The health of your gut is one of the most important factors for your overall health and well-being. Researchers are continually discovering just how important it is to keep your gut in good health. Ancient medical traditions, like Ayurveda for example, also gave great importance to gut health.
Not only does the gut affect our physical well-being, but it effects our mental and emotional health as well. Serotonin, a hormone associated with feelings of happiness, is primarily produced in the gut. We also have an entire part of our nervous system, called the enteric nervous system, that is connected to the gut and sends information back and forth between the brain through what is known as the gut-brain axis. The bottom line is, keeping your gut healthy is essential if you want to feel good and lead a healthy, happy life. In this article, we’re going to talk about how you can cleanse your gut and optimize gut health.
What is the Gut?
Before we go into cleansing the gut and optimizing gut health, let’s discuss what “the gut” actually is and why you would want to cleanse it in the first place.
Simply put, “the gut” refers to the entire gastrointestinal tract, which is the long tube that starts at the mouth and ends at the back passage (anus). “Gut health” typically describes the function and balance of bacteria of the many parts of the gastrointestinal tract. Throughout the gastrointestinal tract there are trillions of different bacteria and other microorganisms. The community of these microorganisms is collectively referred to as “the gut microbiome” or “gut microbiota.” The balance of these bacteria plays a critical role in our gut health.
Why Cleanse the Gut?
While the gut is the source of good health, it can also be a major source of illness depending on what we put into it. Every single day we consume numerous substances that all have an effect on the health of our gut. Some of these substances are nutritious foods filled with essential nutrients, while others are toxic chemicals that have a detrimental effect on our health.
Not only does what we put in our bodies determine our health, but how we consume these substances plays an important role. If we eat while under stress, rapidly gulping down our food with little to no chewing, it can lead to indigestion and bloating. Additionally, if we overeat and consume too much food, or poorly combine our foods, it can also create digestive discomfort. Overeating is common in our modern culture, which is why the average person has 5-20 pounds of fecal matter stored in their colon.
So, there are many reasons why cleansing the gut is recommended. Whether it is to help clear toxins from the digestive tract, to get rid of harmful organisms like Candida or parasites, or simply to get rid of the excess waste that is built up in the colon. Cleansing the gut can help to reset your gut health and can refresh and rejuvenate your body. Regular gut cleansing is an excellent practice for health and longevity.
How to Cleanse Your Gut Naturally
There are many ways to cleanse your gut naturally. Below, we’ll go into 7 of the best gut cleanse practices:
- Improve Your Diet
As they say, “you are what you eat.” What you put into your body literally makes up your cells and tissues and determines your quality of health. When it comes to gut health, or anything regarding your body’s health, diet is a major factor.
One of the primary ways to clean up your gut is simply to cut out the foods that are harmful to gut health. Certain types of foods are notoriously bad for your gut and removing these from your diet will already begin to help you cleanse and restore your gut.
The foods that are bad for your gut typically include fatty, sugary, and processed foods. Certainly foods with added sugars, fillers, preservatives, and other chemicals are harmful, as are foods that are genetically modified or grown with toxic pesticides.
Some notable foods and substances that are known to be harmful to gut include:
- Artificial sweeteners
- Cigarette smoke
- Farmed fish
- Fried foods
Try to avoid or limit your intake of these foods.
Additionally, there are foods that are regarded as being very beneficial to gut health. Adding more of these foods in your diet can help to keep your gut healthy:
- Brussels sprouts
- Olive oil
Be kind to your body and pay attention to what you are putting into it. Aim to consume healthier options like plant-based foods and lean proteins. Foods that are high in fiber are also important for gut health.
Rule Out Food Intolerances
Everybody is different, and everybody reacts to food differently. Some foods may be fine to consume for one person, while they may cause allergic reactions for another person. Learning about your individual food intolerances is important for maintaining gut health.
You may be unknowingly eating a food that is causing your body harm. One of the best ways to know what your food intolerances are is by trying an elimination diet. An elimination diet is a temporary diet that helps you test yourself for food sensitivities. You can learn more about how to do an elimination diet by reading our blog “How to Do an Elimination Diet”.
The most common food intolerances are for:
- Fish and shellfish
- Gluten (including barley, oats, rye and wheat)
- Dairy products (including milk, ice cream and sour cream)
- Nightshades (tomatoes and onion)
- Legumes (including soy-based products, beans, lentils and peas)
- Tree nuts
- Citrus (contain high amounts of potentially reactive antioxidants)
- Non-organic beef, which may contain chemicals like histamine, tyramine, octopamine and phenylethylamine known to potentially cause reactions
- Sweets or candy containing refined sugar, corn syrup, artificial colors and flavors
- Canola Oil
You can try eliminating these foods from your diet, either all together or one at a time, and slowly reintroduce them and pay careful attention to how your body reacts. This will let you know whether or not you have a reaction to a specific food. If you do, it is recommended to cut that food out of your diet.
Stress plays a huge role in both our mental and physical health. It can also negatively affect your gut health. Similarly, lowering your stress levels can help to improve your gut health.
Whenever we encounter stress, our body creates a natural stress response that is designed to help us handle the stressor that we are facing. This stress response starts in the brain. Your hypothalamus releases stress hormones that trigger your body’s “fight or flight” response. This causes your heart to race, your breath rate to increase, and prepares your muscles for action.
This response was designed to protect your body in an emergency by preparing you to react quickly. However, when the stress response keeps firing, day after day, it could put your health at serious risk.
The rush of hormones, rapid breathing, and increased heart rate can really upset your digestive system. Stress can increase stomach acid, which makes you much more likely to have heartburn or acid reflux. Stress can also increase your risk of getting ulcers or can cause existing ulcers to act up—though it doesn’t cause ulcers itself (a bacterium called H. pylori often does). Stress can also affect the way food moves through your body, leading to upset stomach, bloating, diarrhea or constipation.
It is important to find healthy ways to manage your stress and to use stress reduction methods like exercise, meditating, going to the spa, using essential oils, and cutting out caffeine. You can learn more about how to manage stress in our article “How Stress Affects Your Body and How You Can Reduce Stress Naturally”.
Drinking high quality water is a natural gut cleanse remedy that is simple and easy. Water is your body's principal chemical component and makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. Your body depends on water to survive. Every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to work properly—including those in your digestive system. Water also helps restore the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut and can help heal the mucosal lining of your intestines.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:
- About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men
- About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women
These recommendations cover fluids from water, other beverages and food (about 20 percent of daily fluid intake usually comes from food).
It's important to note, however, that exactly how much water each person needs varies depending on the individual. There are several factors that influence the need to modify your intake of fluids, such as the amount of exercise you perform, the temperature and humidity of the environment you live in, your overall health, and pregnancy or breast feeding to name a few.
Make sure you drink plenty of water each day and also ensure that the water you drink is of good quality, as typical chemical-filled tap water can be harmful to gut health.
Slow Down & Chew Your Food
We’ve all heard it since we were children, to “chew your food” but how often do we as adults pay attention to how well we chew our own food? There is a reason that we have teeth to mechanically break down our food before swallowing it.
The mouth is an essential part of the digestive system. As we chew food, it breaks it down into smaller and smaller particles that are easier for the stomach to digest. We also mix our food with digestive enzymes in our saliva as we chew.
Imagine you were a factory worker working on the typical factory line. Each person in the line has their specific job to do. The person ahead of you does their job, you do your job, and you pass it down the assembly line for the next person to do their job.
Now, imagine the person ahead of you just decided to stop working, or decided they were only going to do half of their job. It would create a lot more work and stress for you, wouldn’t it? And if you had to keep up with the assembly line, it would probably make it harder for everyone else down the line, and lead to an overall lower quality of work.
Well, this is what it’s like when we don’t chew our food thoroughly. We create a lot more work and stress for our stomach, and consequently for every other organ down the line. Eating too quickly is a major cause of digestive upset. Slowing down and eating more slowly can give your gut a chance to relax a little, which allows it to digest and absorb nutrients properly.
Eat Prebiotic & Probiotic Rich Foods
Consuming prebiotics and probiotics is a major factor for gut health. Probiotics are live bacteria that live in your gut and can also be found in certain foods and supplements. These bacteria are helpful to digestion and gut health, help to keep the community of microorganisms in the gut in balance, and offer numerous health benefits, which is why they are often called “beneficial bacteria” or “good bacteria.”
Prebiotics are indigestible carbs (mostly from fiber) that feed probiotics. In other words, they are foods that we cannot digest, but our gut bacteria can. When we eat these foods, they go to our lower digestive tract, where they act like food to help the healthy bacteria grow.
Both prebiotics and probiotics are important for our gut health. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria, prebiotics are food for these beneficial bacteria. Many modern diets are lacking in beneficial probiotics, which is why it is strongly recommended by most gut health experts to supplement with a multi-strain probiotic. Our Zuma Nutrition Multi-Strain Probiotic was designed to help restore optimal balance in the gut microbiome and features 30 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) and eight unique strains that promote the right ratio of gut bacteria. If you would like to learn more about prebiotic fibers, read out blog "What are Prebiotics. Foods for your Gut Bacteria".
Do a Dedicated Gut Cleanse
While all of the above will certainly cleanse your gut and improve gut health, the fact remains that the best way to really cleanse your gut is to do a dedicated gut cleanse. Cleanses can remove harmful bacteria and microorganisms and can build up in the intestines to give you a fresh start.
There are many different gut cleanses you can do, but the most important for gut health are parasite cleanses and colon cleanses—and these are actually beneficial to do together.
It isn’t a commonly discussed topic, but the average person has up to 30 different types of parasites living in their body. These unwanted bugs can lay millions of eggs in our intestines, colon, and organs and can seriously impact our health.
Symptoms like gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, or other digestive issues are common complaints of those suffering from parasitic infection, as are chronic fatigue, weakened immunity, weight gain, skin rashes, joint and muscle pain, teeth grinding, allergies, insomnia and much more. Parasites can cause a diverse range of symptoms that can linger for years, and can even worsen if the infection is left untreated.
As complex as the subject of parasites is, cleansing them from your body is pretty simple (but not necessarily easy). The primary treatment involves three medicinal herbs: Green Black Walnut Hull, Wormwood, and Fresh Cloves. These herbs have strong anthelmintic properties, meaning they are wonderful at expelling parasitic worms from the body. Together, these three herbs make up what is traditionally known as “wormwood complex” and are the ingredients that make up our Parasite Detox Tonic.
To get rid of parasites, one can undergo a parasite cleanse by diligently consuming this formula, following the recommended dosage closely, drinking a lot of purified water, strengthening the body’s detoxification pathways, cleansing the colon, and consuming anti-parasitic foods.
Doing a colon cleanse alongside a parasite cleanse helps to ensure that you eliminate the parasites as well as any of the toxins that they may release when they are killed by the Parasite Detox Tonic. A colon cleanse is also just a generally beneficial thing to do on its own, as the colon can easily become full of built-up waste.
To cleanse the colon:
- Drink a lot of purified water (1/2 gallon -1 gallon per day)
- Take 1-2 servings of our Fulvic Acid & Trace Ocean Minerals diluted in water each day
- Consume 2-4 TBSP of soaked chia seeds per day
- Eat plenty of high-fiber foods
- Avoid overeating and consuming foods that are difficult to digest
If you follow this protocol for 2 weeks it provides a comprehensive and deep colon cleanse.
Water is the great cleanser of the body, flushing out toxins, improving elimination, and nourishing all of our organ systems so they can do their job effectively. Making sure you are drinking plenty of purified water will keep you hydrated and will help your body eliminate toxins and parasites during the cleanse. When done alongside a parasite cleanse it is a total gut detox cleanse and an excellent way to restore gut health.
Gut health is extremely important. Not only does the gut affect our physical well-being, but it effects our mental and emotional health as well.
What we call “the gut” is the entire gastrointestinal tract, which is the long tube that starts at the mouth and ends at the back passage (anus). The term “gut health” typically describes the function and balance of bacteria of the many parts of the gastrointestinal tract. The balance of these bacteria plays a critical role in our gut health.
Whether it is to help clear toxins from the digestive tract, to get rid of harmful organisms like Candida or parasites, or simply to get rid of the excess waste that is built up in the colon, cleansing the gut can help to reset your gut health and can refresh and rejuvenate your body. Keeping your gut healthy is essential if you wish to feel good and lead a healthy, happy life.