We'll be the first to admit that the health-and-wellness world is peppered with short-lived trends. But unlike the rise of unicorn food and bulletproof coffee, we have a sneaking suspicion that the latest preoccupation with gut health is anything but a passing fad. Not only do our immune systems live in our guts, but by extension autoimmune diseases actually start and end in our gut microbiomes.
"Both my own research and work others have done show that foods, supplements, the environment, and even light have a powerful influence in activating genes of the microorganisms in our gut," said Steven Gundry, a heart surgeon, cardiologist, and autoimmune disease expert, to Goop. "We are a super-organism … that constantly receives information from our environment and manipulates both our human genes and our bacterial and viral genes in response. Since bacterial and viral genes make up 99% of our combined genes, everything that happens to us starts in the gut."
Once he realized this powerful connection between your gut and overall health, Gundry opened his own practice, The Center for Restorative Medicine, where he has managed to reverse thousands of autoimmune diseases using only diet and supplementation. He even tested out this method on himself before treating clients and managed to cure his arthritis, high blood pressure, pre-diabetes, and drop a total of 70 pounds in just a few years.
While Gundry has yet to reveal the specifics of this miracle diet (he'll be doing so in stages over on Goop), he did mention the good and bad foods associated with gut health. In his opinion, here's what to eat and what to avoid.
Believe it or not, "Plants do not want to be eaten! They were here first!" explains Gundry. "They protect themselves and their seeds by putting proteins in their leaves and seeds called lectins. Half of my patients with autoimmune disease avoided gluten before seeing me but did not fully improve until I removed other lectins from their diet." Gluten is the most famous lectin, but the following six plants also contain these proteins:
While we've discussed some of these gut-healthy foods before, Gundry firmly stands by prebiotics and polyphenols when it comes to eating for gut health. The following 12 foods are great sources of both:
- Dandelion greens
- Dark chocolate
- Coffee beans
- Grape-seed extract
- Green tea
- High-quality olive oil
Head over to Goop for more from Gundry, and share your take on gut health in the comments below.