Your gut is home to over 1,000 different species of bacteria, and each one of these microorganisms works independently to help your body function on a day-to-day basis.1 The billions of bacteria and other microorganisms that exist in the lower intestine are what make up the gut microbiome. The gut microbiome doesn’t just help with digestion, it also aids your metabolism, immune function, brain health and more. When your gut microbiome is healthy, you are healthy too; what you feed it can have a massive impact on your overall well-being, from how energized you feel to how susceptible you are to illness. To figure out how best to support your gut health, we’ll explore why you should cleanse your gut regularly, some gut-healthy foods to integrate into your diet and what we mean when we talk about “gut rest.”
Why You Should Cleanse Your Gut
One of the primary functions of the gut is to digest and absorb nutrients, along with excreting waste. When your gut microbiome is out of balance, it does not digest efficiently, which can lead to health problems down the line. Some signs that your gut microbiome is out of balance include upset stomach, fatigue, inflamed skin and weight gain. Cleansing your gut can be achieved in a number of ways, including doing an easy digestive tract cleanse, avoiding certain foods and medications, and consuming other foods. When you cleanse your gut, you help your body expel toxins that have built up in the system over time, paving the way for better immunity, more efficient digestion, increased energy, clearer skin and even enhanced brain function.
Learning how to cleanse your gut doesn’t have to mean starving yourself. There are a number of foods you may already eat or want to try that can help your body naturally expel toxins and protect your gut microbiome from toxin buildup. Foods that cleanse your gut include:
Fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, kombucha and pickles2
Dark, leafy greens like kale and spinach3
Wild-caught salmon and cod8
Understanding “Gut Rest”
When people use the term “gut rest,” they’re often referring to fasting, in which you only consume water for a number of days (or hours of the day as in intermittent fasting), giving the digestive system a break. However, the problem with fasting (beyond leaving you hungry) is that it robs the body of nutrients, vitamins and minerals that it needs to function properly.
We think that a healthier version of “gut rest” is in consuming gut-cleansing foods, avoiding other foods and products that wreak havoc in the gut, and hydrating often. This feeds your gut with the nutrients it needs and aids the body in expelling toxins naturally. In giving your gut a rest and helping it reset with healthier foods and water, it’s also a good idea to know which foods and products to stay away from. Sugar, alcohol and processed foods can all disrupt the gut microbiome. Studies also show that some common medications like antibiotics, NSAIDs and antidepressants can disrupt the gut microbiome as well.10
We know that if you’re battling a cold or flu, it can be tempting to reach for an over-the-counter medication to relieve undesirable symptoms like a stuffy nose or relentless cough. However, using a product like Brillia Health, which uses antibody science to target the specific source of the symptoms without harsh chemicals, means you’re addressing your illness and stimulating your immune system without adding to toxin buildup in the body. Our homeopathic formulations help to reduce cold and flu severity and duration and control coughing, helping your body heal itself without the common side effects associated with other drugs like grogginess, jitteriness, and dry mouth. Find out more about how Brillia Health products work.
Erica Garza is an author and essayist from Los Angeles and a mother of one. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and a certificate in Narrative Therapy. Her writing has appeared in TIME, Health, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Women's Health, and VICE.