The Most Common Gut Health Complaints
Let’s face it. We’re all guilty of trying to self-diagnose our symptoms. How many of you google about your issues in the middle of the night or when you’re feeling sick during the day? Due to all of your attempts to play doctor, a probiotic company used Google Trends data to determine which are the most common gut complaints per state. The company broke it down into diagnosis as well as symptom. I’m going to highlight a few of the most common complaints today and discuss your best path forward to healing. This blog is not a substitute for a visit with your medical provider. My hope is that it will help you make the next best step while you wait for your next doctor visit or test results to be released. I am sure my top 12 anti-inflammatory foods list will help.
According to Optibac’s data analysis, the top five most searched gut complaints include gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), ulcerative colitis, gastritis, food poisoning and lactose intolerance. The most common symptoms searched across the entire United States included constipation, diarrhea and gas. (1) These results are not surprising to me. This data represents my clientele’s primary concerns. How about you? Can you relate to any of these health issues?
Probiotics and Gut Health
Optibac, a probiotic company, provided information regarding each of the diagnoses and explained the side effects of each. Their emphasis was on the benefit of probiotics for each of these ailments. (1) I agree that probiotics can help many people improve the diversity and function of the intestinal tract. But there is something missing. It doesn’t matter how many probiotic pills you take on a daily basis if the foundation is weak. It’s like a house. You can set up as many walls and structural beams to keep the house upright but if the foundation is inadequate, the house will cave. This is also the case with the gastrointestinal tract. We need to nourish it on a daily basis with a balanced diet. Food is the foundation of your body, especially your gut. Instead of wasting time with google searches, use that energy to make food choices that will help you feel better. And maybe, you won’t be up in the middle of night googling.
Gut Health and Inflammation
Each of the previously mentioned gut complaints has one commonality: inflammation. You can help reduce your inflammatory response by limiting white flour-based products, fried food, processed meats, and trans fats. Don’t focus on what you should avoid. Instead, make sure to include the following 12 ingredients of my anti-inflammatory foods list in your daily diet. You don’t need to include all of them. Pick your favorites and start to add them to your favorite dishes.
My Top 12 Anti-Inflammatory Foods List to Reduce Inflammation and Improve Your Gut Health:
- Fatty Fish
- Leafy Greens
- Olive Oil
Tips to get you started with my anti-inflammatory food list:
- AVOCADO: Eat guacamole. Instead of using chips, dip your favorite vegetables (radishes, carrots, broccoli) into your guacamole.
- BERRIES: Eat them fresh as a snack or make a berry bowl with a home-made whipped cream for dessert. Here is my favorite tool for a quick whipped cream (see dairy-free whipping cream recipe below). If you don’t want to buy another kitchen appliance, here is a traditional recipe that only requires a sturdy whisk, strong arm and cold bowl.
- BROCCOLI: Make a salad out of your broccoli. My favorite recipe is steamed broccoli, tomatoes, artichoke hearts and your favorite Italian vinaigrette.
- CHERRIES: Sliced cherries are a great addition to any rice dish – I add mine to a wild rice and white rice combo.
- FATTY FISH: If you like fish, purchase wild caught fish (anchovies, mackerel, salmon or sardines) and let the fish shine. I dare you to make sardines your new home pantry staple (see one of my favorite at-home snack recipes below). Goodbye tuna, hello sardines. If you don’t like fish, try get omega 3 fats from the following sources: chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, walnuts and seaweed.
- GRAPES: Freeze them! Frozen grapes are game changer for a hot summer day.
- LEAFY GREENS: Have you ever had greens for breakfast? A mound of greens with lemon juice, olive oil and a couple of over easy eggs is one of my favorite weekend breakfast dishes.
- MUSHROOMS: If you are vegetarian or vegan, mushrooms are probably a commonly used ingredient. If mushrooms aren’t part of your dietary routine, start with adding a few mushrooms to your favorite stew recipe. Chop them up or buy them pre-sliced and drop them in the stew. No other prep necessary. It’s the perfect time of year for a warm and hardy meal like stew.
- NUTS: Use macadamia nuts as a crust for your favorite fish.
- OLIVE OIL: You should be making your salad dressings at home. And, extra virgin olive oil can be your base. It’s an easy way to eliminate the additives and extra salt and sugar of store-bought shelf stable salad dressings.
- TOMATOES: Roasted tomatoes on toast! Yum. If you can tolerate dairy, add a layer of your favorite cheese (ie. Ricotta or goat cheese) or try a dairy free option like Miyokos.
- TURMERIC: Make your own savory nut blend and use at parties or when you need a satisfying and flavorful trail mix. One of my go to blends is turmeric, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, and rosemary. Don’t forget salt and pepper.
Easy Recipes for Uncommon Anti-Inflammatory Foods:
Last, but not least, I want to make sure you have a starting point to implementing some of these foods that you might not have used before. Here’s two of my favorite recipes for sardines and a dairy-free whipping cream.
Sardine Spread Recipe
- 3 sardines (in oil, drained)
- 1 ½ Tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 ½ Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cucumber (sliced)
- Mash together the sardines, mayonnaise and apple cider vinegar.
- Serve alongside the cucumber or your favorite cracker and enjoy.
Coconut Milk Whipped Cream
- Canned Coconut Milk (Full Fat, refrigerate overnight)
- Place canned coconut milk in refrigerator overnight.
- Place mixing bowl in the fridge for 10 minutes before whipping.
- Scoop out the thicken cream from the can into the mixing bowl, and set aside the remaining coconut juice for other uses (like baking your favorite muffin or cornbread)
- Whip the coconut cream with a whisk or hand mixer, gradually working up to high speed for approximately 5 minutes. (Or try one of my absolute favorite tools for easy, fast whipped cream.)
Will you consider adding these 12 anti-inflammatory foods into your diet? If you need more info on how to do so, please reach out to me. If you are concerned about a more serious gut health problem that won’t be solved by lists found on the internet, visit my Services page to learn how I can help you personally.