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What should you eat when recovering from a gastro bug? Just eaten something you don’t tolerate & know you’ll pay for it? Or after a course of antibiotics? When you’ve just had a flare up from your IBD or IBS symptoms? What to avoid (& what is safest) when your gut is just feeling sensitive? When you know you’ve really abused your system or pushed it to the limit (i.e. a big weekend eating junk / drinking alcohol or overtraining / competing in a very challenging sporting event). What to do if you are just reacting badly to everything all of a sudden? Here are some tips to keep in mind…
Give it a BREAK!
In many of these instances, it can really help to just give your gut a good break! We all know how much better our brains function after a day / weekend off – & how revitalised we feel after a holiday or a sleep. Your gut also really benefits from some ‘down-time’ – research into periodical fasting & its impact on the gut microbiome shows that it can help balance things out by giving your gut a few less hours on ‘digestion duty’ each day. Try just listening to your body (not your sweet-tooth, ignore that bit – it’ll soon shut up), & eat when you actually do feel hungry – I mean proper hungry. Not just because it’s breakfast time / dinner time / morning tea time / you’re at a cafe meeting a friend…get back in touch with your body’s actual signal to refuel. We modern humans have really lost that, food is just so cheap, so easy & so readily available. Many people find that intermittent fasting (IF) can help improve their gut symptoms – & there’s absolutely no harm in trying. Look into ‘The 5:2 Diet’ or ‘The Warrior Diet’ – lots of positive gut feedback using these methods.
When things are feeling delicate, steer away from the common gut triggers & irritants. This would include sugar, gluten, too much ‘cold’ raw food, too much meat, foods high in FODMAPS if sensitive (carbs that ferment rapidly in your colon & can cause distension, gas, pain & disturbances in bowel function), & anything you know that you react to (i.e. gluten, soy, nuts, casein etc). You need to eat minimally & reach for a balance of low-reactive foods (soups & broths are perfect, & cold pressed veggie juices – just sip small amounts at a time, & choose veggies you know you can tolerate). Add in some soothing, healing herbal & nutritive helpers, like the following…
Soothing Help For Your Troubled Gut!
Herbal Demulcents: Plants with this property act like a healing, soothing ‘wound dressing’ to assist with gut-mending.
Aloe vera, calendula, marshmallow, slippery elm, comfrey & licorice are great. Look for gut healing supplements which contain these ingredients, or test them one by one to see what helps you most.
Natural Antiinflammatories: To calm & settle the reactivity, & get some stability back.
Fish oil (high dose to start, if you really need the therapeutic anti-inflammatory effects take 10-12mg daily), flaxseed / chia, krill oil, algal DHA / EPA, turmeric, ginger, aloe vera, plus diverse prebiotic fibre to support your own production of anti-inflammatory SCFA’s.
Antispasmodics & ‘gas-helpers’:
Peppermint oil, ginger & activated charcoal can provide relief from gas, pain, distension & bloating.
Nutritives: Useful for when you are ‘depleted’ & need to repair / rebuild the gut lining.
L-Glutamine, Zinc, Vitamin A & D (cod liver oil has both of these in a natural form), bone broth, mucopolysaccharides (oysters, shellfish, aloe vera, slippery elm, okra), & don’t forget fibre to feed your gut bugs (they will help heal the damaged gut lining but if they are starving- they can actually start to eat into it!) Ask in your local health store or pharmacy for a ‘gut repair’ type formula, grab some gut-friendly fibre & probiotics too.
Nervous system support: These can be great for the gut & nervous system if you are a bit ‘highly strung’ or are going through a stressful period!
Kava, L-Glutamine, chamomile tea, liquorice tea, green tea, massage, exercise, lavender oil, belly breathing, meditation, yoga…stress is the worst thing for your gut – & it’s not so much what is happening in your world, but your responses & reactions to what is happening. You can make changes there.
Love to know how you go with these or have your own remedy to share. Just leave a reply below :-)