Have you had the flu or an infection recently, and did you need to take antibiotics or painkillers?
Whilst necessary in certain situations, both antibiotics and painkillers are harsh on the digestive tract, and can trigger imbalances in the health of your gut. Antibiotics kill bad bacteria, but they also wipe out the ‘good guys’ – beneficial intestinal flora that helps support the health of your entire body. Good bacteria in the gut help to stop the bad bacteria and unfriendly fungi from ‘setting up shop’ in your gut, so to speak, and the most recent scientific research suggests that it can take months to re-establish the balance after antibiotic treatment. Having an overgrowth of bad guys in the gut can give you digestive upsets like diarrhoea, gas and bloating, as well as affect parts of the body that you would not think were connected – like your moods, your weight, food intolerances and your resistance to infections. If your gut isn’t in great shape, then you can be eating a nutritious diet and not actually be absorbing nutrients as well as you should either.
You can help repair your gut lining by avoiding processed, packaged, sugary foods, eating plenty of fruit and vegies, good quality protein such as lean meat/chicken/fish and drinking enough water. Make some bone broth (a simple stock that you can use as a base for soups and stews, or as a hot drink) as this contains valuable nutrients that help to encourage repair of the gut lining. Take a good-quality probiotic supplement, as these are good bacteria in a concentrated form that help re-establish a healthy balance and speed up the repair process. It can also be helpful to include some fermented foods in your day-to-day diet, as these also contain plenty of beneficial bacteria.