Noticed any changes in your digestive system since switching to a paleo diet? Less bloated? Food intolerances or allergies calmed down? More regular bowel movements? Skin brighter?
Even if it wasn’t your original intention, adopting a paleo-style diet is a fantastic way to naturally heal your gut.
Being a naturopath, working with my clients to improve their digestion is at the forefront of my treatment plan. And for anyone who has suffered from any degree of digestive dysfunction, I’m sure you would agree how important a happy digestive system is for experiencing overall vitality and wellness.
The good news? The Paleo Diet pretty much serves up a mini gut healing protocol in its natural form.
So how is the Paleo Diet helping to heal your gut?
Well, you’re doing it through 6 main ways:
1. Avoiding Lectins and Phytates
Legumes, grains and pulses all contain anti-nutrients known as phytates and a class of proteins termed lectins. Phytates bind to nutrients and inhibit their absorption in the gut, while lectins (including gluten) can irritate the gut wall and create inflammation.
Both of these substances within grains and legumes can create some undesirable side effects within the gut, showing up as bloating, wind and diarrhoea. By reducing or eliminating these from your diet, we allow the tissue within the gut to settle.
2. Quitting the Wheat
If you’re eating paleo, you’re probably aware of the damage gluten can play on our digestive tract. This one protein yields the power to inflame our gut lining, weakening its integrity and disturbing the good microbes that dwell there.
Beyond that, modern day wheat has been bred to contain toxins and chemicals that dramatically spike your blood sugar and attach to the reward centres in the brain. While these substances may make it a tougher crop, they also make this modern grain much tougher on our digestion and body to handle.
I think I can definitely say your gut thanks you for leaving wheat and gluten off your plate.
3. Decreasing the Processed Faux-Foods
Besides processed foods usually containing some form of gluten, dairy or soy, a diet high in processed sugar or carbohydrates can lead to an overgrowth of unwanted bacteria within the intestines. Once this occurs, your gut becomes the home of a whole host of digestive complaints, such as bloating, pain and changes to bowel habits.
Therefore, by consuming a paleo-friendly diet devoid of these faux-foods, you’re well on your path to a digestive tract full of friendly bacteria that will keep your immune system fighting fit!
4. Increasing the Good Stuff
While crowding out faux-food junk, an inevitable side effect is increasing your levels of nutrient dense foods. These then act to actually heal or prevent any further damage to the gut and kickstart the healing process. And what does the good stuff specifically look like?
Anti-inflammatory good fats found in seafood, eggs, coconut, avocado and grass fed meat, alkalising green leafy veggies and antioxidant -rich fruits and vegetables all soothe and heal weakened and inflamed digestion.
It is this winning combination of decreasing the damaging foods whilst increasing the good that really supercharges any healing journey.
5. Meat and Bones
Connective tissue in its most basic essence connects different tissue together. While we may be most familiar with the term connecting our muscles, tendons and ligaments to our bones, it is also the same tissue that keeps the cells of our digestive system tightly joined together.
However, if our gut becomes inflamed and weak, this connective tissue can begin to degenerate. Therefore, eating foods that naturally contain this connective tissue such as grass fed meat, bone broth and slow cooked meats; we’re providing our gut wall with a direct source of nutrients ready to heal any areas of weakened cell junctions.
6. Real Food Superfoods
Adopting a real food diet opens up a world of the ‘original’ superfoods.
Before we became green smoothie sippers and maca powder fans, we used serious food as medicine tools like healing bone broth and good bacteria promoting raw dairy, kefir, yoghurt and sauerkraut.
Adding these to any diet will supercharge it’s healing benefits, as we always absorb and utilise good bacteria and nutrients from food sources. Nothing beats food-as-medicine tools for health, and the Paleo diet delivers many of them!
Whether intentional or not, the naturally anti-inflammatory nature of the paleo diet has you gut on the path to healing and vitality! As a healthy gut is a primary foundation of a healthy body, take your brighter skin, increased energy levels and easier concentration as sweet bonuses of looking after your precious digestion!
We’d love to hear from you – have you discovered any changes occurring with your digestion once you transitioned onto the paleo diet? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
Claire Murray is a veggie loving naturopath, food + nutrition coach and creator of Claire’s Holistic Pursuits, a space dedicated to providing simple, holistic wisdom for living your healthiest life. Find more articles on how healthy eating can amplify your healing journey by checking out her blog here.
Connect with Claire via: