Nutrition and Healing
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  • Heal your gut with Paleo

    Go with your gut.

    If you ask me, that’s some of the best advice out there. Your health begins and ends with your gut — and we could all use a good “gut check” every now and then.

    And that’s especially true if you have one of the painful conditions associated with inflammatory bowel disease, like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.

    When I see a new patient with IBD, I’m not surprised if they tell me they’ve been suffering from symptoms like abdominal cramps and diarrhea for years.

    I might not be able to get rid of their conditions entirely, but new research confirms what I’ve been practicing all along: Getting to the root cause of the symptoms can mean the difference between having more good days than bad.

    And when it comes to IBD, you can bet that the food you eat is the root cause of your flare-ups.

    In the new study, Canadian researchers asked patients with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or an unspecified type of IBD to fill out a food diary.

    At the time, 40 percent of them were actively having symptoms of an IBD flare-up — and those were the same folks who ate more carbohydrates.

    That makes sense to me, since IBD is characterized by chronic inflammation. And you know what triggers inflammation?

    CARBS.

    Now, if you’ve been reading my eTips for a while now, you know that I advocate the low- to no-carb dietary approach known as the Paleo diet. But, in truth, it’s really difficult to eliminate ALL carbohydrates from your diet.

    So, when I recommend that you cut the carbs, what I really mean is obvious starchy foods and refined carbohydrates like white potatoes, pasta, crackers, and bread.

    Those are known as “fermentable” carbohydrates — and they’re the same ones that trigger flare-ups of IBS.

    And that means that going Paleo is a good first step in beating back your IBD symptoms, but it may not be enough.

    The list of OTHER foods that contain those fermentable carbohydrates may surprise you — because it includes all dairy, as well as cherries, plums, prunes, mangos, apples, bananas, and avocados.

    Mushrooms, cauliflower, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, garlic, onions, beans, lentils, and soybeans all make the list, too.

    Many of those sources of (what I would consider “healthy”) carbohydrates are part of the perfectly wonderful array of Paleo-friendly foods — unless you’ve got IBD.

    Not all folks with IBD will have to eliminate all of these sources of carbs — and what triggers your flare-up may not trigger the next guy’s. So, experiment with eliminating some of these to see if you feel better.

    Be sure to take probiotics with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria and CFUs that are in the billions.

    If the store-bought kind aren’t enough, ask your doctor about a “medical food”-grade probiotic called VSL#3 — it’s 100 times MORE potent than the average probiotic (which is why you need a prescription for it).

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