How to improve your digestive health

Do you realise how important your digestive health is for your over-all health and well being?

Many people do not realise that several health concerns are actually due to poor digestive health! For example; bloating, constipation, food allergies/intolerances, indigestion, nutrient deficiencies and immune system dysfunctions can all be signs of poor gut health.

Breaking food down into nutrients is the process of digestion. The nutrients are then absorbed in to the blood stream. Thus, when the system is not working effectively food may not be getting broken down as it should be, and/or nutrients will not be absorbed properly.

Did you know that one of the main reasons for digestive issues is bacterial imbalance in your gut? Bellow I am outlining the key functions of your gut flora.

Gut flora is important for the following reasons :

  • Protects us from bad bacteria
  • Plays a role in the health and integrity of the gut
  • Aids appropriate digestion and absorption
  • Vitamin production
  • Detoxification
  • Immune system modulation

In a healthy person the gut flora made up of predominantly the beneficial/probiotic species of bacteria. When there is an imbalance many things can go wrong.

How can you improve and maintain the health of your gut flora and restore your gut health?

Healing relies on your diet (80%) and probiotics (20% supplements and probiotic foods).

One of the most recognised solution is the GAPS dietary protocol.

What is the GAPS diet?

Its a diet developed by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride that rebalances the gut flora. I am outlining it here in short:


GAPS diet has three different stages you need to go through:

  1. Introduction diet (2–7 weeks): You eat large amounts of nourishing substances to benefit the gut lining: amino acids, gelatine, glucosamine, fats, vitamins, minerals, probiotic foods etc. The gut lining constantly renews itself by shedding old enterocytes and giving birth to new ones.
  2. The full GAPS diet (1–2 years): This special diet requires you to avoid all the items that are on a list of forbidden foods while continuing with the foods you ate in the first seven weeks, including lots of probiotic foods.
  3. Coming off the GAPS diet: You start to gradually eat previously forbidden foods. Some people may be able to reintroduce all these foods into their diets, while others will never be able to resume a ‘normal’ diet.

The items you initially have to avoid on the GAPS diet include:

  • All grains and anything made out of them: wheat, rye, rice, oats, corn, maize, barley, buckwheat, millet, spelt, triticale, burghul, tapioca, quinoa, couscous etc. This will remove a lot of starch and all gluten from your diet
  • All starchy vegetables and anything made out of them: potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes, cassava, arrowroot and taro
  • Sugar and anything that contains it
  • Starchy beans and peas: soybeans, mung beans, garbanzo beans, bean sprouts, chickpeas and broad beans
  • lactose and anything that contains it: fluid or dried milk; commercially produced yoghurt, buttermilk and sour cream; processed foods with added lactose

For more information on implementing the full GAPS diet check out my GAPS workshop at Trupp Cooking School.

Or come and see me presenting a shorter vertion of this workshop focused on fermented foods: The lost art of fermentation – We run this class every second month as it is so popular.