Gut-Cleansing Foods

Every single one of us can use gut-cleansing foods to enhance our digestion and help relieve our body of toxins. Having bowel movements helps to prevent illness and chronic disease that can build in the body. 

We often think that fiber is the most essential component for having healthy digestion. I mean, fiber is essential, our mothers have always told us. However, there are lots of other digestive benefitting factors involved as well, such as eating in a parasympathetic mode (stress free), being aware of your food sensitivities, and having enough stomach acid and digestive enzymes to break down food. 

Let's talk about stomach acid for a moment. The majority of the time, too little stomach acid is secreted in the stomach in order to break down proteins into essential amino acids that the body needs and uses. In fact, people experiencing heartburn most often believe they have too much acid and thus causing heartburn symptoms, but the truth is those symptoms are caused by low stomach acid. Hydrochloric acid, or stomach acid, stimulates the pancreas and small intestine to produce digestive enzymes and it kills bacteria and yeast that come into the body via food. Low stomach acid, also called hypochlorhydria, can lead to stomach cancer, asthma, and rhematoid arthritis.

I have provided you with gut cleansing foods that offer more than just cleaning up the digestive tract. Some of these foods also train your stomach to increase stomach acid on its own and all of them provide nutrients and healing compounds to the rest of your body. 

1. fermented foods contain prebiotics and probiotics, which are crucial for maintaining a clean and happy gut. Probiotics contain the "good" bacteria that we want present in our digestive tract. Prebiotics contain the nutrients that the good guys need in order to grow and flourish. Fermented foods assist in assimilating proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and vitamins. They populate the digestive system with essential microorganisms for proper digestion. Fermented foods include kefir, yogurt, homemade pickles and vegetables, kim chee, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, natto, kombucha, and raw apple cider vinegar. 

2. flax and chia seeds are both rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which helps in maintaining healthy cell function, brain development, nerve coverings, hormones, healthy skin, and protects and holds the organs together. When these seeds come in contact with liquid the become mucilaginous, (think of the goop that comes out of aloe vera). This jelly-like characteristic helps to cleanse the intestinal tract and regulate bowels. Since these seeds are high in fiber, it is important to start slow. Start with half a teaspoon then build your way up and drink plenty of water afterwards to help flush them down. 

3. raw apple cider vinegar helps improve digestion by increasing stomach acid. Drinking a glass of purified water mixed with a two tablespoons of ACV 15-20 minutes before a meal can improve digestion and nutrient assimilate by increasing stomach acid production. Start with one tablespoon to see how you fare and go from there. 

4. lemon water in the morning not only encourages healthy digestion by loosening toxins in your digestive tract, but it helps to relieve symptoms of indigestion such as heartburn, burping, and bloating. I like to squeeze half a lemon into a tall glass of warm water and drink it through a straw. Lemon juice is acidic before reaching the inside of our bodies where it becomes alkalinizing and very good for us. That said, using a straw helps prevent tooth enamel breakdown.

5. dark leafy greens...this is crucial. Roughages like lettuces, kale, collards, swiss chards and spinach are full of vitamins and minerals that help cleanse the bowel and get rid of toxins. All greens contain magnesium, the "relaxing" mineral that helps with cramps, tightness, and irritation, all common symptoms when it comes to constipation.

6. psyllium husk also becomes mucilaginous when it comes in contact with liquid, which helps to relieve intestinal inflammation and irritation as well as adding bulk to the stool. For constipation, stir two tablespoons of psyllium husk flakes into 1 cup of water. 

7. cayenne is a spice that helps to stimulate the salivary glands in the mouth to secrete enzymes. One of the first stops of digestion begins in the mouth, so in order to get your stomach ready for digestion, it first needs digestive fluids like stomach acid and proper enzymes to break down the protein, fat, and carbohydrates that were just eaten. Cayenne helps with getting digestion started on the right foot. 

8. cruciferous vegetables are rich sources that help to stimulate the liver to expel toxins that will remove mucous plaque and old feces from the colon. Cruciferous vegetables are broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, collard greens, radishes, rutabaga, turnip, and watercress.

These foods are all fairly easy to come by, in fact you might already have them in your refrigerator and kitchen pantry. If you are trying something new, start slow and a couple at a time to see how your body processes it. This also means taking the time to think and feel about how you take in food and how it makes you feel physically and emotionally, the whole-istic approach to becoming conscious. 

References:

"How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Improve the Gut," www.bodyunburdened.com               "Liver Detoxification," www.ultracleanse.com                                                                            "Apple Cider Vinegar, Miracle Health System," Patricia Bragg