Do Not Eat These 7 Gut Destroyers
You want to be healthy and choose gut health foods that support your health. However, it is difficult to support your gut health, if you don’t know what foods may disrupt your gut microbiome and lead to leaky gut.
Having a good balance in the ecosystem of your gut bacteria is key to support your gut and overall health, and achieve physical and emotional well-being. In this article, you will learn about the top 7 foods that may destroy your gut health, cause leaky gut, and lead to disease. You will also learn some delicious alternatives and gut health foods to create the health you desire.
What Is Leaky Gut
Your gut is the part of your body where food is broken down and nutrients are absorbed. When your gut has issues properly absorbing foods and nutrients you may end up with inflammation, pain, and disease. But this can happen even when you consume healthy food (more on that in a bit).
Your gut also plays a crucial role in protecting your body from harmful substances. The walls of your intestines serve as important barriers controlling what may enter your bloodstream to be transported to your organ.
You don’t want any harmful substances to end up in your organ system causing issues!
Good bacteria are also there to help the system to fight off bad bugs, viruses, fungi, toxins, and other invaders. A microbiome imbalance with too many bad bugs and too few beneficial bacteria may lead to serious health issues. Your intestinal wall has small gaps to allow water and nutrient to pass through. Under healthy circumstances, they block harmful substances.
Intestinal permeability is a term referring to how easily substances are able to pass through these gaps.
Eating too many foods that are not healthy for your gut, having an internal toxic overload, and experiencing stress can weaken your body and make your intestinal walls more permeable. And when your gut becomes more permeable, bad bacteria, toxins, undigested food particles, and other harmful substances may pass through and enter the bloodstream.
When this happens, we refer to this phenomenon as leaky gut or leaky gut syndrome.
Leaky gut syndrome may seriously disrupt your gut microbiome. Remember, your gut is connected to everything. An unhealthy gut microbiome may lead to inflammation, infections, pain, brain fog, on-going health issues, and chronic disease.
Taking care of your gut with the help of gut health foods and removing foods that may disturb your gut is absolutely crucial to prevent leaky gut syndrome and repair gut health issues.
7 Gut-Destroyer Foods + Alternative Gut Health Foods
These are the 7 top gut-destroyer foods. Learn why you should stay away from them (hint: they may disrupt your gut health balance, cause leaky gut, and lead to inflammation and disease). Learn about the best gut health foods you can choose as an alternative.
1. Refined Sugar
Sugar is one of the biggest offenders when it comes to your gut health. But what am I talking about when I say sugar? I’m talking about refined sugar, of course, as well as unhealthy sweeteners made from high-fructose corn syrup.
Refined sugar offers no nutritional value for your health. Instead, it poses a serious risk to your gut health. Eating and drinking to much refined sugar from candy, cakes, processed foods, sodas, and sugary drinks, feeds the bad bugs in your gut. It may easily lead to gut dysbiosis, yeast overgrowth, leaky gut syndrome, and consequent health problems.
Unfortunately, many calorie-free sugar alternatives, such as aspartame are just as unhealthy. They may lead to metabolic, blood sugar, and gut issues.
Alternative Sweet Treats
If you are looking for something sweet in your life, choose fiber-rich, nutrient-dense sweet whole foods, such as fruits and sweet vegetables, such as carrots, beets, and sweet potatoes. If you are watching your sugar intake, low glycemic index (GI) foods are the best.
If you must add some sweetener to your baked goods or dishes, monk fruit, stevia, maple syrup, date paste, and molasses are your friend in small quantities.
2. Fried and Processed Foods
Chances are, you’ve already heard that processed and fried food aren’t healthy for you. They are filled with refined sugar, refined oils, additives, and artificial ingredients, but lack actual nutrients.
Fried and processed foods feed bad bacteria in your gut, and may seriously disrupt your gut microbiome. They may lead to Candida overgrowth, leaky gut syndrome, inflammation, pain, and chronic disease. While it is important that you seriously cut down on fried and processed foods for your gut health, you can still comfort yourself with healthier and just as delicious alternatives.
Alternatives to your Fried Favorites
Opt for healthier versions of your favorite fried and processed foods. Instead of deep-fried French fries, try oven-roasted sweet potatoes pr jicama fries, or try an air-frier instead. If you are cooking with oil, choose healthy oils, such as coconut, avocado, and extra virgin olive oil, instead of refined oils such, as corn and other vegetable oils.
Gluten is a protein that occurs naturally in wheat, rye, barley, and other grains.
The problem is that the grains we eat are not the same as our ancestors did. About 100 years ago, scientist developed a hybridized wheat with more gluten to achieve fluffier and bigger bread and baked goods. Moreover, nowadays, gluten is in everything from supplements, meat substitutes, medications, and even toothpaste, not just in bread.
Our gluten consumption increased, so did our chronic diseases. Gluten has been linked to countless diseases. It may lead to chronic systemic inflammation, leaky gut syndrome, chronic diseases, and autoimmunity.
While a small portion of the population has Celiac disease or an actual gluten allergy, many may deal with some level of gluten sensitivity. Your gut may also benefit from cutting down on gluten.
Alternative Grains for a Happy Gut
Choose gluten-free grain alternatives, such as rice, quinoa, and amaranth. While consuming these alternatives in their whole form is the best, you can find just about anything in a gluten-free form. There are quinoa and rice pasta, gluten-free chips, gluten-free cakes, and gluten-free bread on the market.
You can also use lettuce and collard greens as an alternative to tortillas and wraps and make kale chips or beet chips as a nutritious gluten-free alternative to your favorite junk foods.
You may be surprised to hear, but dairy may be very bad for your gut health. In fact, the majority of people with gluten intolerance are also intolerant to dairy. Lactose intolerance is incredibly common among people. Lactose is a sugar found in milk. People with lactose intolerance cannot produce the lactase enzyme that’s necessary to break down lactose.
Even if you are not lactose intolerant, you may still be sensitive to dairy, more specifically, one or more proteins found in milk, whey, and casein. If you have a dairy sensitivity, you may not notice symptoms, such as gas, bloating, fatigue, pain, headaches, or skin problems, until several days after consuming dairy. Or, if you are eating milk, cheese, and other dairy products regularly, you may be experiencing chronic health issues as a result.
Furthermore, conventional dairy is also filled with hormones and antibiotics. American farmers treat their cows with the genetically engineered bovine growth hormone rBGH, as well as antibiotics to treat infections. These antibiotics and hormones make it into your food and may lead to gut dysbiosis, leaky gut, inflammation, and chronic health issues.
As an alternative gut health food, you can choose milk, yogurt, creamers, and other dairy alternatives made from plant-based sources, such as almond, cashew, macadamia, hemp, rice, and coconut milk.
There is an increasing number of delicious dairy-free nut cheeses are out on the market. Fifteen or even ten years ago, dairy-free options were scarce, and let’s be honest, most didn’t taste the best. Today, we are lucky. We have plenty of delicious plant-based alternatives that make going dairy-free easy.
My favorite evolution in the dairy-free section of the grocery store? The fact that major brands make dairy-free ice cream now (or DIY-ers can make their own protein ice cream)! Even my non-vegan husband agrees that they taste just like their original dairy counterparts.
Soy was once thought to be one of the “health foods.” After all, many vegan alternatives are made with soy.
However, too much soy may be bad for you.
The soy that we consume today is far from the soy that was traditionally eaten in Asian societies. Today’s soy is genetically modified and processed. In large quantities, soy may disrupt your gut microbiome, leading to leaky gut, and consequent health issues.
Alternative Gut Health Foods High in Protein
If you want to eat soy, try organic and fermented soy, such as natto, miso, or tempeh. Make sure that the product you are buying is labeled non-GMO. If you are looking for dairy and meat alternatives, opt for soy-free options, such as almond milk, coconut milk, pea milk (a high-protein choice), black bean burgers, and quinoa patties.
Meat lovers, don’t despair! I’m not saying to ditch your favorite dinner completely. But you might consider cutting back.
Aside from the ethical and environmental reasons that may urge you to reduce your meat consumption, your gut health is one of the key reasons you should lower your meat intake. Most important, you need to stay away from conventional meat.
A diet that is overly heavy on meat, especially red-meat may throw off your gut health, and lead to disease. Just like conventional dairy, conventional meat is also full of antibiotics and hormones. In fact, most of the antibiotics used in the US are actually given to livestock whether they are used for meat or dairy. Processed meat-like products, such as deli and spam, are also full of artificial ingredients, additives, and bad fats that may destroy your gut health further.
Meat-Lover (and Gut-Friendly) Tips
Reduce your meat intake. Start small. If you eat meat every day, try taking it out of just a few meals a week. Or, pick one day each week when you opt out of animal proteins completely. It doesn’t have to be #MeatlessMonday (though having a community of people to get inspiration from never hurt!), just do what works for your schedule. Pay attention to how you feel after meatless meals and days.
If you want to eat meat, choose organic, grass-fed meat for your gut health. Otherwise, choose plant-based meat alternatives, such as tempeh, black bean burgers, quinoa patties, and “meatloafs” made of different high protein nuts.
7. Farmed Fish
Many believe that fish is healthy food. While fish is certainly rich in anti-inflammatory fatty acids, you have to be careful with where your fish came from.
Conventionally farmed fish are kept in conditions that are not ideal to their health. Just like dairy cows and animals raised for meat, they are fed with growth hormones and genetically modified corn that is passed down when consumed. Furthermore, some fish also have high levels of mercury that may further destroy your gut microbiome.
Alternative Gut Health Foods
Like red meats, reduce your fish intake. If you want to eat fish, choose wild-caught fish. Follow this list to choose species that are less likely to have mercury contamination.
You can also get the same superfood benefits of fish without the mercury when you try algae, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and algae omega-3 supplements.
Your gut health is incredibly important for your overall health and well-being. Consider this list, and remove any gut-destroying foods from your diet. Choose alternative gut health foods to protect your gut and overall health.
Eat plenty of whole foods, such as greens, vegetables, fermented foods, fruits, nuts, seeds, and legumes for optimal gut health. Take probiotics regularly to add beneficial bacteria to your gut and protect yourself from gut dysbiosis and leaky gut. Drink plenty of water, lower your stress levels, and exercise regularly to set yourself up for a successful gut healthy lifestyle with gut healthy foods and healthy lifestyle choices.
Making these simple changes in your diet may result in a powerful shift in your overall health.
What are your favorite gut health foods? Share your answers with us. We would love to hear from you.
Kat Gál is a holistic health writer who helps health, wellness, and nutrition businesses to market their products and services through quality online content. She is also a freelance writing mentor teaching wanna-be-freelancers how to make a living writing at freelancewriterschool.com. Reach out if you are looking for amazing blog content at firstname.lastname@example.org or katgalwriter.com. Visit freelancewriterschool.com for freelance writing tips. Follow me on Instagram @freelancewriterschool and on Facebook at facebook.com/katgalwriter.
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