by Ariella Blank
The first thing to keep in mind when trying to heal the body is overall stressors on the body which can keep it out of balance. Are stress, lack of sleep, or overall dehydration bringing you down?
A large amount of evidence shows that stress can induce dysregulation in the gut and contribute to the onset and perpetuation of IBS symptoms. Stress reduction is especially needed as neuroimmunological dysregulation is easily remembered by the gut and stressors from diet, work, family, and society can reawaken the old patterns. Making positive changes in the life of a person with intestinal permeability is crucial for avoiding stressful triggers that can perpetuate dysfunction in the gut. Getting 8-9+ hours of sleep every night is also recommended. Yoga, Tai Chi, and Qi Gong have also been associated with helping to reduce stress and healing the gut. Mindfulness meditation is also beneficial in healing the gut. Finally, taking time to appreciate the food we put in our body is paramount. To learn more about how stress affects the gut, read our blog post here.
We can’t talk about rest and reducing stress without first talking about sleep. When the body is in states of stress, it starts pulling from the reserves of the adrenal glands to create hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline to keep the body powered in times of stress. In order to undo the effects of constant stress on the adrenal glands and heal the body’s stress response, sleep is key. Studies have shown that for the adrenal glands, getting into bed by 10pm is a must, and sleep between the hours of 10-7 is much more restful as compared to the same amount of sleep in between the hours of 1-10, for example. Note that the liver powerfully detoxifies the body between the hours of 3-5am, and it’s important that we are already in the deep phase of sleep by this time so that proper detoxing can occur. If we sleep late and/or eat late, our body won’t be fully resting and thus we will likely spend most of the night digesting, rather than detoxing. To ensure a restful night, stop eating at least 3 hours before you go to sleep. Getting less than 6 hours of sleep means that your body’s sugar response will be akin to that of a type 2 diabetic! We experience much more craving (especially sugar cravings) when we’ve gotten less sleep. Try this essential oil combo by applying it to the skin behind the ears and allowing the aromatherapy to get to work, helping you unwind.
Our bodies are 70% water and I can’t overstress getting enough of this vital nutrient! In addition to getting enough water, we need to be getting enough of the electrolytes which enable our body to take water into cells––namely, magnesium and potassium which both happen to be very depleted from our modern diet. To make an intensely hydrating combo, mix some sea salt with lemon juice and coconut water and sip up––especially first thing in the morning and/or around workouts.
Now let’s tackle digestion. If you’re wondering how to know which organ is in need of support, read our blog post about how to know what’s wrong with your digestion here.
Stomach & pancreas
If you’re having a lot of stomach-related digestive issues, these need to be addressed first. To learn what the signs of a dysregulated stomach are, read here. Since digestion is a north to south process, any imbalance higher up in the stomach will have a ripple effect lower in the digestive tract. To learn how to fix the symptoms of low stomach acid naturally, read our blog post here.
No matter what, pay attention to these pointers:
Chew your food thoroughly
Sit in a relaxed position
Apply relaxing essential oils or burn soothing scents such as candles and/or incense, etc
Have a stomach stimulating tea shortly before meals: boil ginger or gentian root and sip on this to stimulate digestive juices
Take 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice 15-20 minutes (can be mixed in a little water) before meals to stimulate HCL production.
For chronic acidity, heartburn or stomach related symptoms, supplement with HCL and digestive enzymes
Liver & gallbladder
Chew on ginger
Make a liver-stimulating tea with dandelion root and mulethi
Incorporate extra fat into your diet. The best way to start digesting fat better is to eat more fat! The easiest fat to digest which doesn’t put a burden on your system is coconut oil. Ghee is also a great choice and one of the healthiest foods.
Have a beetroot tonic daily (learn how to make our beetroot kvass, the perfect probiotic liver tonic!)
Make a salad with beetroot, carrot, green apple, and lime––yumm!
Broccoli sprouts powerfully detoxify the body––a must try!
Incorporate cabbage juice into your regime. This is a powerful gut healer. An easy way is to follow our sauerkraut recipes available on our IGTV.
Avoid ingredients like sugar, refined flours, refined oils which wreak havoc on the small intestine, increasing intestinal permeability and adding to inflammation.
Incorporate apple, flax and psyllium into the diet for added fiber.