Sometimes, the laundry list of symptoms that we simply become accustomed to managing are actually down to one larger underlying condition.
For me, I spent the longest time struggling with a whole host of symptoms: irregular blood sugar, chronic constipation, unexplained nausea, fatigue, irregular periods, acne, and PMS.
It wasn’t until I discovered that these medical conditions were a result of inflammation in my gut that I was able to take control over my own health.
If you suspect some of the health conditions you’re experiencing might be due to inflammation within your gut, there are a number of ways you can counteract this.
Here are tips that can help reduce inflammation and set you on the path to improving your overall gut health.
1. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet
Reduce your intake of highly processed foods, refined carbs, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and alcohol. Opt instead for anti-inflammatory foods like:
- Fruits: deeply colored berries such as grapes and cherries
- Vegetables: broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower
- Spices: turmeric, fenugreek, and cinnamon
- Healthy fats: Olive oil and coconut oil
2. Try an elimination diet
If you suspect that certain foods are triggering inflammation in your gut, it might be worth giving an elimination diet a try.
This involves removing foods from your diet that you suspect are linked to your gut issues for roughly two to three weeks at a time. Some of the foods you may want to try removing include:
- citrus fruits
- nightshade vegetables
- foods containing gluten
While you’re not consuming these specific foods, you can note any changes that you see.
You should then slowly reintroduce these foods back into your diet over the course of two to three days, while noting any specific symptoms that might take place.
3. Reduce your stress levels
Stress is linked to inflammation, so try to find activities that can help you to relax, even for just a few moments at a time. Whether it’s meditation, a bubble bath, going for a walk, yoga, or simply taking some deep breaths, these practices are actually key to long-term health.
It’s shown that when we get out of fight-or-flight mode, we can manage our functional gastrointestinal disorders better.
4. Take probiotics
Try taking probiotics which can help promote healthy gut bacteria and fight bad gut bacteria.
5. Ensure you’re getting the right amount of nutrients
It’s important that your body has vital nutrients that help fight inflammation like B vitamins, omega-3s, vitamin D, and magnesium. If you can, get tested to find out if your body is lacking any specific nutrients.
The bottom line
Inflammation within your gut can cause a host of unwanted health symptoms, from chronic constipation and fatigue to irregular periods.
A few changes to your diet and lifestyle, however, might just be the key to helping you improve your gut health and control these symptoms.
If you’re concerned about your gut health or if your inflammation persists, consider visiting your doctor.
Kate Kordsmeier is a food journalist turned real-food blogger after her own chronic health issues catapulted her into a long journey of trying to find the right treatment. Today, she writes full-time for her blog, Root + Revel, a natural living site that aims to help people strike the balance between good and good for you.