Eating Grains Is Like Getting Kicked in the Guts!?!
Moving away from a high grain, high processed food diet is the best way we have to move to a healthier way of life. The amount of research linking grains and processed foods to disruptions to the intestinal lining of our digestive system, and correlates to the subsequent increased incidence of autoimmune disorders, or systemic inflammation is growing rapidly.
So, eat grains, you can develop a permeable intestine, what is referred to as leaky gut. That is only one negative side effect. Two other side effects of a westernized diet are low stomach acid (Hypochlorydia), and SIBO, small intestine bacterial overgrowth. Both are interrelated as some may find out.
Low stomach acid disrupts the ability to properly digest food in the stomach. A high carbohydrate diet, one rich in grains, can lead to a decrease in stomach acid. Low stomach acid leads to a disruption in nutrient absorption in the small intestine, as well as bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine. Decreased stomach acid leads to foods being improperly digested, meaning protein is not broken down as well, and neither is carbohydrate. This carbohydrate then is fed on by the bacteria in your small intestine, producing hydrogen gas, which allows the bacteria to make more of itself, to prey on the undigested carbohydrates making the way to small intestine. This gas build-up creates pressure which causes stomach acid to spew into your esophagus causing pain which we know as heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). A typical western response is to take a medicine created by big Pharma to rid the symptom instead of taking care of the underlying cause. The underlying cause is diet. Now that we are on a very limited grain diet, lets try to naturally fix some of the things which may be broken or working improperly in us.
How can we increase our stomach acid? Help to repair our leaky guts? Help us digest food better? Well, one of the easiest way is to use naturally occuring herbal remedies. Farmacy Herbs in Providence has a bunch of herbal remedies to help remedy some of the damage years of grain usage may have caused.
Bitter herbs such as Dandelion, Yarrow and Catnip, trigger our bodies physiological response to the bitter taste. The reflex to this bitter taste is stimulation of the salivary glands, stomach, pancreas, small intestine and liver producing digestive juices, and stimulation of bile production and release. This is a recommended therapy along with Apple Cider Vinegar for Low Stomach Acid. If you have heartburn, before you go on any antacid medicines, try taking a TBSP of apple cider vinegar a day and a bitter tea. If this does not correct your problem, you can try adding a digestive enzyme supplement.
To coincide with the production of stomach acid, which is necessary and most antacid remedies suppress (hence why they are not recommended since they just accentuate the ongoing problem), demulcent herbs may be of aid to you. Demulcents, like Marshmallow, Licorice, Slippery Elm Bark, help form a mucusy film which acts as a protective barrier on irritated or inflammed tissue, soothing the tissue, as well as helping to repair it. The also help to make your colon more slippery (something I know you all were concerned with!) thereby helping with constipation (if it is a problem for you).
Astringent Herbs like yarrow, rosemary, horsetail, shepards purse, and meadowsweet have chemicals called tannins. tannins tighten up tissues throughout the whole digestive tract. They can help reduce inflammation in the digestive tract.
Lastly, taking a probiotic to help restore a healthy gut bacteria or making your own fermented foods, like kim-chee or sauerkraut, can also help restore a healthy gut.