Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates once said, “Let food be thy medicine.”
From regulating your hormones to providing a natural source of energy, the food we put in our bodies can create positive changes and reverse or minimize symptoms for a variety of chronic conditions.
Your gut, otherwise known as the gastrointestinal tract, is the key to having a healthy body. When our gut health is out of balance, there’s no doubt that other issues will arise.
Aside from digesting food and excreting waste, the gut plays a big part in warding off illness–about 70% of the cells that make up our immune system are in the wall of our gut.
Unfortunately, many Americans consume a highly processed, high-sugar, high-fat, low-fiber diet.
These poor dietary choices, along with stress and environmental toxins, have led to significantly altered gut bacteria, leading to poor overall health.
The good news is that there are several foods that possess gut-cleansing powers.
If you sense it’s time for a natural re-boot to your gastrointestinal tract, read on to learn of five edible gut cleansers that will improve your overall health.
#1 Dark Leafy Greens
Kale, bok choy, arugula–take your pick of any one of these (and more) delicious dark leafy greens that are chock-full of fiber, an essential component for cleaning up your gut.
These greens also have no shortage of minerals and antioxidants that can help our bodies ward off the toxins that are rampant in many of the environments we live and work in.
You can of course eat these raw in salads (or perhaps thrown into a green smoothie), but if you tend to have issues with digestion, it might be better to cook them.
Try sautéing or steaming them, or making a simple soup with other high-fiber vegetables.
Another pro tip–You can ensure the vitamins in the greens get properly absorbed into your system by adding in a healthy fat (such as olive oil or avocado) and acid (lemon juice or vinegar).
#2 Apples and Apple Cider Vinegar
Yes, it’s an overused phrase, but there is some truth to “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
Apples are not only high in fiber, but they are also rich in pectin, a carbohydrate compound that acts as a thickening agent inside the gut.
This thickening of pectin strengthens the intestinal lining and helps rid the colon of toxins that have built up over time.
Apple cider vinegar is another form of the fruit that has been a recent rockstar ingredient in the health food movement, but it’s nothing new.
In addition to the Babylonians and Samurai warriors in Japan, Hippocrates believed in the healing properties of vinegar.
#3 Fermented Foods
With an estimated 100 trillion bacteria living in the gut, it’s important to take steps to improve the ratio of good to bad bacteria.
This can be done by eating foods that contain probiotics, which are essentially healthy types of bacteria.
You can incorporate more probiotics in your diet by introducing more fermented, probiotic-rich foods, such as kimchi, sauerkraut, and miso, or even fermented beverages like kombucha tea and kefir.
#4 Chia and Flax Seeds
Chia and flax seeds are tiny but mighty seeds that have great gut-cleansing abilities due to the fact that, when soaked in water, they enlarge and develop a gelatin-like coating.
They are also high in fiber, which, as mentioned before, is instrumental in helping to flush out the stomach.
These small seeds can be added to puddings, smoothies, morning porridge or even sprinkled on salads!
#5 Pure Water and Sea Salt
Dehydration is not your friend. If you find yourself being dehydrated often, this can lead to constipation, which triggers a buildup of toxins in the colon.
You may have heard this piece of advice before, but I’m going to reiterate it–aim to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water each day.
Take it a step further by adding a pinch of sea salt to your water which will also go a long way toward detoxification.
Pay heed to what Hippocrates said, and make sure your kitchen and pantry are stocked with a few (if not all!) of the foods listed above.
In doing so, you’ll be able to flush your system of any toxic buildup, lose weight easier, improve digestion, and replenish your energy.
Apple cider vinegar isn’t just good for gut health–it can be used as an effective remedy for sore throats. If you find yourself catching an end-of-summer cold, read on to learn how to prepare this remedy for relief.