Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) has become more of an issue as we continue to see increase in manmade foods yet eating such foods. IBS is a common disorder that involves spastic colon activity, bouts of constipation and diarrhea and abdominal bloating. Not everyone has IBS but many seem to suffer from some symptoms which may be related to inflammatory issues. IBS is on the rise with over 20 million Americans suffering from these symptoms on a regular basis. It is possible to heal IBS naturally with paying particular attention to diet and including superfoods.
The typical symptoms associated with IBS include chronic bloating, gas, constipation and diarrhea. The individual usually craves sweets, breads, starches, caffeine and alcohol. They oftentimes have a history of antibiotic usage (and other medications) thus may have unexplained joint pain and headaches. Chronic fatigue, lowered immunity, inability to get good night rest and depression are often associated with IBS as well.
IBS and dysbiosis
The digestive tract is loaded with trillions of microorganisms that form a natural ecosystem commonly called the gut flora. This ecosystem is designed to be symbiotic in that it benefits both the individual and the microbes. Certain lifestyle stressors throw off the natural symbiosis and cause a rise in pathogenic microbes, chronic gut inflammation and damage to the gut lining.
When the gut flora is damaged from environmental toxins such as antibiotic usage, pharmaceutical medications, chlorinated water, industrial meat, processed food and drinks, hydrogenated fats, preservatives, chemicals which could be found in commercial type foods, acidic food or diet and such-- it allows for the pathogenic species to take control. This rise of pathogenic microbes is called dysbiosis or abnormal bacterial balance.
These pathogenic species eat through the intestinal wall and cause gaps in the gut lining. These gaps allow for large food particles, yeast, bacteria and environmental toxins to cross into the bloodstream. As these particles travel through the blood stream and lodge into joints, neural tissue such as the brain, the liver and other major organs they cause inflammation and many other health issues (including ones that are related to auto-immune diseases). Not only the friendly bacteria of the intestinal tract gets broken but it starts to allow infestations of other types of bacteria and yeast that your body does not need.
How Could We Rebuild Intestinal Wall
Rebuilding the intestinal wall begins by avoiding inflammatory foods. The most common food allergens include genetically modified ingredients, gluten, soy products, artificial food additives and flavorings, peanuts, eggs and pasteurized dairy. It is important to take note of the types of foods that you as an individual may be sensitive to or your system may not be able to handle. These foods should be avoided at all cost.
To find out what foods you may have allergies to or not be able to handle, it is best to work with a qualified practitioner or doctor of natural health who can assist you. There are things that you can do yourself of course--start paying attention to your body when you eat the motioned foods above. Best way is to eliminate them from your diet all together and do a thorough cleansing before re-introducing them one by one and watch for reactions within your system.
An anti-inflammatory diet that is rich in fermented foods, liquids, vegetables, fresh vegetable juices and raw food-based nutrition is necessary. Fermented foods like traditional sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented veggies, live cultured plain yogurt, kefir, and raw cheese and amasai (cultured dairy product) from 100 percent grass-fed cows should be staple parts of the diet. Fermented drinks like apple cider vinegar, raw red wine vinegar, coconut kefir, fermented herbal botanicals, Kombucha, herbal teas and others should be used throughout the day to help with gut bacteria. Raw natural pickled foods (that are made without perservatives and too much salt) in moderation are helpful. Best pickled foods are ones that are homemade. Keep in mind that commercial pickled foods and vegetables could contain many undersirable ingredients and salt which could be rather harmful to gut health and bacteria.
These foods are extremely rich in enzymes, probiotics and key amino acids that help the beneficial microflora destroy pathogenic organisms in the body. These foods should be used as much as possible and a high quality probiotics supplements with 50+ billion CFUs are very beneficial.
Intermittent fasting for periods of 16-20 hours daily or weekly is very helpful in reducing inflammation and helping the gut heal faster. As a matter of fact, adding fasting to your routine could be highly beneficial as the system always needs a break to heal itself. During the fasting period the individual should drink lots of purified water and tea with anti-oxidant extracts such as lemon, raw apple cider vinegar and raw fermented drinks. Fermented ginger and oregano in an organic acid base with fresh squeezed lemon is does wonders and is very beneficial drink for one suffering with IBS.
Beneficial Fats, Antioxidants and Clean Protein
The diet should be low in sugar, starch/processed carbohydrates and instead focus on phytonutrient-rich vegetables, vegetable juices, low glycemic fruit and healthy fat sources like avocados, extra virgin olive oil, sprouted nuts and seeds. Grass-fed beef, bison, lamb, organic poultry/ eggs and wild-caught fish offer essential fatty acids and other compounds that enhance hormone function and reduce inflammation. It is best to stay away from red meat and chicken in general--but if you are one that would choose to eat some, then eat it only grass fed and in moderation. Wild caught fish is highly beneficial as it offers omega 3 fatty acids which are healing to the gut. Avocado, walnut and certain other ones are good sources of fatty acids as well--just do your home work to see which is which yet further more what sits well with your particular system. Remember we are each individuals and may have our own unique sensitivities to foods no matter how great they might be.
Other great anti-inflammatory foods include coconut products, berries, and non-denatured whey protein from grass-fed cows. This protein source is loaded with L-glutamine and enhances cellular glutathione stores which are both necessary for rebuilding the gut and de-inflaming the body. Anti-inflammatory herbs such as turmeric, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, rosemary, and oregano among others should be used as much as possible. Silly marine is a seed that has been utilized for many years with great results. It is very healing to the liver health which in return is helpful to the gut and intestinal health.
Again, as we are all individuals, it is best to get educated and work with a professional that could guide you for your particular need. It is worth the investment -- it is your health and your body--you needed it for a life time to be in great health.