Gut Health: A Brief Overview
It’s been common knowledge for centuries that the gut, gastrointestinal (GI) tract, or microbiome is “ground zero” for our body’s health, from head to toe. The gut is your body’s first line of defense against illness, the fuel tank for your immune system, and a perpetual battlefield where good and bad bacteria duke it out to the bitter end. So, what happens when your gut health is compromised?
Your gut contains millions of tight junctions, or small gaps, which allow nutrients and water to pass from your gut and into your bloodstream. As bad gut bacteria batter away at your gut lining, those junctions loosen. As a result, foreign and hostile particles are able enter your bloodstream and lead to serious health issues, kind of like a trojan horse behind enemy lines. This condition has been informally dubbed “leaky gut syndrome”.
The extent of a leaky gut’s negative effect on the human body is an ongoing topic of debate in the medical community. Though it has yet to be formally labeled as a clinical syndrome, leaky gut has become the starting point for many doctors in treating myriad problems including allergies, skin conditions, migraines, brain fog, asthma, and autoimmune disease.
What Causes Poor Gut Health?
Lifestyle factors such as alcohol abuse, smoking, and lack of sleep are prevalent causes of gut damage. Additionally, certain foods are known to cause serious inflammation in the body. That inflammation starts in the gut, irritating and breaking down stomach and intestinal tissue, and causing a leaky gut. Some of the most common offenders are:
- Refined sugar and carbohydrates
- Highly processed vegetable oil (canola, peanut, etc.)
- Preservatives and additives commonly used in processed foods
If you’ve ever done a Whole30, you may have noticed that this list has a lot in common with the Whole30 list of “no”foods. If you’re not familiar with Whole30, it’s an elimination program wherein you remove inflammatory foods from your diet entirely, and systematically re-introduce them to identify the things that irritate your body. I highly recommend you learn more here.
How to Fix Your Gut
To start, try a Whole30. If you’re not up to a Whole30, at least start removing the inflammatory foods I listed above foods from your diet. And be diligent about it.
Next, just as inflammatory foods can cause gut damage, certain nutritious foods are more useful in helping to repair gut damage. Foods that contain probiotics such as yogurt, apple cider vinegar, kimchi and sauerkraut are great for boosting healthy bacteria. But if your stomach lining is already compromised, you’ll also need to start eating foods that are high in amino acids and protein to help your body tighten up those junctions.
Bone broth, when made properly, contains copious amounts of collagen, an essential type of protein with 4 specific amino acids that your body needs to repair a leaky gut.
- The amino acid that helps to repair your intestinal lining, all the while boosting your immune system.
- A natural stimulant for stomach acid, a key part of combatting acid reflux and keeping things moving through your gut.
- This is the amino acid responsible for the human growth hormone, an obvious necessity when your body is working to repair a wound. It also boosts your metabolism and assists in proper kidney function.
- Last but not least, proline helps with your skin elasticity and preventing joint health.
This cocktail of amino acids found in collagen makes good bone broth the ideal tool when working to repair your gut.
Limited Time Offer
In observance of National Bone Broth Day (Jan. 19) all Bare Bones broth is on sale today!
How to Know the Best Bone Broth
The best way to ensure you’re getting the best bone broth is to make it yourself. If you’re like me though, you really don’t want a stock pot simmering in your home for 24+ hours every week. Then there’s the cleanup. But if you buy bone broth, how do you know it’s made properly.
As a trained chef who takes his nutrition and fitness very seriously, I co-founded Bare Bones because I could not find a good broth made to my standards. We start with bones from pastured, responsibly raised animals and slow simmer them for 24+ hours. This crucial simmer time gives the collagen ample time to transfer from the bones and into the broth, creating a delicious protein-dense amino acid superfood.
Protein Content. The protein content in bone broth is a dead giveaway. If the nutrition facts show the broth contains 1-2 grams of protein per serving, it is not what you’re looking for. This is a sign that the broth has been diluted to the point where the protein content is benign. You want broth with 8+ grams of protein per serving.
Sourcing. Don’t rely solely on the protein content of broth alone. If you’re looking for a broth to help repair your gut, it matters where the protein came from. The best bone broth is made with bones of grass-fed, pastured animals who had a good life. This makes all the difference in the quality of the amino acids, not to mention the nutritional benefits and environmental responsibility that come from consuming healthy meat products. And if your broth comes from animals who ate junk, where do you think that junk ends up in the broth-making process?
Bare Bones is Organic and GAP certified. All of our meat products have been verified to be organic, pasture raised, and grass-fed on farms in the USA.