digestive muscles.

 

RESTFUL SLEEP

Melatonin, our sleep hormone, is essential to a healthy sleep and wake cycle. Low levels of melatonin have been linked to intestinal hyper permeability (aka leaky gut).

 

Curious as to what your specific triggers are? Check out my Ayurveda Consultation Lifestyle Packages for more information.

*This information is for educational purposes only. Please consult a healthcare practitioner before administering use, especially if pregnant, nursing, on medication. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not to be used for diagnoses, treatment, or prevention of disease. 

 
Marina ZahranComment