How GAPS Heals the Gut

Does it seem like there are more people suffering from autoimmune disorders, digestive problems, mental conditions and chronic illnesses?  Did you know many of these cases could be caused by leaky gut?  So what do we do about it?

I would suggest trying the GAPS diet.  It’s difficult to follow, but I think most of us would agree that good health is worth the cost.  I have yet to begin the diet, but I have faith that it will help my most stubborn issues.

If you don’t know much about GAPS, you might want to get a basic understanding of how this diet heals the gut.  Then you will be more motivated to start it for yourself, despite the challenges that come with it.


1.) You eat foods that repair the gut wall


Those who need GAPS are those with damaged guts, which require certain healing substances.  These can be found in the following foods:

·         Meat and Fish Stock-The bones and joints that are used to make stock contain some of the best properties for gut health. 
·         Pastured Poultry and Eggs
·         Grass-fed and Grass-finished Meat-With the skin and fat!
·         Grass-fed Organ Meat
·         Wild Caught Fish
·          Healthy Fats-Such as animal fats and cold pressed oils
·         Organic Fruits (in moderation) and Organic, Non-starchy Vegetables
·         Fermented Foods-An unhealthy gut lacks an adequate amount of good bacteria. Probiotic foods carry beneficial bacteria into our digestive system.  




Just as certain foods have the power to restore our health, so do certain other foods have the ability to compromise the gut’s health.  Consuming foods that are good for us is only part of the equation.  Complete healing cannot take place unless the foods that negatively affect the gut are taken out of the diet. 

Enterocytes  are cells in the small intestine that are responsible for absorbing the food we eat.  In an impaired digestive system , these cells get sick and cannot properly perform their job.  They are unable to break down double sugar molecules, which then stay in the gut and become food for pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

In addition, they cannot fully break down protein from peptides to single amino acids. Since the gut wall has been damaged by pathogens, these partially digested proteins slip though the gut wall, triggering an immune response

The enterocytes need a break, so the GAPS diet does not allow starchy veggies, grains or non-fermented dairy.  During this rest period the enterocytes get a chance to fully recover.

3.) You consume probiotics to populate the gut with good bacteria

   
Without enough good bacteria in the gut, food cannot be properly digested and absorbed.  As if that weren’t enough, probiotics keep dangerous bacteria, yeasts, and fungi under control.

That is why we must make a conscious effort to put good bacteria back into our bodies, using probiotic foods and probiotic supplements to accomplish this.  Both are necessary for healing, although food is always of greater importance.

4.) You starve the pathogenic bacteria


Pathogens feed on grains, sugar and starch.  That is why these foods, and food products that contain them, are completely eliminated from the GAPS diet.  The goal is to stop encouraging the growth of bad bacteria, viruses, and fungi. 

Now that you understand how GAPS works to heal the body, the next step is to learn more about the diet, supplements, and lifestyle changes that are involved.   


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