Many problems that send us to doctors, physiotherapists, dentists and dermatologists are some type of inflammation: arthritis, tendonitis, gingivitis, dermatitis, colitis, neuritis, or any other ‘itis’ which signifies inflammation.
Inflammation is an immune response to injury, toxins, infections and allergy. 70% of our immune cells exist in the lining of our digestive system, so your immune system, and thus your inflammatory response is greatly affected by how the foods you eat interact with your gut.
For individuals with food allergies, this makes perfect sense. They are well aware of the negative reactions they experience after eating certain foods. Not just the obvious digestive symptoms such as diarrhea or cramping, but often skin reactions, body aches, eczema, joint pain, headaches, fatigue, etc.
For individuals with chronic pain and inflammation who have never explored the idea of food allergies, the idea of modifying their diet to eliminate pain may never have occurred to them.
What we are learning in nutrition and natural health is that when people with inflammation remove certain foods from their diet, their pain is reduced and often eliminated.
It all comes down to the gut.
A healthy gut determines which nutrients are absorbed, and which toxins, allergens and microbes are kept out.
A healthy gut knows how to digest and assimilate food.
A healthy gut does not provoke an immune and inflammatory response to real food.
Unfortunately, I don’t see many clients with healthy guts. The standard diet today is high in processed ‘food-like substances’ which lack the essential elements digestive systems need to work properly, such as vitamins, minerals, enzymes, fiber, water and good bacteria. Combine that with stress, overindulgence and eating genetically engineered food, digestive systems don’t stand a chance at staying healthy. Bad bacteria begin to multiply; digestive enzymes fail to work, and these ‘food-like substances’ are not recognized as nutrients to be absorbed but instead as foreign particles; a potential allergen or virus. An immune and inflammatory response follows and with it pain and inflammation.
After years of abuse, eventually digestive systems can become so compromised that even natural, healthy whole foods can produce negative effects.
So what do you do once the damage is done? Luckily the body is remarkable at healing itself; if you remove the substances that are doing it harm and give it the tools it needs to heal, you can heal your gut and your body.
The 4 R’s of Gut Healing:
- Remove foods and substances that are causing inflammation. To discover what these are, try an elimination diet (removing foods temporarily before re-introducing them to provoke a response), or have a specialized blood test performed. Speak to your Nutritionist or Naturopath to learn more.
- Replace what your digestive system is missing: fiber, digestive enzymes, vitamins, minerals and enzymes.
- Re-inoculate with probiotics. These friendly bacteria keep the ‘bad’ bacteria, excess yeasts, viruses and toxins at bay; help you digest and assimilate food and keep your digestive system healthy and vibrant.
- Repair a damaged digestive system with the right vitamins, minerals and food substances that help heal your gut. Foods high in vitamin C such as red peppers and foods with natural gelatin such as high gelatin chicken stock can soothe and repair your digestive tract.