You might have heard about the trendy practice of gut resets recently. People around the world popularly use this diet program to feed their gut microbiome and improve their digestive health, but how does it actually work?
Gut resets are meant to reduce inflammation and improve the gut microbiome. They achieve the former by removing all inflammatory foods from the diet. The gut microbiome is improved with the reduction of dietary sugar and the addition of probiotic foods.
The benefits of resetting your gut include reduced bloat and increased energy. You may find that your body has less inflammation or that your digestion improves as a result of a gut reset. It’s also excellent for introducing superfoods to incorporate into your regular diet.
Preparing for the Reset
You may need to clean out your pantry and fridge before the reset. You don’t have to get rid of the foods for good, but you should ensure they’re entirely out of reach if possible. Increased difficulty in getting unhealthy foods will make it more likely that you can stick to your new diet.
You should also plan out your meals and snacks in advance. It’s safe to say that we all form and reinforce dietary habits daily as we prepare and eat each meal. Making such a drastic change in your diet will initially require lots of conscious effort.
Finally, prepare yourself by remembering what your gut reset journey is for. Whether you’re suffering from bloating, heartburn, or poor bowel movements, it won’t be long until you enjoy incredible improvements in your digestive health as a result of your reset.
You can stay motivated by having a clear goal to work towards. While you might be used to these symptoms, they aren’t something you should live with every day. Your health is worth it; all you need to accomplish incredible results is seven days of dedicated healthy eating.
The 7-Day Gut Reset Plan
Day 1: Elimination Diet
The first step of your gut reset will be eliminating irritating foods. Gut irritants, by definition, are any food that impairs or damages the functioning of your digestive tract. These foods are directly responsible for issues like bloating and fatigue.
You will be eliminating numerous foods from your diet. For an optimal gut reset, you should avoid eating any foods that:
- Are filled with artificial sweeteners, including sorbitol, xylitol, mannitol, erythritol, fructose, sucralose, aspartame, and high fructose corn syrup
- Contain lactose due to lactose intolerance and its propensity for feeding certain bad bacteria — sour fermented yogurt is an exception.
- Are packaged or processed, due to their tendency to contain emulsifiers, sweeteners, preservatives, thickeners, or stabilizers — any exceptions should have the ingredients list thoroughly vetted
- Contain gluten, as many people are either allergic or suffer symptoms like gas and bloating due to gluten ingestion.
- Are alcoholic, as the substance is a known digestive irritant
- Contain vegetable oils, including canola, soy, rapeseed, sunflower, corn, and safflower oil
- Are caffeinated since beverages like coffee can irritate the gut and interfere with proper digestion
Before you start your gut reset diet, it’s also important to note that you should always prioritize cooked food. While raw vegetables like broccoli and kale do contain plenty of healthy fiber, your sensitive digestive system will have an easier time processing and using the fiber when it is cooked and partially broken down.
Also, consider sprouting your grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes before consuming them. Allowing them to sprout will make them more digestible and improve their ability to nourish your body.
Day 2: Introduce Gut-Healthy Foods
You must eat gut-healthy foods daily to improve your digestive health during the reset. If possible, you should only eat at regularly scheduled mealtimes. Many gut reset meal plans are available online that can accommodate any diet, whether you need gluten-free recipes or a completely vegan plan.
Of course, you don’t have to stick strictly to a diet plan if you’re using the right ingredients and eating at three proper mealtimes. Here are the most important ingredients to incorporate into your gut reset diet.
- A high-quality extra virgin olive oil — cook below 375°F to prevent nutrients from breaking down and harmful compounds from forming, or drizzle small amounts of the oil onto your food after cooking.
- Healthy protein sources, such as chicken, salmon, eggs, or organic tofu and tempeh
- Gut-healthy grains, legumes, and nuts, such as gluten-free steel-cut oats, lentils, hemp seeds, and walnuts (best if sprouted where applicable!)
- Various dressings, ingredients, and spices, including tahini, miso paste, organic nut butter, nutritional yeast, coconut aminos, bone broth or vegetable broth, and fresh herbs
- Fresh fruits and vegetables, including mushrooms, blueberries, sweet potatoes, avocados, greens like spinach and kale, and beets
As a rule of thumb, your meals should always center around whole-food nutrition. You should minimize your intake of refined fats, added sugars, fatty animal protein, and processed foods.
Day 3: Increase Fiber Intake
High fiber intake is essential for improving your gut health. This powerful nutrient improves metabolism, reduces inflammation, and contributes to overall good health. It is crucial for digestive health. Fiber boosts a positive gut microbiome, making your digestive system significantly more resistant to bad bacteria.
Day 4: Incorporate Fermented Foods and Probiotics
Fermented food is essential for a successful gut reset. Why might this be the case? Well, fermented foods are absolutely packed with probiotics. When you eat a serving of sauerkraut or probiotic yogurt, all of the beneficial bacteria in the food will be delivered directly to your gut and intestines.
There are plenty of good fermented foods to choose from. Yogurt and kefir (including dairy-free alternatives), kombucha, sauerkraut, miso, pickles, and kimchi are all excellent choices. Ensure the label indicates the product has live and active cultures — and avoid added sugars when possible.
Day 5: Hydration and Exercise
Hydration is vital to improving your dietary health — ideally, you should maintain this habit over the long term. Consuming eight cups of water daily is an excellent start for keeping your guts functioning properly. If you’re up to the challenge, many experts recommend drinking as many as twelve cups of water a day.
Exercise will also provide numerous benefits to your gut health. It’s worth noting that these benefits are only enjoyed so long as you maintain an active exercise routine. Yoga, jogging, cardio, and even breathing exercises are all known to improve gut bacteria composition and reduce inflammation.
Incorporate mindfulness exercises into your routine. Diaphragmatic breathing is particularly effective at reducing stress levels and bringing your body to a calm state. Take the following steps.
- Stand or sit in a comfortable position and place your feet flat on the ground. Place one hand on your chest and one on your upper abdomen.
- Inhale slowly, imagining that you intend to fill your abdomen with air like a balloon. Ensure that the correct hand rises. Imagine the air reaching as far as your arms and legs.
- Exhale slowly, imagining the air flowing out and removing the tension. Repeat the exercise and allow a sense of calmness to settle over yourself.
Day 6: Reduce Stress
Your lifestyle largely influences digestive health. Specifically, your behaviors, stress levels, and sleeping habits all have a significant impact on digestion.
If you want to improve your digestion, get enough sleep. Like all other organ systems in your body, your digestive system communicates with your brain as it breaks down food and maintains the right internal conditions.
Sleep deprivation and stress can negatively influence this communication. Your gut may fail to produce enough stomach acid, suffer a loss of integrity of the stomach lining, or even develop microbiome imbalances. In turn, your decreasing gut health may cause your brain to feel more stressed.
Allow your gut to rest throughout the seven days. Consider “eating” an active and conscious state and “not-eating” the default state. This practice will make it easier for your body to digest and break down the food you eat.
Make eating a positive part of your routine. You should sit and relax before eating each meal. Eat your food slowly and chew it thoroughly. This will allow you to enjoy the food on a deeper level while also working to reduce behaviors that can cause overeating.
Remain aware of your stressors and use good stress management techniques to address them. Ensure you’re always getting enough sleep, and learn the steps you need to take to prioritize your mental and physical well-being.
Day 7: Reintroduction of Potential Trigger Foods
Once you’ve reached day seven of your gut cleanse, it’s time to congratulate yourself. Making significant dietary changes can be extremely difficult, but you proved it’s possible.
Nuance is important during the reintroduction of potential trigger foods to your diet. You should reintroduce these foods individually and pay attention to how they make you feel. If you suddenly notice a return of your digestive issues when you eat gluten, you should consider removing it from your diet and see whether you return to feeling healthy.
Where possible, you should maintain healthy lifestyle changes. Regularly exercising, getting enough sleep, and avoiding irritants like alcohol and caffeine will help you maintain your incredible new health and energy level. You can enjoy trigger foods and vices in moderation. Ensure that plenty of fresh vegetables and whole foods are always included in your diet.
Maintaining a Healthy Gut
It’s simple to nourish your digestive system with gut cleansing. This practice introduces you to healthy eating and strengthens your gut microbiome. You should plan to incorporate these new dietary habits into your lifestyle. Doing so will ensure that you continue to enjoy the benefits of a healthy gut. Of course, you’re still welcome to enjoy a vice once in a while when you’ve finished the cleanse!
Center your diet around whole foods and fresh vegetables. Incorporate diverse ingredients into your diet, including prebiotics like dandelion greens and garlic. Avoid consuming alcohol, caffeine, fast food, and artificial sweeteners in excess. If you notice that foods like gluten irritate your stomach, eliminate them from your diet.
Make sure that you’re eating enough probiotics and prebiotics. Fermented foods like natto, yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, and miso are all good sources of healthy bacteria. Prebiotics, such as garlic and dandelion greens, are the ideal substances to nourish your gut bacteria.
And remember, you can enjoy a healthy gut with any lifestyle. Addressing the pitfalls of your diet will allow you to enjoy incredible improvements in your digestive health. For example, consider increasing your fiber intake on an omnivorous diet or ingesting extra plant-sourced omega-3 fatty acids on a vegan diet.
You won’t regret doing a gut cleanse. From the first day of the cleanse, eliminating inflammatory foods will help you reduce bloat and discomfort. And by the time you’ve incorporated fermented foods on the fourth day, you will be nourishing your gut bacteria and transforming your body.
Remember, change takes time. It often isn’t possible to make a complete change overnight, but as long as you apply yourself every day, it won’t be long until you enjoy the improvements in digestion and well-being that come with a gut-friendly diet.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are the Signs of an Unhealthy Gut?
Signs of an unhealthy gut can vary. If you notice any of the following symptoms, attempting a gut cleanse or speaking to a nutritionist may be worthwhile to identify possible dietary irritants.
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Gas and bloating
- Low energy
- Drastic weight changes
- Upset stomach
Can I Reset My Gut in Less Than 7 Days?
Many diet plans are available online, allowing you to reset your gut in as little as three days. It’s important to note two aspects of what makes gut resetting so powerful when determining whether a short reset is right for you.
Firstly, gut resets allow a healthy microbiome to grow in your digestive system. Unless you maintain improved dietary habits after your reset, you probably won’t notice significant improvements in your gut microbiome.
Secondly, gut resets are meant to teach good habits. You may feel more challenged in adopting these habits if you don’t give yourself enough time to learn them. But if you believe it can work for you, there’s nothing wrong with doing a short gut cleanse.
Can I Drink Alcohol During the Gut Reset?
You can drink alcohol during the gut reset within reason. Red wine is a particularly good choice, as it is packed with powerful antioxidants. You should minimize the alcohol you consume during your gut reset and avoid it entirely, as it is a significant gut irritant.
Do I Need to Take Supplements for Gut Health?
Supplementing your diet with probiotics and prebiotics can help you enjoy incredible improvements to your digestive health. It’s recommended to source these from fermented foods and prebiotic foods, but if necessary, you can use dietary supplements to get a healthy dose of both.
What if I Have Digestive Issues After the Gut Reset?
If you have digestive issues after your gut reset, you may have unintentionally reintroduced a powerful irritant to your diet. Remove the previously listed inflammatory foods from your diet and slowly reintroduce them to see if your sickness subsides (and if it returns when you start consuming a particular food again). Consult a doctor if your digestive issues persist or become severe.