A ‘gut cleanse’ as the name suggests, detoxifies and nourishes your gut microbiome by terminating the overgrown bad bacteria, pathogens, free radicals, etc. It helps establish a well-balanced gut and immune system by getting rid of harmful invading germs and other things.
As we know, our liver and kidney function as natural detoxifiers of our gut microbiome. So, with what exactly do we need to aid our natural process?
The human body is an art, full of intricate details and wonders. You don’t always need to equip your body with antibiotics, medications, or even gut-cleansing pills. The body has every material required to fulfill each need. This is why our body tells us itself when it needs extra help in cleansing or detoxing.
- You have gained sudden extra weight within a small time. When your gut is high in toxin levels, it slows down your metabolism by miles.
- Chronic fatigue and brain fog. When your body becomes tired quickly or is unable to keep up with your regular day-to-day activities as before, it may be time to pay a little more attention to your gut health and diet.
- Inability to fall asleep or may suffer from bouts of insomnia. The previous point regarding extreme tiredness is caused by insomnia and sometimes vice versa. Thus, resulting in joint pain, muscle pain, headaches, etc. This also makes you feel restless and drained throughout the day, thereby negatively affecting your mood.
- Minor but sudden changes, like in your skin, hair, and nails, can even point out the gut microbial imbalance. Acne breakouts, rash, boil, dryness of hair and skin, hair thinning, etc.
- Gut inflammation and irregularity in your bowel movements. Your digestive system is unable to digest and absorb the harsh food products and inflammatory foods leading to indigestion, acid reflux, etc. Cleansing it once every while helps create a stronger immune system and promotes healthy digestion.
The importance of gut cleansing is often stressed in medical blogs and even by medical practitioners.
- Cleansing helps with proper nutrient absorption and helps to absorb water, minerals, electrolytes, etc. All these nutrients help in achieving a stronger immune system, healthy, healed and stronger bones, muscle development, tissue healing, repairing, etc. They also help with proper digestion, help remove pathogens, repair intestinal permeability, and rectify hormonal imbalances, and other gut-related symptoms.
- When toxins and metabolic waste overload in your gut, it heavily affects your circulatory system and cardiovascular health. Cleansing eliminates the risks of endangering the health of these vital organs.
Overgrowth of bad bacteria can undo all the healing progress of the gut. This infection is also called SIBO or Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. These parasitic illness-causing bacteria are responsible for dysbiosis, an imbalanced gut microbiome. Thereby causing a distressed gastrointestinal tract, increased intestinal permeability, leaky gut syndrome, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, etc.
- A healthy gut supports healthy muscle growth, repairs tissue, reduces muscle pain, and induces fat loss. This means, cleansing your gut can increase your chances to have the body of your liking by getting rid of excess fat and healing muscle inflammation. To see the best results in a short time, pair your gut-cleansing diet with regular exercise and routine rest.
- A related benefit to this protocol is healthy weight loss induced by a lack of processed, additive-added, and high-calorie foods. Your clean diet plans along with a healthy lifestyle pave way for you to achieve a lean body and help fight obesity.
The 4 Rs of gut healing are:
- Remove foods that damage the gut.
- Replace these foods with healthier options.
- Re-inoculate your gut with probiotics and prebiotics.
- Repair the lining of your gut.
Learn all about the 4 Rs of gut healing, including how to remove foods that damage the gut, replace them with healthier options and repair the lining of your gut. If you are suffering from any sort of gut problem, you can help it heal faster and more naturally by removing the inflammatory foods that damage it (such as gluten, sugar, dairy, etc.), replacing them with healthier options, and using a combination of probiotics and prebiotics. If you have a compromised gut, or have been exposed to toxins such as heavy metals, infections or pathogens, then you can repair the lining of your gut.
Gut health is more than just avoiding what you shouldn’t eat. It’s about keeping certain foods out of your body, replacing those foods, and feeding your gut with the right kind of goodies as well. Some of the most commonly oxidized and processed foods include white sugar, refined flour, industrial seed oils, and soy. You may also come across canned vegetables or such, with food additives and preservatives that are not good for your gut health, so make sure to boycott additives and preservatives. When the gut wall is damaged, things like yeast overgrowth can occur causing “leaky gut syndrome”. By removing foods that damage our intestines, we can start to heal them by replacing them with healthier options such as whole grains toast, nuts, and seeds. This helps repair the intestinal wall and help rebalance your gut flora.
#1. Remove (stress, allergens, pathogenic organisms)
Remove foods that damage your gut. It is the first step towards embracing a positive change in your health. When you eliminate such harsh foods from your diet, it makes it easier for your digestive system to break down, absorb, and utilize nutrients to give you a healthy gut and immune system.
Try to remove or reduce stress from every aspect of your life. Try to take things easy and at your pace without letting anxiety take over. Trying to get your mental health in order can help your physical health peak. Our physical health and mental health are intertwined to put it simply. They affect and influence each other severely. When stress takes over your body it negatively affects your gut, blood pressure levels, heart health, immune system, etc.
Remove allergens from your diet after a consultation with your dietician and doctor. Allergens are the reasons behind allergies and discomfort in your health, to put it simply. What may cause harmful reactions in your body may not do so for others. So, do not exclude any nutritious food items unless you are sure that it is an allergen for you. Cutting out allergens makes it easier for your digestive tract to digest, absorb and utilize the nutrients.
Pathogens and bad bacteria enter into your body through food, water, and air. The reason behind such infestation of harmful gut bacteria may arise from what sort of food you eat and the kind of environment you expose yourself to on a regular basis. These little pests can overgrow into your stomach walls, completely disrupting the natural balance of your gut microbiota. As the gut flora imbalance or dysbiosis starts happening, the lack of protective gut bacteria makes it easier for increased intestinal permeability and tear in the intestinal walls. Thereby causing severe harm to your gut walls, gut health, and your good gut bacteria.
Other items that you must remove from your diet are:
- Artificial sweeteners,
- Food additives,
- Refined starches,
- Saturated fatty acids and
- Trans-fatty acids.
Replace these gut health-damaging food options with healthier ones. The most recommended foods that you can include in your daily diet are foods that are low indigestible fiber foods, probiotic rich-foods, prebiotic foods, full of immune system healing vitamins, etc. Replace your diet with such gut health replenishing high fiber foods, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, Omega-3 fatty acids, foods rich in amino acids, anti-inflammatory herbs and spices, and natural herb-infused drinks. Try to consume foods that have nourishing abilities for – the proper production of digestive enzymes and stomach acid, liver health, kidney health, etc.
Some nutrients or other health-boosting foods may not be easily available to you or may cost more if you were to choose the better organic versions. In such cases, opt for supplements to replace such nutrients. Get on a restrictive anti-inflammatory diet at this particular stage. Foods recommended in this diet can help majorly to reduce inflammation, repair the intestinal lining, and ease the digestive process.
This process focuses on restoring the gut bacteria and reversing the harmful effects of any gut disorders like leaky gut, IBD, IBS, or dysbiosis. Re-inoculate your gut with probiotics and prebiotics to activate the healing process and support the building up of healthy bacteria, learn the significance and difference between prebiotics and probiotics from here.
Dysbiosis is one of the main enemies of your gut where your gut microbiome is overrun by bad bacteria and harm-causing germs or pathogens. This is induced by the unhealthy consumption of non-nutritious and processed foods.
When you change your diet to probiotic and prebiotic-rich foods, it helps your gut bacteria heal and recover. It is important to notice that stress is given to prebiotics and probiotics, more than other qualities. It is because they are the main help to restore and refurbish the gut microbiome with beneficial gut bacteria. Other foods include fermented foods, Oligosaccharides and Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), soluble fiber, and arabinogalactans.
Repair the lining of your gut with a high-quality formula of nutrients that work together, helping to restore the balance in your microbiome and build up healthy flora again. Thereby the last R is also considered to be Rebalance or Restore. This step ensures the healing process of your gut lining to avoid risks of the leaky gut syndrome, Inflammatory Bowel Disease or IBD, Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS, gastrointestinal inflammation, gastrointestinal acid reflux, etc.
How long do you follow this Gut Cleansing Protocol?
- The ‘Remove and Replace’ phases must work continuously and consistently for about 8-12 weeks in order to work effectively.
- The ‘Re-inoculate’ phase may take 6-12 weeks to show results.
- The “Repair” phase – within the 12 weeks of you consistently following this protocol, your digestive health will improve and the gut flora repairs noticeably.
Once you have successfully achieved your goal and have started experiencing all the benefits, slowly reintroduce additional foods to your diet. You will start to notice the gradual buildup of gut tolerance.
The foods that we highly recommend would be:
Prebiotics are a type of indigestible dietary fiber that stimulates the growth and healthy development of good bacteria in the gut. This is because prebiotics act as fodder for the healthy growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines. Foods like whole grains, organic and pure honey, fruits like bananas, apples, oranges, grapes, and berries, vegetables like asparagus, cabbage, and onions, legumes like lentils and beans, and dark chocolate, etc., are rich in prebiotics. Visit here to explore the list of Prebiotics Foods.
There are three main types of prebiotics:
- Inulin, which is found in onions and garlic. Inulin is a soluble fiber that is not broken down by human digestive enzymes. It acts as a substrate for the growth of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli.
- Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), which are found in bananas, asparagus, artichokes, and wheat. Fructo-oligosaccharides are short chains of fructose molecules that provide fuel for bifidobacteria to produce short-chain fatty acids like butyrate.
- Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), which can be found in dairy products or soybeans. Galacto-oligosaccharides are also chains of galactose molecules but they are broken down into glucose molecules by enzymes in the small intestine.
Prebiotics help maintains healthy microflora balance in the gut. They are said to be selective for certain types of good bacteria, and each type is thought to have a distinct role in health and disease conditions. However, this theory has been studied in various clinical research and studies, however solid evidence for this is yet to be declared.
Oligosaccharides and Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS)
Oligosaccharides are a type of carbohydrate that is not digested in the small intestine, but in the large intestine. They are found in foods such as bananas, onions, garlic, asparagus, and artichokes. The human body cannot digest oligosaccharides so they pass through the digestive tract without being broken down. This allows them to reach the large intestine where they act as food for good bacteria which helps keep them healthy.
FOS is a type of oligosaccharide that is found naturally in many foods such as leeks, wheat, and soybeans. It can also be created from sucrose or lactose by the addition of an enzyme called alpha-galactosidase. The beneficial effects of FOS on gut health have been known for some time now and there are many studies to back up this knowledge. It can help with constipation and diarrhea by increasing the number of bacteria that live naturally in your intestines – this helps to break down food more efficiently so it can be used by your body.
Oligosaccharides and Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) provide many health benefits to the human body. They can help with weight loss by regulating blood sugar levels and improving gut health. They can also help boost the immune system.
#2. Soluble fiber
Soluble fibers, also known as viscous fibers, are dietary fibers that form a gel-like mass when mixed with water or other fluids. This gel-like mass allows the fiber to dissolve in the small intestine and be absorbed into the body. Soluble fibers have been found to slow digestion, stabilize blood sugar levels, reduce cholesterol levels, and aid in weight loss. They can be found in a variety of foods like oatmeal, beans, apples, strawberries, nuts, flaxseeds, psyllium, cucumbers, pears, and celery, and are good for gut health.
Soluble fibers have been shown to improve blood cholesterol levels, decrease blood pressure, slow down the absorption of sugar, and regulate bowel movements.
Arabinogalactans are a type of soluble fiber found in many plants, including oats, barley, carrots, radishes, pears, corn, wheat, tomatoes, and beans. They are also found in breast milk and have been shown to have a positive effect on gut health. The most common way to consume arabinogalactans is by eating them as a part of a healthy diet. They can also be consumed in the form of supplements, but they may not always be as effective as food sources.
They play an important role in gut health and have been found to protect the gut lining from damage.
The benefits of Arabinogalactans include:
- Helps to maintain a healthy digestive tract.
- Helps with weight loss by increasing feelings of fullness.
- Reduces blood sugar levels and insulin resistance.
- Helps Reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the body.
Probiotics refer to the beneficial bacteria that help our body survive and keep everything in check, explore the list of top Probiotics Foods. A severe lack of these bacteria in the gut can cause organ damage, muscle damage, rheumatoid arthritis, gut wall damage, intestinal health disorders, digestive health problems, high blood pressure, inflammation, tissue damage, mental health deterioration, cardiovascular health disorders, etc.
Probiotics can also be found in fermented foods. Try fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt, miso soup, kimchi, etc. They are highly nourishing and refreshing. Drinks like kombucha, drinkable yogurt, kefir drinks, and herbal tea with anti-inflammatory spices are delicious in taste and are amazing remedies to improve gut health problems, like leaky gut, lack of digestive enzymes, bacterial and yeast overgrowth, gut inflammation, autoimmune diseases, etc.
If you can, then go for the supplement versions of all these factors, for example, probiotic supplements. They are pocket friendly, easily and globally available, and can give you the dose of health boost you need to keep yourself and your gut in ship shape. Here are the 10 Best Gut Health Prebiotic and Probiotic Supplements.
Try to avoid any type of processed, artificial, preservative-added foods that can be too harsh on your healing digestive system.
The entire point of the diet is to give your gastrointestinal tract a faster recovery period by cleansing and nutritionally treating the gut microbiota.
The 4 R’s form a powerful foundation to help you on your way to recovery. Try to prolong the effects and beneficial results of this diet by making some positive changes in your lifestyle, daily diet, exercise routine, sleep schedule, mental health management, and environment. Here is how!
- Healthy lifestyle that excludes regular and heavy use of alcohol, drugs, steroids, cigars, nicotine, too much usage of antibiotics, etc. These lifestyle factors heavily affect your health.
- Exercise for about 15 minutes every day to create a positive gut microbiome environment. This step also helps your immune system strengthen alongside helping your cardiovascular health, gut immunity, muscle health, bone health, vision health, mental health, blood pressure, and more. Here are a few Exercises for Gut.
- Yoga is amazing at uplifting your body’s physical, immune, and mental state. It helps ease and improve digestion as well. Take out five to ten minutes from your day or in between exercises to do a few poses like Seated Side Bend (Parsva Sukhasana), Knees to Chest (Apanasana), Belly Twist (Jathara Parivartanasana), etc.
- Drink filtered water to avoid the influx of germs and unknown pathogens. Drink lots of water throughout the day. It helps with faster and better cleansing and detox phases of the gut. It also helps prevent leaky gut problems and problems related to intestinal permeability.
- Use organic, fresh, and cooked vegetables. Do not forget to clean your veggies before consumption or cooking.
- Get more than 7 hours of sleep every night. Try to avoid overstressing over things in your life and work that you cannot control. It helps massively with both your physical and mental health. Once you get out of this cycle of overthinking and stressing, you will notice all the ways your body and mind improve. It also benefits your daily life, productivity, creativity, and physical activities.
This diet protocol acts as a treatment for your disrupted gut microbial health. When you successfully get through the steps and start enjoying the benefits, feel free to explore around with any diet choices. However, keep in mind that the diet plan you choose must contain solid amounts of nutrients, probiotics, prebiotics, fermented foods, and herbal drinks. Try new diets like low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets to lose weight, gluten-free diets, elimination diets, Keto diets, low FODMAP diets, etc. You do not need to go through any detox diets if you finish the 4 R diet. Juice diets and elemental diets are also very popular, however, keep in mind that you need to get all of your nutrients daily to achieve optimal health both in terms of mental and physical aspects.
Undoubtedly, the 4 R Protocol is one of the best ways to give yourself a healing and nourishing treatment. It is effective, science-backed, studied and approved by clinical researchers, highly recommended by medical experts, and extremely loved by its users. The pros of this treatment are so many, namely, it is pocket-friendly, healthy, nourishingly fulfilling, meets your mental and physical nutrient needs, cleanses and strengthens your GI health, gives you healthy skin and hair, strengthens bones, and repairs muscle health, etc. So definitely give this medically renowned diet treatment protocol a try.
Tim Koping (Medical M.Sc Physiology, Founder of Original Eating, and a Professor at a Leading Health Institute in the US): I am a medical M.Sc physiology graduate and the founder of Original Eating, an online resource that provides information and advice about healthy eating. I have a strong interest in health and nutrition, and I am passionate about helping people to eat well and live healthily. I have over 15 years of experience working in the health and nutrition industry, and I am dedicated to providing accurate, reliable information that can help people to make healthy choices for themselves. My work with Original Eating has been featured in publications such as Men’s Health and more, and I am frequently consulted by journalists for expert commentary on dietary issues. However, in my spare time, I also enjoy reading, hiking, and playing the guitar.