3 Everyday Things That This M.D. Says Can Destroy Your Gut Health

Photo: Stocksy/Carolyn Lagattuta

He famously helped Gwyneth Paltrow rethink her eating habits, so it was no surprise to see heart surgeon Steven Gundry, MD, onstage at the Goop conference over the weekend. And along with admitting that he usually skips breakfast—which is crazy when you think there are coffee-avocado smoothies to be had—the renowned doctor also talked gut health. (We're listening...)

“It’s not what I tell you to eat, it’s what I tell you not to eat.”

Dr. Gundry says that finding the right bloat-free balance may be as simple as eliminating some common drugs and foods that “wreck” (his word!) your stomach. “It’s not what I tell you to eat, it’s what I tell you not to eat,” he says.

So what's on the banned list? Here's Dr. Gundry's Rx for living your best (digestive) life.

1. Over-the-counter pain relievers

Popping too many nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (or NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen, will damage your intestinal wall, Dr. Gundry says. So the next time a headache hits, maybe make yoga or acupressure your go-to—and keep your gut happy.

2. Antibiotics

It's not just about that strep throat prescription you got last winter. These drugs are often used on farm animals that become the meat on your plate, Dr. Gundry says, and they kill bacteria—all bacteria, including the good microbes in your gut. This can leave you depleted in terms of healthy probiotic levels, and at higher risk for everything from leaky gut to depression to sleep issues. So get your label-reading muscles in shape, because the answer is finding meat that's raised without antibiotics (grass-fed beef, for example) —or going meat-free altogether.


3. Lectins

Dr. Gundry explains in his book The Plant Paradox that many people who think they are gluten-intolerant actually have a problem with these plant proteins found in grains, legumes, and nightshade vegetables (like tomatoes, eggplant, white potatoes, and red peppers).

“The less time that a gut wall is being penetrated by food and by these particles called lectins, the healthier you are. Because that’s less time your body has to deal with bacteria,” he said. “Give your gut a rest.”

So you know about good bacteria—but do you know about good fungi? It can be a major part of a healthy microbiome (along with a gut-healthy eating plan, of course). 

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