How to improve gut health with a gut cleanse?

Your gut health is extremely vital in keeping your overall health in check. Without a healthy digestive system, you will experience discomforts that may hinder you from doing your everyday responsibilities in life.

Worse, you may develop diseases that require medication and maintenance. One way to prevent such things is to have a habit of cleansing your gut.

Some acute digestive problems are caused by consuming unhealthy foods, overeating, stress or infections.

These are pretty much the minor ones; however, if left unattended, they may develop into chronic diseases. Hence, the first step to a healthy gut is gut cleansing. 

What is gut cleanse? 

Gut cleanse is also commonly known as colon cleansing. It is often associated when a person is being prepared for medical procedures like colonoscopy. However, it is also being used for detoxification purposes–making your gut clean. 

Although the idea of colon cleansing and gut cleansing is the same, they have two different procedures. The colon cleansing term is typically used to refer to the process being done before a medical procedure.

Large amounts of water around 16 gallons or 60 litres are being flushed into your colon through a tube inserted into the rectum. The water is left to sit in the colon for a short time before being removed–this is called an enema.

However, with gut cleansing, the term is used more for consuming food and liquid, changing lifestyle and taking supplements or herbs to cleanse the gut.  

On the other hand, gut cleansing is actually unnecessary since your digestive system and bowel can clean that part of your body on their own. They can technically eliminate bacteria and waste material from your body.

But, of course, it would not hurt to help your digestive system in cleansing, especially if you feel bloated, experiencing different stomach issues and have not pooped for days. 

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Importance of gut cleansing

Although your digestive system’s main function is to filter the ones that your body needs and remove those you don’t, you can boost your gut health through gut cleansing.

Keeping your gut healthy can improve your overall health as it plays a vital role in absorbing water, minerals and essential vitamins for your body to function healthily.

By gut cleansing, you can aid your body in eliminating unnecessary substances or toxins in your digestive system, making you feel light and good about your overall health. 

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Two ways of colon cleansing

Generally, there are two ways of colon cleansing. These are the following: 

Through powdered or liquid supplements

With this way, you take supplements that help in cleansing your colon orally. The idea is to aid your colon in expelling its contents.

Powdered or liquid supplements can be found in different health food stores, supermarkets and pharmacies. These can be enemas, laxatives and herbal teas. 

Colon irrigation (high colonics)

This procedure has similarities with enema, but it needs much more water. During colon irrigation, a small tube is inserted into your rectum in which a low-pressure pump or a gravity-based reservoir flushes several gallons of water.

Then, your abdomen will be massaged so you can release the water like a regular bowel movement, making you flush out fluids and waste. The session typically lasts for an hour [1]. 

Steps in gut cleansing 

While colon cleansing is much more on the medical side, you can simply do your cleansing by changing your health habits in what we call gut cleansing. Here are some of the steps in gut cleansing: 

1. Drink plenty of water

As the concept of cleansing is to flush out some fluids or wastes, drinking plenty of water is essential. Water helps in digestion and bowel movement and ensures that you get all the nutrients from your consumed food. Not just that, water can also help in lessening bad bacteria causing intestinal issues [2]. 

2. Manage stress

Stress can cause you a lot of health problems and yes, including digestive system issues. In fact, reducing your stress can help in improving your gut microbiome.

Here’s what normally happens when you are stressed: your body goes into either fight or flight mode. It also shuts down any system that you can’t use to fight or run, including your digestion; hence, it gives you digestive issues. 

3. Avoid sugar, saturated fats and preservatives

As much as possible, prevent yourself from taking sugar, saturated fats and preservatives if you want to improve your gut health.

On the other hand, when you are doing a gut cleansing, you must strictly avoid all these three substances. This is because sugar, saturated fats and preservatives put toxins in your gut. 

4. Get better sleep

Having better sleep can enhance your overall health, including your gut health. In fact, there is a study proving that having enough sleep has an effect on your diverse gut microbiome.

When you get better sleep, your gut can have diverse and abundant bacteria, making your digestive system efficient in functioning [3]. 

5. Eat gut-cleansing foods

Eating the right food is also a must in gut cleansing. Preferably, you must eat broccoli, cauliflower, dark leafy greens, ginger, oatmeal, some teas, in-season fruit and bone broth.

Some fermented foods, such as kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha and yoghurt must be added to your meals as well.

This is because they can aid in adding good bacteria to your gut. Fibre can also help as it can manage your bowel movements.

Some fibre-rich foods are Brussels sprouts, kale and spinach, organic milk and raspberries. 

6. Create a timeline and method 

In order to successfully cleanse your gut, you have to create when and how you will do it. Your timeline should depend on your lifestyle and schedule, as it can be really tricky.

Your bowel movement may change and can disrupt your normal days. So, creating a timeline and method is a must. 

7. Add a supplement or herbs 

As mentioned above, taking oral supplements or herbs can help in cleansing your colon or gut. You can also try to find brands in the market that work for you.

This can help in your cleansing on a regular basis as you can just simply take them anytime, anywhere [4].

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What foods can you eat during a gut cleanse?

If you’re looking to support and rejuvenate your gut health, the foods you choose play a pivotal role. Let’s discuss some food choices that not only taste great but also bolster your gut health.

1. Fresh vegetables

  • Leafy greens: Spinach, kale, and chard come packed with fiber, which assists in moving waste through your digestive tract.
  • Root vegetables: Carrots, beets, and sweet potatoes are not only flavorful but also rich in essential vitamins and minerals.

2. Fruits

  • Berries: Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries have antioxidants and fiber.
  • Apples: They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, and with its pectin content, it also supports gut health.

3. Probiotic-rich foods

  • Yogurt: Always opt for plain, unsweetened versions to sidestep added sugars.
  • Fermented vegetables: Think sauerkraut and kimchi. These veggies introduce beneficial bacteria into your digestive system.

4. Whole grains

  • Quinoa: A versatile grain that’s gluten-free and packed with protein.
  • Oats: A bowl of oatmeal can be both comforting and a boon for your digestive health.

5. Hydrating liquids

  • Water: Essential for digestion and absorption, make sure you’re drinking enough throughout the day.
  • Herbal teas: Opt for teas like chamomile or peppermint, which can be soothing for the stomach.

6. Healthy fats

  • Avocado: It’s creamy, delicious, and great for gut health.
  • Olive oil: Drizzle it on salads or use it for cooking; this oil is a gut-friendly choice.

Signs you need gut cleanse

Basically, people who have poor gut health should do a gut cleanse every once in a while, depending on their condition. There are signs that you can observe to know if you need gut cleansing: 

1. Your poop is not normal

When your poop does not look right, it is a sign that you have poor gut health. But how do you know that your poop is normal, right?

Basically, it is more on the frequency of your bowel movements. The normal pooping times should be around three times per day to three times per week.

However, it is still different for all of us. You can also ask for a fecalysis if you need to be assured that you don’t have some digestive issues [5]. 

Some common symptoms telling you that you need gut cleansing are frequent inflammation, poor nutrient absorption and cell dysfunction.

Additionally, struggling to lose weight can be a major issue that a gut cleanse can help with. 

2. You feel moody, anxious or depressed

Serotonin, a happy hormone, is a major factor affecting your mood, sleep and appetite, and it is primarily made in your gut. Your gut helps supply tryptophan–a nutrient needed to make serotonin–into your brain.

Hence, your diet plays an important role in making you feel good and also in supporting your mental health. Ensure to eat bananas, chicken, turkey, milk and eggs, as these are all rich in tryptophan. 

3. You feel stressed

When you are stressed, your gut must support you, but if you have an unhealthy gut due to low numbers of good bacteria, it may worsen. The levels of the hormone cortisol in the body increase when you are stressed.

This can also eventually lead to depression and other fatal health issues. To avoid this, prepare and eat a healthy diet or do gut cleansing from time to time to remove toxins in your body. 

4. Experiencing bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, pain or excessive gas

These are all the most common signs of gut dysbiosis–an imbalance of gut microbiota that makes your gut unhealthy.

When you have an imbalance of gut bacteria or a poor intestinal ecosystem, you may experience bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, pain or excessive gas. You can aid your gut by doing gut cleansing [6]. 

5. Craving for more sugar

Consuming foods that are high in refined sugar or processed foods actually empowers your bad bacteria, causing them to multiply.

When this happens, you crave more sugar. Moreover, high levels of bad bacteria feed on your gut wall, which is crucial to you because this may lead to leaky gut syndrome. 

6. Food intolerances

If you have food intolerances, there must be something wrong in your gut. Although this is not a life-threatening problem, it is a great relief to remove this, right?

Some of its symptoms are bloating, gas, diarrhoea, pain, nausea or even skin problems and headaches. A gut cleanse may help in restoring quality and balance gut bacteria. 

Final takeaway

Maintaining optimal gut health is fundamental to our holistic well-being. While our body naturally detoxifies, modern-day stressors and dietary habits can strain this system. 

Gut cleansing, differing from colon cleansing, provides an approach to support our digestive health. Adopting a diet rich in fiber, probiotics, and natural foods, combined with stress management and healthy lifestyle choices, can promote a balanced gut environment.

Recognizing signs, such as altered bowel patterns or cravings, can indicate a need for gut rejuvenation. Embracing these practices not only ensures a healthy gut but also contributes to our overall health and vitality.

FAQs

How can I clean my gut and improve my gut health?

To clean your gut and improve gut health, adopt a balanced diet rich in fiber, fermented foods, and prebiotic foods, and consider reducing processed foods and sugars. Regularly drinking water, managing stress, and avoiding antibiotics when not necessary can further promote a healthy gut environment.

What is the fastest way to cleanse your gut?

The fastest way to cleanse your gut is by drinking plenty of water, increasing fiber intake through fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and temporarily cutting out processed foods, caffeine, and sugar. Probiotic supplements or fermented foods can also help restore beneficial gut bacteria.

How do you clear a bad gut?

To clear a bad gut, focus on eliminating triggers like processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and excessive alcohol, and incorporate gut-supporting foods like bone broth, fermented foods, and fiber-rich vegetables. 

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[1] https://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/natural-colon-cleansing-is-it-necessary 
[2] https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/152/1/171/6395031 
[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6779243/ 
[4] https://www.healthcanal.com/nutrition/how-to-clean-your-gut 
[5] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/colon-cleansing/faq-20058435 
[6] https://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/nutrition/the-14day-gut-cleanse-that-actually-works/news-story/2ccf547974ee8f3a9c6e787a0f1320d0 

Photograph: Billion Photos/Shutterstock
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