6 foods that clean out gut inflammation and disease

If you’ve ever gone a little too long without tidying up around the house, you know how easily things can spiral out of control…

Clutter, dust, dishes and dirt take over and keep you from living a comfortable and happy life.

Well, a similar situation can happen in your body if it doesn’t clean house well enough.

Your body’s cleaning process — autophagy — occurs when your cells breakdown toxins and damaged cell material. But when this isn’t happening often or efficiently enough your tissues become inflamed, which puts you at risk for diseases… especially in the gut.

In fact, researchers from the University of Warwick in the UK believe inefficient autophagy could be causing serious gut diseases like Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis and colon cancer.

But there is something you can do encourage your body to clean house better, so you can keep your gut healthy…

Inflammation and autophagy

In a paper published in Nature Communications, researchers from the University of Warwick determined that dysfunctional autophagy is connected to gut inflammation.

Their research took a closer look at the autophagy process in fruit flies, and identified a protein that causes inflammation when autophagy isn’t happening the way it should.

The protein, called Kenny, is broken down by autophagy. But when autophagy isn’t breaking down Kenny, it builds up and causes inflammation.

In fact, in fruit flies, researchers noticed that a build-up of Kenny led to serious inflammation, especially in the gut. It also cut their lifespan in half. That makes sense since previous research shows the more toxic junk accumulates due to inefficient autophagy, the faster you age.

This all sounds like bad news. But there is a bright side…

You can influence your body’s autophagy process, particularly through diet. And researchers say this could make all the difference when it comes to battling inflammation and keeping your gut healthy.

“Understanding the molecular mechanisms of selective autophagy and inflammation will help to use interventions to activate the autophagic pathway to prevent inflammation and promote healthy well-being during the life course,” said Dr. Ioannis Nezis, the lead author of the research.

Promoting healthy autophagy

So just how can you encourage your body to clean house more often?

Well, researchers say natural compounds found in certain foods can do the trick. According to them, the following fruits and vegetables should be on your shopping list if you want to keep your body clean, healthy and inflammation-free:

  • Pomegranates
  • Red grapes
  • Pears
  • Mushrooms
  • Lentils
  • Soybeans
  • Green peas

You can also encourage autophagy through intermittent fasting. When you do an intermittent fast, you set aside specific times or days for fasting. That may mean limiting the window of time you eat every day from, say, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. or from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Or it could mean eating normally most days and fasting two days per week. Either way, you’re encouraging your body to clean house and keep gut inflammation and diseases in check.


  1. Colon cancer breakthrough could lead to prevention – and the foods that can help — MedicalXpress. Retrieved November, 2, 2017.
  2. Tusco, et al. “Kenny mediates selective autophagic degradation of the IKK complex to control innate immune responses.” Nature Communications, 2017.
  3. Autophagy: The Real Way to Cleanse Your Body — Greatist. Retrieved November, 2, 2017.
  4. Alirezaei, at al. “Short-term fasting induces profound neuronal autophagy.” Autophagy. 2010 Aug 16; 6(6): 702–710.


Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.