Plant-Based Medicines: How To Maintain Good Gut Health Naturally
Maintaining a healthy gut is incredibly vital for everyone’s health. Having a compromised gut can actually cause havoc for our entire body and having a chronic unhealthy gut can lead to chronic issues as well as skin complaints including acne and eczema. In this editorial, our Wellness and Beauty Editor, Taylor talks us through why exactly gut health is so important and some of her favourite tips and remedies for keeping her gut feeling good!
Why Maintaining A Healthy Gut Is Vital
As I discussed in our first Plant-Based medicine piece, every individual is completely different, with unique issues, likes, dislikes, and emotions. Meaning, there is no one perfect way to approach wellness or diet. However, maintaining a healthy gut is incredibly vital for everyone’s health. Having a compromised gut can actually cause havoc for our entire body and having a chronic unhealthy gut can lead to chronic issues.
Of course, what we eat, and drink is the main way our gut gets disrupted. Our gut microbiome is composed of microorganisms, that live in our intestines, that are responsible for helping the body absorb important nutrients and minerals. The gut microbiome also plays a key role in the synthesis of enzymes, vitamins, and amino acids [source here].
When the gut microbiome isn’t functioning correctly, the lining of the gut can become impacted, allowing bacteria and foreign materials to pass through and into the bloodstream and impact our immune system. Bacteria escaping through the lining can enable these harmful materials to travel to our skin’s microbiome, which is a common cause of inflammatory skin conditions. From eczema to psoriasis, to acne – our skin is usually a mirror for what is happening within, so if your skin is acting up, it may be time to treat your gut!
Taylor, Beauty & Wellness Editor
Balanced Diets & Gut Friendly Foods
Processed and fried foods are amongst the worst for your gut, when eaten in excess. Along with too much dairy, sugar, soy, and gluten. I love all those things; however, it is important to find a balance with them all.
Some bodies can’t tolerate them at all, while others have a higher tolerance. As someone who has struggled with acne and psoriasis, I can confirm that gluten and sugar can be two of the worst offenders. Cutting these out of my diet has helped my inflammatory skin conditions to get significantly better!
Cutting out inflammatory foods and eating more gut-friendly foods, can really help repair the gut microbiome. Below I share some of my favourites to promote good gut health.
Not only are they great to have in the fridge to create easy and delicious meals, but lots of fermented foods are amazing for the gut. Things like kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha give the body beneficial probiotics, which are live cultures. Basically, giving your gut good bacteria, helping to rebalance a gut that is plagued with unhealthy bacteria!
Omega fatty acids are essential for keeping the entire body healthy, however, foods rich in fatty acids are fantastic for the gut. Our body actually can’t produce them, which is why it is key we incorporate them into our diet. Part of having a healthy gut is having a collection of diverse (but healthy) bacteria, which fatty acids can assist with.
Nuts and seeds are a great way to get omegas into your diet – just throw some walnuts, flax seeds, and pumpkin seeds into your salad or smoothie. Olive oil is another great source, and an easy one to incorporate into your diet – just make sure it is organic extra-virgin oil!
Our skin is usually a mirror for what is happening within, so if your skin is acting up, it may be time to treat your gut!
While alcohol in excess can be a massive disruptor of the gut, small amounts of red wine can do wonders. Red wine contains polyphenols, which bacteria in our intestines love! Remember to choose a low intervention wine from a vineyard that doesn’t use pesticides – your gut will appreciate that too. Read about some of our favourite places to buy organic here!
Garlic & Ginger
All my favourite dishes start with garlic and ginger, and lucky for us, they are amazing for our immune system and our gut. Garlic is full of antibacterial and antifungal properties, which can help control yeast levels along with keeping bad bacteria at bay. Ginger is amazing for assisting the digestive system. If you’re feeling bloated or struggling to use the bathroom, ginger can be a lifesaver. Ginger, thanks to its enzymatic properties, can help speed up digestion and break down stubborn food.
Too much coffee can be harsh on the gut, which is why I like to switch to either a matcha latte or matcha tea after my one coffee a day. In general, green tea is known for increasing beneficial bacteria in the gut while killing off harmful bacteria, such as staph. I love the organic Matcha from Whimsy because is sustainably harvested in Kyoto, Japan, and is so delicious. It always makes me feel energised without the jitters that coffee can cause! Wunder Workshop also have some wonderful turmeric based coffee alternatives!
Supplements & Tinctures
I love to support my body by taking different plant-based supplements and tinctures. While I like my probiotics and prebiotics from food, I also like to take a probiotic supplement. I love to take the Prebiotic + Probiotic from The Nue Co, because it was created especially for promoting a healthy gut. I noticed a big difference in my skin health after adding this to be regime. A lot of acne can be caused by inflammation in the stomach, and this supplement can really help work on the skin’s microbiome too.
A great tonic for assisting the digestive system is Fire Cider from Wooden Spoon Herbs. It is made from apple cider vinegar along with spices, herbs, and root vegetables, such as garlic, onion, and horseradish. It helps to reduce inflammation in the body, making it great for the immune system and the skin, along with the gut. You can even add this tonic to salads and greens!
Please note: I am not a licensed nutritionist or dietician so make sure you do your own research. Herbal remedies are not meant to replace any medications you are on now. It is always important to seek guidance from licensed practitioners and to do your own research!