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5 ways to protect your gut through the holidays

Photo Credit: atlasbiomed.com

Thomas Delauer (born May 6, 1988) is a YouTube fitness instructor who has also written a few books about inflammation in the human body.  He is the creator of “The Science-Based Six Pack Program.”

With the holiday season approaching and a proclivity for overeating or simply ‘unhealthy’ eating, he wrote the 5 ways to get a clean gut after all the ingesting.

A healthy gut means that there are more good bacteria than bad bacteria and that the bad do not outnumber the good. 

The balance of bacteria in the gut flora can result in a variety of health benefits, including reduced inflammation, which can lead to heart disease, and a lower risk of obesity.

Jumping right in:

  1. Collagen on an empty stomach: The idea behind taking collagen for gut health has to do with its ability to contribute to the synthesis of a repaired gut lining. Let’s say you’re eating a bunch of inflammatory foods and you’re disrupting your gut a bit (inflaming the gut lining).

This can allow for pathogenic compounds (LPS) to leech into the bloodstream from damaged epithelial cells (enterocytes). Collagen can help fuel the cells so that they are strong and repair better.

A bit of collagen (10-20g) at the end of a fast, or simply on an empty stomach can make a significant difference in the repair of the gut, protecting you from fatigue, gut aches, and inflammation.

While recent research finds bone broth may not be a reliable source of collagen, this option is by far the most popular by word of mouth. Made by simmering animal bones in water, this process is believed to extract the collagen. When making this at home, season the broth with spices for flavour.

  1. Combination of flax, asparagus/artichoke, and psyllium (not all at once, of course). Gut diversity becomes even more important when you’re maybe consuming a bit more sugar. Think about it like this, part of the role of the gut biome is to provide your body with the fuel that the cells need in order to metabolize sugars and other carbs. The bacteria produce a byproduct that sends a powerful signal for the cells to use glucose better.

This becomes more important when you have a rougher diet as it gives the gut the ability to deal with the carbs a bit better.

It comes down to what is called “gut diversity,” and the best way to achieve this is through a diverse amount of different fibres. That’s why I picked the most powerful three that I know.

1 Tbsp of Flax, 5-10 stalks of asparagus, and 2 tsp of psyllium (or maybe some bread like Unbun or Uprising that has psyllium in it.If you cannot consume a lot of fibre (and even if you can), I would also use this time of year to take in a good probiotic.

Asparagus is also grown in some parts of Africa, like in the northern part of Nigeria, specifically in Jos, Plateau State. While it is locally known in Hausa as “Shekan Bera,” it is called “Aluki” in Yoruba.

  1. Fasting AFTER Eating vs Before: Often times people choose to fast prior to eating something that isn’t so healthy. They feel like they “earn” it. And I used to be this way too. I don’t recommend this.

This is because A) it builds a bad emotional relationship with food and B) You weaken the gut lining during a fast, only to destroy it more with a bunch of not-so-good food.

It’s much better to flip this on its head and do the opposite. Fast AFTER your cheat meal.

This allows your digestive system an adequate chance to digest, absorb, repair, and repeat. It’s going to increase what is called gut motility, which means you’re going to have less chance of digestive upset and less chance of an inflammatory disaster after eating a bunch of tasty treats after a 20-hour fast.

  1. Hydrate more than usual – Seems logical. More variety of not-so-good foods means you should hydrate more in an effort to deal with it. It is that simple. Increase hydration by at least 25% during the holidays. Cooler weather is also deceiving.
  1. Polyphenols from fruit: The polyphenols in fruit (mainly raspberries, blueberries, pomegranates and blackberries/haskap berries/ boysenberries) provide you with a system of flavonoids that help our gut at a cellular level.

Before this, we’ve focused on the microbiome, but flavonoids don’t help much there… They’re more about supporting the cells to fend off oxidative stress that can ultimately damage the gut.

You’re seeing the theme here, right? Having less gut lining damage = less inflammation from improper nutrition during this time of year.

So how much is in the way of berries or fruit to achieve a rich polyphenol effect?

Well, generally I would say about ½ cup per day if you’re on low carb, and up to 2 cups if you’re having a few more carbs. The bottom line here is, though, that if you’re reading this email, it’s probably because you want to enjoy your diet a bit more this season, so I vote that you fill up a bit more on fruit, rather than pie…. So… 2 cups.

Writng by Saadatu Albashir