“A WFPB diet primarily focuses on consuming plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, while minimizing or avoiding animal products, processed foods, and refined sugars and oils,” Mutha said. “Whole, unprocessed plant foods are nutrient-dense and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, while also being lower in calories and saturated fats than animal products and processed foods. Studies have shown that following a WFPB diet can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, digestive diseases, diabetes, and certain types of cancers,” Mutha said.
Other steps to take include avoiding consuming alcohol and other items classified as known carcinogens (agents with the potential to cause cancer).
“When carcinogens seep into your body, they can destroy the gut lining and may cause ulcers and cancers,” Mutha said.
In addition to a proper diet, it is important to receive a colonoscopy.
“Currently, 1 in 20 Americans are estimated to develop colon cancer during their lifetime,” Mutha said. “Get a colonoscopy at age 45 and then every 10 years afterwards for prevention, early detection, and occasionally even removal of early-stage colon cancer.”
Finally, don’t wait for symptoms to appear before making changes to your lifestyle.
“Don’t wait until you begin to experience symptoms of colon cancer,” Mutha said, “because by then, it is probably at a later stage. It’s already been brewing in your body for a long time. You may end up with something that can’t be easily fixed.”
“Don’t wait for the body to tell you that something is wrong,” he added. “Start making changes right now.”
Mutha offers the following six-pronged approach to reset the gut and elevate overall health:
- Consume a whole-foods, plant-based (WFPB) diet that provides the fiber, all the essential nutrients, and antioxidants for a strong gut, healthy immune system, and healthy you.
- Exercise regularly to boost good digestion and good bacteria in the gut.
- Do not consume toxins (e.g., alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, illicit drugs) that destroy healthy cells and healthy bacteria in the gut.
- Get about eight hours of quality sleep to help heal a leaky gut and restore balance in the gut microbiome.
- Practice mindfulness and meditation to avoid stress-related mental and physical illnesses and protect against inflammation.
- Keep in touch with family and friends because good social relationships have been shown to positively impact the gut’s microbiome.
“The above six-pronged approach will not only heal your gut and your overall physical health, but also your memory, mood, and overall mental health,” Mutha said.
*Before making any diet changes, consult with a primary care physician.