When we talk about healing the intestines, what we are really saying is heal your microbiome, the rich microbial community living on your body, and within it.
The microbiome is the vast population of bacteria that inhabits the human digestive tract, from the mouth to the rectum. It covers the skin; lives within tissues, organs, and bodily fluids; it even extends beyond the human body to define the bacterial environment of one’s home and workplace.
Composed of trillions of bacteria, the microbiome is a living organism that plays a crucial role in every aspect of our physical, emotional, and mental health. Scientists have now established that the health of the microbiome determines, to a great extent, the strength of the immune system; the health and function of every organ in the body, including the brain; and the mental and emotional state of every individual.
The health and vitality of the microbiome depends on the consumption of high-quality plant and fermented foods; the amount of stress in the person’s life; and the quantity of processed and toxic foods consumed. Each and every meal helps determine the kinds of bacteria that flourish in the gut, and thus contributes to the health- or disease-promoting conditions within the entire organism.
Each of us has the power to transform the health and vitality of our microbiomes, and in the process change the very arc of of lives. As their physical, emotional, and mental health improve, there is no limit to what each of can experience and achieve.
HERE ARE JUST SOME OF THE POSITIVE CHANGES THAT CAN OCCUR WHEN YOU IMPROVE THE HEALTH OF YOUR MICROBIOME
(1) Restores the integrity of the mucosal lining and intestinal wall.
(2) Prevents and, in some cases, reverses many digestive disorders, including common forms of intestinal distress, inflammatory bowel diseases, and intestinal permeability.
(3) Improves nutrient assimilation.
(4) Regulates weight and prevents overweight and obesity.
(5) Strengthens immune parameters and overall immune response.
(6) Reduces inflammatory conditions throughout the body, and protects against inflammatory diseases, including many common cancers, heart disease (atherosclerosis), diabetes, and numerous autoimmune disorders.
(7) Regulates and improves brain and cognitive functions, including memory and learning abilities. (Reduces brain fog; creates clarity.)
(8) Reduces the symptoms and overall impact of attention deficit, hyperactive disorder (ADHD).
(9) Prevents and in some cases reverses mental, emotional, psychiatric, and neurological conditions, including mood-disorders, depression, and anxiety.
(1. Martin, Osadchiy, Kalani, and Mayer, “The Brain-Gut-Microbiome Axis,” Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 2018; 6(2): 133-148.)
Butyrate is a short chained fatty acid that the body produces in greater abundance when we eat whole grains and vegetables
Numerous studies have determined that most (perhaps all) of the above mentioned benefits from microbial enhancement are either the consequence of, or associated with, an increase in butyrate, and the bacterial and metabolic pathways that give rise to this and related substances.
Research has shown that an increase in the consumption of plant and fermented foods causes an elevation in butyrate production.
Intestinal bacteria produce butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that supports digestive health, helps control inflammation, and prevents disease.
Here just some of the benefits of butyrate.
• 1. Encourages the growth of intestinal lining, its health and repair.
• 2. Harnesses antioxidants to speed healing of the intestines.
• 3. Stop gut inflammation, the basis for many intestinal illnesses.
• 4. Prevents cancer, i.e., colon cancer.
• 5. Heals leaky gut.
• 6. Helps prevent overweight, obesity, and type 2 diabetes
• 7. Protects your brain and helps restore brain function.
• 8. Helps prevent and heal mood and brain disorders, including ADHD, depression, and anxiety.
• 9. Helps to regulate blood sugar.
• 10. Helps to regulate blood cholesterol, i.e., LDL cholesterol.
To make butyrate, your gut bacteria transform dietary fibers found in whole grains, vegetables, beans, and fruit. These contain"prebiotics", so-called because they feed friend bacteria and cause them to multiply, thus increasing all the health-promoting activities of beneficial bacteria in the gut microbiome.
Unless you consume lots of plant foods, your body produces less butyrate tham other short-chained fatty acids. That’s obviously a problem, since butyrate is one of the much preferred SCFAs in your intestinal tract. That’s why we have to make sure we get lots of plants foods to encourage the production of butyrate.
Butyrate Production is especially ncreased when we eat the following foods:
Mushrooms (all types)
Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, tangerines, clementines, grapefruit, others.
Berries, such as blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, raspberries.
Simple recommendations for healing the intestines and resolving common intestinal imbalances.
1. FEED THE FLORA. EAT PREBIOTIC-RICH FOODS
SOURCES OF PRE-BIOTIC FIBER AND NUTRIENTS
Sources of Soluble fibers
Soluble fibers feed good bacteria in the gut and thus cause them to multiply and displace harmful bacteria. Soluble fiber lowers LDL cholesterol, the kind that leads to disease. It also binds with blood sugar (glucose), slowing absorption, and thus lowers insulin levels. This prevents many forms of serious illnesses.
Whole grains, especially brown rice, whole and steel cut (Irish) oats, barley, quinoa, and buckwheat.
Green and leafy vegetables, esp. broccoli, collard, kale, endive, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, chicory, carrots.
Root vegetables, especially turnips,
Beans, especially black beans, limas, kidney beans,
Good sources of fat, including avocado,
Apples, especially red.
Fruit of all kinds, including all berries (esp. blueberries), pears, papaya, figs, nectarines, apricots.
Seeds and nuts, including flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, walnuts.
Insoluble Fiber Sources
Insoluble fiber maintains bowel regularity, preventing constipation and hemorrhoids. It also helps to strengthen the intestinal lining, thus preventing and healing leaky gut syndrome.
Wheat and whole wheat bread
Oats, which are high in both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Lima and pinto beans
VARIETY OF WHOLE GRAINS, VEGETABLES, AND FRUITS MATTERS — A LOT
Try to eat 30 different varieties of cooked whole grains, vegetables, and cooked and raw fruit per week. Research shows that the more varied your grains, vegetables, and fruit intake, the healthier, stronger, and more plentiful your microbiome is.
CONSIDER A PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENT
Remember that in order for a food or supplement to have a positive effect on your microflora, it should contain a minimum of 100 million bacteria. That’s not a lot.
Nevertheless, studies have shown that probiotic supplements can have a significant effect on a person’s microbiome and, in the process, improve intestinal health and mental and emotional well being.
In order for a probiotic to positive affect the microbiome, it needs to have a strength of at least 100 million to one billion bacteria.
Probiotic supplements are priced according to their bacterial counts, with the lowest strength priced lower.
If you use a probiotic supplement, purchase one that has at least 1 billion bacteria, and preferably 10 billion. That will insure that the bacteria survive the enzymes in the mouth and acids and pepsin in the stomach.
But keep in mind, there is no substitute for natural probiotic-rich foods. Sauerkraut, kimchi, miso and other probiotic-foods contain trillions of bacteria in a four ounce serving. It’s been calculated that two ounces of sauerkraut — the equivalent of four tablespoons — will provide more bacteria than most supplements canSauerkraut has been tested to provide 10 trillion bacteria. Kimchi, miso, and many other foods listed above contain trillions in a four to six ounce serving. That’s more bacteria than most supplements can provide in 100 capsules.
2. REPLENISH THE FLORA
Recommendation: Eat at least two servings from any of the following foods every day.
The foods named below are abundant sources of probiotics and thus are extremely healing to your intestines.
Sauerkraut. Serving size. 1 to 2 tablespoons.
Kimchi. Serving size. 1 to 2 tablespoons.
Miso. (Do not boil. Kills friendly flora.)
Tamari. (Do not boil. Kills friendly flora.)
Shoyu. (Do not boil . Kills friendly flora.)
Fermented Pickles. 1 to 2 slices of pickle
Natto. Serving size. 1 to 2 tablespoons.
Apple cider vinegar. With the mothers (fibers). 1 teaspoon or tablespoon, as desired.
Umeboshi vinegar. 1 tsp.
Fermented vegetables and beans of all types, including fermented sprouts, mung beans, rice bran, fish sauces.
If desired and health permits:
Goat milk yogurt
DOSES PER QUANTITY
In order for a probiotic to have a positive affect on your microbiome, you must consume at least 100 million to one billion bacteria in any single serving. When it comes to food sources, that’s pretty easy to get.
A fifth of a teaspoon of organic sauerkraut (made from cabbage, water, and salt) provides about one billion bacteria.
Studies have shown that some sauerkrauts provide more than a trillion bacteria in a single 4 ounce serving (about 8 tablespoons).
If you have two tablespoons of sauerkraut or kimchi per day and some other probiotic rich food — say, fermented pickles, miso, or tamari — you are getting trillions of friendly microflora every day!
3. REMEDIES FOR COMMON BOWEL IMBALANCES
ALKALIZE THE INTESTINES AND BLOOD
MISO. Use as miso soup, or dressings using miso.
KUZU: The white, starchy powder from the root of the kudzu plant used to thicken medicinal drinks, as well as sauces, soups, and desserts. It is highly alkalizing, healing, and strengthening for the intestines.
UME- SHO KUZU DRINK: Alkalizes digestion and blood; soothes and heals the tissues of the intestines; controls diarrhea; stops bleeding from the intestines in people with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. If stools are very loose, use more kuzu in the recipe and continue using until symptoms abate.
1 heaping tsp. Kuzu
Pulp of 1 umeboshi plum that has been chopped into small pieces
Dissolve Kuzu in 3 T spoon of water.
Add to 1 cup of water in a saucepan.
Add umeboshi plum. Bring to boil.
Simmer over medium low flame.
Stir constantly until liquid becomes translucent.
Add several drops of shoyu and stir gently.
Drink while hot.
UMEBOSHI PLUM: A highly alkaline, salty pickled plum with strong medicinal properties. Promotes healthy intestinal flora. Drink before getting out of bed. Good for Crohn's and colitis that is active in the morning. Add to pressure-cooked or boil grains at beginning of cooking time for better digestibility.
UME-SHO-BAN TEA Pour hot bancha (or kukicha) tea over 1 umeboshi plum (mashed in the bottom, of the cup) or a teaspoon of umeboshi paste. Steep for two or three minutes. Add one teaspoon of shoyu or tamari. Drink hot. The tea clears indigestion, soothes intestines, reduces bloating, gas, cramps, headaches, and acid reflux. Highly energizing during the day. Relaxing at night.
(Most commonly caused by liver stagnation. Stagnant liver creates heat and dryness. Must cool and moisten liver. See foods that support, cleanse, and strengthen liver.)
DO THE FOLLOWING:
Increase water consumption.
For men, 3.7 — 4 liters. per day
For women: 2.7 — 3 liters. per day.
Eat these foods:
Soft rice. Well cooked with plenty of water. Can add small amount of fresh grated ginger to stimulate bowels.
Root vegetables stew. Turnips, rutabaga, carrots.
Boiled. Tsp. fresh grated ginger. Pinched of salt. Cook 1 hour.
Cabbage with onions. Sauteed.
Cooked cabbage. Well cooked. Moist.
Stew prunes, figs, and raisins, in water. Eat an hour before bed.
Sauerkraut. 2 servings per day. 2 tablespoons per serving.
Lentil beans, Peas.
Flax seeds. Grind and Soak overnight. Eat first thing in the morning.
Seeds, black sesame. Chew well.
Licorice root tea.
Psyllium seed tea.
Senna tea. (Smooth Move)
Rhubarb root. Dried herb used as tea. (Use only occasionally. Many people find this herb very strong, but also very effective. Used with other herbs in Chinese medicine to treat constipation.)
Magnesium citrate. 200 mg to 400 mg.
Magnesium citrate with Vitamin C. 1000 to 2000 mg.
B vitamins, especially B5 and B9.
Castor oil supplements
Probiotics supplement. 50 billion to 100 billion.
Castor oil supplements
Chew every mouthful of food 100 times.
Exercise daily. Walk 1 to 2 miles daily, if possible.
Avoid sugar, white flour products, and all yeasted bread. Avoid all red meat, dairy products, and eggs while constipated.
Rice. Mix brown rice with white rice. 50/50 . Increase proportion of white rice if condition persists.
Sweet Brown Rice. Boiled or pressure cooked.
Brown Rice. Boiled or pressure cooked. Eat as primary grain for at least five days.
Umeboshi plum. Mix with rice. Drink as Umeboshi tea. (See recipe below)
Garlic (esp. recommended for diarrhea caused by bacteria)
Buckwheat groats, cooked with carrots.
Eggs from chicken. Fried. i.e., sunny side up.
Avoid excess thinking.
Confront, deal effectively with fear.
(Avoid sugar, processed foods, and highly acidic foods.)
SOME EASY-TO-FOLLOW BEHAVIORS TO HEAL YOUR LIVER AND STRENGTHEN DIGESTION AND BOWEL HEALTH
1. Drink two large glasses of clean, spring water with a wedge of lime or lemon (squeezed) every morning, first thing, before any food is eaten.
2. Drink celery juice, and/or celery-cucumber-kale or some other green juice drink daily, preferably in the morning, after spring water and lime.
3. Eat fermented foods daily, especially sauerkraut, kimchi, miso soup, fermented pickles, pickled vegetables. Whole Foods has all of these foods and you can buy a wide variety of them. Eat at least 1 and preferably two servings (serving size 1 to 2 tablespoons) per day.
4. Eat one or two apples per day.
5. Eat berries, pears, clementines regularly through the week. If possible, eat another fruit in addition to apples daily.
6. Eat dried dates and/or figs as a snack.
7. Eat at least three servings per day of cooked green and leafy vegetables, especially broccoli, kale, bok choy, dark lettuce, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and endive.
8. Eat at least two servings of roots daily, especially turnips, rutabaga, carrots, and daikon.
9. Eat salads w. lettuce, sprouts, tomato, some good quality vinegar (fermented), olive oil. Whenever possible, eat sprouts with salad. Broccoli sprouts and/or alfalfa sprouts.
10. Eat white vegetables regularly, including cauliflower, daikon, onions, and turnips.
— END RECOMMENDATIONS —