What we eat can truly impact our gut. Specific nutrients can help heal our intestinal lining, restore dysbiosis of our gut microbiome, and feed those incredible bacterial colonies so they can produce metabolites to support our immune system and reduce inflammation. Living with either dysbiosis or a damaged (or leaky gut) can, unfortunately, lead to a number of health issues, including autoimmune diseases. Today I’m giving you my top nutrients to restore, balance, and heal your gut.
Fiber is my top nutrient that I always encourage my clients to start eating when they embark on the gut-healing journey. This nutrient is actually a carbohydrate that your body cannot digest. While this may seem like it’s not really useful, it is one of the most important nutrients for gut health and overall health. In terms of gut health, fiber is actually a perfect food source for your gut microbiome.
The bacteria living in your colon feed on indigestible fibers and in turn, they produce something called short-chain fatty acids. Short-chain fatty acids play a very important role in regulating our immune system and suppressing inflammation. One of these really important short-chain fatty acids is butyrate. If you are following me on Instagram, I have an entire discussion on short-chain fatty acids and butyrate in my Instagram live video feed.
How does fiber work?
Fiber also slows down the digestion of sugars because it essentially gets in the way of your digestive enzymes causing them to work less efficiently. This nutrient is also not absorbed, so it doesn’t spike your blood sugar as your typical carbohydrates do. The best sources of fiber come from fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds. The daily recommended amount of fiber for women is 25 grams and 38 grams for men. This may seem like a lot but it is totally doable. If you estimate that one serving of a fruit or vegetable is around 3-5 grams of fiber, having two servings of fruits, vegetables, or beans at every meal will get you close to that 20 to 30 grams that you need.
Other boosters you can use include:
- Mixing green banana flour into soups or smoothies
- Grinding up flax or chia seeds and adding those to salads or soups
Just keep in mind that anytime you start to increase your fiber, your water intake has to increase proportionately to avoid constipation.
Collagen is a main structural protein and it’s rich in glycine, which is an amino acid that helps to stop gut inflammation and supports a balanced gut microbiome. It also contains glutamine and proline, which are two important nutrients as well. Glutamine also helps promote balance in the gut microbiome and helps control inflammation. Proline works to reseal the gut lining to stop any leakage from happening. The best sources of collagen are bone broth, animal meats, fish, and eggs. You can also purchase it as a supplement and mix it into smoothies, soups, or other beverages.
I love omega 3 fatty acids. In fact, I’ve written about them extensively on my blog. You’ll find that I’ve also spoken about them quite a bit on my Instagram live feed as well. These are fatty acids that your body cannot make on its own. That is actually why they’re called essential fatty acids because they are essential to your diet. Omega 3’s are known for their ability to reduce inflammation, but they also can improve intestinal permeability and support balance in the gut microbiome. The best sources of Omega 3’s are found in your SMASH fish.
Smash stands for:
You can also find omega 3’s in chia and flax seeds, and in walnuts.
While you cannot get slippery elm from food, it is a powerful herbal supplement that has been used for centuries to enhance wound healing and digestion. It has been shown to protect the mucosal barrier and promote a healthy and balanced microbiome as well. If you’re looking for a high-quality slippery elm supplement, you can check out my fullscript dispensary for my favorite supplements at a 10% discount.
There are several important nutrients to heal the gut and promote balance in your gut microbiome. The top nutrients are fiber, collagen, omega 3 fatty acids, and slippery elm. If you need additional support managing your gut issues or your autoimmune disease, please contact me for a free discovery call. You can also follow me on Instagram at @the.autoimmune.dietitian or Facebook at @annierubinnutrition or my website.