Balancing Your Gut
Balancing your gut is so important because it plays such a vital role in your overall health. It can dictate your moods, the appearance of your skin, as well as play a factor in the diseases and cancers that you may be more prone to. I previously wrote a blog post What Your Blood Type Says About You which offers some insight into dietary choices you may want to consider to prevent diseases you may be more susceptible to because of your blood type. Type A and AB both produce lower stomach acid, for example, so they are more susceptible to diseases involving the digestive tract.
Within our gut we have different bacterial flora that need to stay balanced in order to ensure that we are healthy. This is why when we take antibiotics we are told to take probiotics, because antibiotics kill a lot of the bacteria and then the imbalance manifests as different symptoms that can cause us to become very sick and possibly malignant.
Often times, when an imbalance occurs, opportunistic fungus like Candida albicans can wreak havoc on our systems and cause these symptoms:
Cognitive problems (difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus, ADD/ADHD, brain fog), fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, digestive issues (bloating, constipation, diarrhea), oral thrush, yeast infections, sinus infections, food allergies / intolerances, fungal infections, a weakened immune system, joint pain, irritability, autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, ulcerative colitis, lupus, scleroderma, or multiple sclerosis), skin issues (eczema, psoriasis, hives, rashes), extreme sugar and carbohydrate cravings
The horrible thing about candida is that once it finds out that sugar feeds it, it infiltrates your brain and tricks you into craving more sugar and carbs! So in many ways it begins to take over your body. If you suspect you may have candida overgrowth, try eliminating these foods from your diet for awhile:
Bananas, dates, fruit juices, grapes, mango, raisins, barley, rye, spelt, wheat, pork, processed meats, shellfish, swordfish, tuna, cheese, milk, cream, whey isolate, nut butters from moldy nuts (like peanuts, for example), barbecue sauce, horseradish, ketchup, mayonnaise, soy sauce, white vinegar, canola oil, margarine, soybean oil, sunflower oil, agave, aspartame, cane sugar, corn syrup, honey, maple syrup, molasses, sugar, black tea, coffee, diet & regular soda, energy drinks, fruit juices, beer, cider, liquors, spirits, wine
On top of these items, it is recommended to stay away from canned and processed foods (think tomato sauce) because those also feed candida. This may sound like a lot of food, and it is unfortunate that the American diet is greatly made up of a lot of these items. On top of this, many widely-used herbicides, such as glyphosate also give an extra boost to the more harmful bacteria in our guts (such as pseudomonas and salmonella) and weaken our good bacteria. Keep in mind that pharmaceutical companies want you to keep getting sick so that they can keep making billions. 29 million people in the United States have diabetes and about 75,000 Americans who have diabetes get amputations every year because special interest groups would prefer to keep getting rich rather than fixing our broken food system.
So what can you eat to help your gut be balanced? Here are some recommended foods for the "candida diet":
Artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, cucumber, eggplant, garlic (raw is best), kale, onions, rutabaga, spinach, tomatoes, zucchini, avocado, lemon, lime, olives, buckwheat, millet, oat bran, quinoa, teff, anchovies, chicken, eggs, herring, wild salmon, sardines, turkey, butter, ghee, kefir, yogurt with probiotics, almonds, coconut, flaxseed, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, apple cider vinegar, basil, black pepper, cinnamon, basil, cloves, coconut aminos, dill, ginger, oregano, paprika, rosemary, salt, thyme, turmeric, virgin coconut oil, flax oil, olive oil, sesame oil, kefir, olives, sauerkraut, kimchi, chicory coffee, filtered water, herbal teas.
Just think fresh and natural and avoid acidic foods as much as possible. Make changes slowly, because you don't want to shock your body which can make things even worse than before. I know it is hard to stick to the candida diet, so for those of you who just want to improve your gut health in general I would recommend a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water with lemon (in the stomach it actually becomes alkaline) half an hour before you eat and at least a tablespoon of coconut oil everyday because it is an antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal which helps deactivate harmful microorganisms. There is also a really great spore-based probiotic and antioxidant, Just Thrive (non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free), which has a 100% survivability rate because it activates in the intestines - as opposed to most probiotics on the market which get destroyed by stomach acid. This gives your body a fighting chance against bacteria that is overgrowing due to harmful pesticides and dietary choices.
I hope you found this article to be helpful and maybe it spurred an aha! moment for some of you. Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below as always.