Leaky gut is a complex illness that medical experts and scientists are currently attempting to understand. As research continues, more evidence points to the fact that the complex system that is your gut can influence heart health, cognitive function, and immune strength. While there is a lot to learn about leaky gut, many experts have discovered a great deal of information regarding the best foods to eat and which foods to avoid.
What Is Leaky Gut?
In a healthy gut, the intestines are permeable because they let fluids in and release nutrients into the bloodstream. In an unhealthy gut, the lining weakens and holes can develop in this permeable barrier. The holes are caused by both genetics and foods that are rich in saturated fats and sugar and low in fiber. When this happens, bacteria leak into the gut (hence the condition’s name) from the intestines, triggering inflammation in the gut and the rest of the body.
Do You Have Leaky Gut?
Since the majority of mainstream medical mediums do not recognize leaky gut as a legitimate diagnosis, it can be difficult to tell whether or not you have it. What doctors can inform you about is your intestinal permeability. The following symptoms are commonly associated with leaky gut:
- Joint pain
- Skin issues
- Food sensitivities
How To Heal Leaky Gut
Dr. Alessio Fasano made a great analogy for healing leaky gut, in that he compared it to fixing a broken car. When a mechanic flips the hood and tinkers here and there to get the engine started, he’s experimenting to see what will work. The same applies for leaky gut patients. Different strategies are going to work for different people, but the best way to protect yourself is to focus on specific nutrients and to avoid certain foods.
5 Foods To Avoid
The best thing that you can do for your gut is to give it a break from foods that are difficult to digest. When the digestive system is working overtime, the energy it uses to digest certain foods can impair its ability to allow healing to take place. The five foods that leaky gut patients need to avoid include dairy products, gluten, grains, legumes, and artificial sweeteners or refined sugars. If you like pasta, start consuming zoodles or spaghetti squash. If you enjoy milk, try switching to almond milk, oat milk, or pea milk. Healthier options are readily available if you look for them.
Best Foods For Leaky Gut
Naturopaths and homeopaths often recommend consuming a variety of gut-friendly foods that work to repair the intestinal lining. You may need to experiment with the following foods to find out which ones are most beneficial, but the general recommendation is to stick to a diet that is rich in vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats. The more you eliminate processed foods, the faster your gut can heal.
Coconut is rich in medium-chain fatty acids, making it an excellent food for healing the gut. These fats are easily digested and the antimicrobial and antifungal properties of coconut work to destroy unhealthy gut bacteria. You can add coconuts to smoothies, curries, homemade healthy desserts, and more. In addition to consuming coconut, you can include berries, pineapple, citrus fruits, kiwis, apples, and pears in your diet.
Probiotics are necessary for healthy gut function because they contribute to a higher amount of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Foods like kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, and kimchi contain organic acids that work to balance the gut’s pH level. Balancing gut bacteria will improve gut health for anyone, not simply people with leaky gut.
Fiber helps to move food through the digestive tract, but you get a two for one special when you consume fiber that acts as a prebiotic. Prebiotics feed probiotics to promote healthier gut bacteria. When you consume the following fiber-rich foods, it is best to lightly steam them for easy digestibility. These foods include zucchini, cabbage, mushrooms, asparagus, cauliflower, artichokes, greens (spinach, kale, watercress, and chard), and cucumbers.
Protein & Omega-3 Sources
The idea here is to choose proteins that are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been known to boost brain health and reduce inflammation. It is ideal to consume foods like chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts.
Even if you eat the right foods and eliminate the ones you should avoid, the time it takes to remedy a leaky gut will depend on the severity of the symptoms. The gut has the ability to heal quickly, but you have to keep at it. You can’t just start consuming unhealthy foods as soon as you start feeling better. Stick to the healthy, gut-friendly foods we mentioned and you could be on the mend within two to twelve weeks.