This post first appeared on Darou Wellness. Go check out their amazingly informative blog about all things health related with advice from some of the leading Naturopathic Doctors in North America.

With all of my recent writing about the importance of gastrointestinal balance, the importance of a good GI (gastrointestinal) cleanse has become even more evident. The sad fact is that for most of us, our gastrointestinal flora are out of balance.

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Causes of imbalance:

  • Frequent antibiotic use (in particular for recurrent ear / tonsil / bladder infections or long-term for acne;
  • Oral contraceptive use: being on the pill creates a hormonal environment favorable to yeast especially;
  • Travel and parasites – many people traveling in particular to South-East Asia, Africa and South America pick up parasite friends that can cause long-term irritation;
  • Eating too much white flour and sugar (which is far too easy these days!);
  • Eating GMO foods (corn, soy, canola) which are present in all packaged foods can have a profound effect on your gastrointestinal flora balance.

A GI cleanse has 4 parts:

  1. A diet that does not feed yeast especially (no sugar or other sweeteners, limited fruit, avoiding food containing white flour or yeast and also fermented foods);
  2. Anti-microbial supplements – herbs or other nutrients targeted to kill off organisms that don’t belong (ex. oregano, berberine, caprylic acid, homeopathics);
  3. High quality probiotics to replenish healthy bacteria;
  4. Support for intestinal repair: for example l-glutamine, aloe vera, slippery elm bark and other nutrients to repair a leaky gut.

What to expect:

For many people, this type of cleanse is quite challenging over the first week – more cravings, feeling tired and emotional and even body aches and pains. This is known as the ‘die-off reaction’ where the bad bugs are going away.

Usually the second week gets significantly better with great digestion, few food cravings, improved energy and mood. In some cases though, it can take longer to reach this phase. The cleanse should be strict for 4 weeks, and then eating moderately afterwards. You don’t want a rebound to happen by eating too many sweets right at the end of a month.

This type of cleanse is recommended for anyone with gastrointestinal disorders, but also for weight loss, mood support, energy levels, PMS balance, mental clarity and overall health. Remember that balance of your gut flora is essential for optimal health.

Read More:

  1. 3 Cleansing Detox Soups
  2. Top 3 Detoxing Herbs
  3. 5 Day Detox Meal Plan

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Naturopathic Doctor
Contributor to The Hearty Soul.