More and more today we hear about people with debilitating digestive problems.
Many or our working carers will be caring for someone with Irritable Bowel Disease, Leaky Gut Syndrome, bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, tummy cramps and other serious digestive issues.
One doctor who has devoted his life to researching digestive issues, Dr Steven Gundry, is making international news with his now proven discovery that proteins called lectins are the main culprit in inflaming not only our gut, but causing inflammatory conditions in the body like arthritis (in its many forms) and diseases of the immune system.
Digestive problems also cause heart burn, skin breakouts and skin conditions, lack of focus, lower energy levels, loss of memory, hormonal imbalance, painful joints and weight gain.
Dr Gundry heads the Centre for Restorative Medicine, in Palm Springs, Florida and Santa Barbara, California. He is also one of America’s leading heart surgeons and has performed 10,000 heart surgeries. He has been a university professor and is a Fellow of the American Surgical Association – so he is no wacky alternative therapist.
His work is based on years of scientific research, clinical trials and peer-reviewed studies. He was the keynote speaker at the annual International Society of Microbiota World Conference in Paris, France, where he received a standing ovation of his presentation about the role of gut flora in digestive health and inflammatory conditions in the human body.
He has written a new book on his discoveries, which is being released this month by Harper Collins.
Some key findings
Foods with very high amounts of lectins should be avoided if you have any kind of gut problem.
Lectins are a plant protein that are incredibly BAD for humans. They wreak havoc on the stomach of animals. Lectins can penetrate the wall of your stomach, causing what is called leaky gut.
The simple removal of lectin-containing foods and taking a few inexpensive prebiotic and probiotic supplements may restore endothelial function to normal, which in turn can reverse gut problems, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, says Dr Gundry.
High-lectin foods to avoid
- Avoid all the nightshade family: tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, red and green capsicums.
- Avoid pulses/beans like red kidney beans, navy, pinto, lima, fava, and wax beans.
- Avoid cashews – they are NOT nuts, they are beans and high in leptins.
- Especially avoid peanuts and peanut butter. Peanuts are NOT nuts, they are legumes, and can have a profound inflammatory effect on the bowel. 94% of humans have a pre-formed antibody to the peanut lectin. This peanut lectin is also linked to colon cancer.
- Avoid all grains and cereals. That means baked goods, pasta, rice, corn, bread (even wholemeal or grain bread).
- Avoid sugary desserts, cakes and biscuits. Never ever ever drink soft drinks with artificial sweeteners.
What foods to eat
Eat natural, unprocessed, whole foods, including lots of fresh vegetables and a small amount of lean antibiotic free meats. Drink lots of filtered water. Exercise a little each day (even just walking). Use stevia instead of sugar. (Never use artificial sweeteners – they can kill off 50% of the microbes in your gut with just one serving). Use extra virgin olive oil rather than any other kind of oil or fat. It is one of healthiest fats on the planet and contains oleic acid and oleocanthal, nutrients that can fight inflammation.
The importance of beneficial gut flora
Good gut microbes are essential for good health. Everything hinges on them. However, one week of antibiotics can disrupt your beneficial gut flora for two years.
Without good microbes in your gut, the bad guys take over – fungus, yeasts, moulds, and bacteria like candida. They cause terrible inflammation. Left unchecked bad bugs can spill out of your digestive tract and into other areas of your body.
Normally, good microbes keep them in check, but when bad bugs dominate, they hijack the vegas nerve, the connection between your gut and brain, and send messages to the brain telling it they need food. And what is their preferred food? Carbohydrates which can break down to sugars. And THAT apparently is why we crave carbs so much, and want to keep eating sweet things and carb-high foods like potato chips, fried foods, ice cream, lollies, soft drinks and cakes.
So we eat a bunch of crap and it is not our fault. Sugary snacks and sweets just feed the bad bugs and make us crave more and more.
It is now scientifically proven than microbes influence human eating behaviour and dietary choices to favour consumption of the particular nutrients they grow best on, rather than simply passively living off whatever nutrients we choose to send their way. The more you give them, the more they want and the faster they breed and the more inflammation they cause.
But if you nourish the GOOD microbes, they will take over the bad microbes all by themselves. You nourish your good microbes with a good prebiotic. Dr Gundry recommends products such as Prebio Thrive, with bimuno, organic acacia and agave inulin in them.
PREbiotics are not to be confused with PRObiotics (beneficial good bacteria such as found in some yoghurts), which most people have heard of. Probiotics by themselves won’t work. You need to FEED your good microbes with prebiotics so they grow and flourish and keep you healthy.
Taking probiotics by themselves is apparently like planting trees but not giving them water or fertiliser. They live for a short while, then die off.
Prebiotics travel through your digestive system. They reach the colon intact where they feed your naturally occurring good bacteria which will, in turn, stimulate your immune system, increase resistance to infection and diarrheal disease, and enhance gut health.
Learn more about Dr Gundry here: