What Is the GAPS Diet? Can It Improve Gut Health?

What Is the GAPS Diet? Can It Improve Gut Health?

(AscendHealthy.com) – Finding the right diet can take some trial and error, and people with digestive issues may find this process downright painful. Most diets, even healthy ones, include foods that can be difficult to digest. The GAPS diet is different, and it might even help some people restore more than their gut health.

What Is GAPS?

“Gut and Psychology Syndrome,” or GAPS, is based on the principle that everything we eat either benefits or damages the delicate balance of microbes in our gut. According to an article published in Alternative Medicine, a bad enough imbalance may cause serious mental and physical health issues. The GAPS diet cuts out the difficult-to-digest foods that may upset the gastrointestinal tract and worsen these conditions.

The Importance of a Healthy Gut

We’re home to trillions of microbes, many of which are necessary for our bodies to function. An article in Science explains that every time we eat, we’re feeding all the little residents in our guts just as much as we’re feeding ourselves. These tiny marvels are responsible for determining how we metabolize nutrients and whether we absorb or store vitamins or minerals.

Modern life hasn’t been kind to most people’s gut health. Antibiotics, processed foods, GMOs, pesticides and artificial sweeteners all work to kill off our helpful microbes — and some of these even feed the bad ones. This leaves many people with serious imbalances, which can cause inflammation in the gut and may also contribute to obesity and diabetes.

Other potential effects include allergies, asthma, eczema and several autoimmune diseases. Some researchers believe it might also cause problems with the brain’s ability to function, contributing to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and addiction. No matter what we do, our minds and bodies may only be as healthy as our microbiomes.

Following a GAPS Diet

A GAPS diet could help repair a damaged gut, which may improve some people’s physical and/or mental health. It requires users to cut out all processed foods, added sugars, grains and starches, instead filling their plates with a variety of fresh meats, animal fats, eggs, nuts, bone broths, fruits and vegetables. After an initial “introduction” phase, which can vary depending on individual digestive health, users can slowly add back some foods.

This approach requires giving up a lot of favorites in the Western diet, so some people may have a hard time getting started — but the payoff could be worth it. A healthier gut could lead to real, positive changes. Some research suggests it may help the body heal ulcerative colitis and several types of inflammatory conditions. Other studies have found it to reduce symptoms related to autism.

The GAPS diet could be the key to a healthier, happier and longer life. People with digestive issues, inflammatory diseases and numerous other health conditions may be able to treat their problems with diet alone. Isn’t a chance at better health worth giving up a few foods for a while?

~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension

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