What is leaky gut Syndrome?
The leaky gut syndrome is the condition that happens when the lining of the small bowel gets inflamed and hyperpermeable allowing large molecules, bacteria, and food particles to enter the bloodstream causing systemic low-grade inflammation.
The problem with a leaky gut is that it causes sickness in all body systems.
You see the cells that line the small bowels are packed tightly but with tiny spaces only large enough to allow ions and nutrients to cross into the bloodstream.
These little spaces are called tight junctions. But due to inflammation, the tight junctions become loose so everything passes through.
And to top it all off there is also malabsorption of nutrients meaning you are likely to be deficient in vitamins B12, iron, and other nutrients, perhaps even likely reduced serotonin production (after all about 95% of this happy neurotransmitter is produced by the good gut bacteria).
The phrase you are what you eat cannot be truer than in the case of gut health.
Your whole health can be determined by your gut bacteria and your gut bacteria is determined by what you eat as well as other things like exposure to toxins your body comes in contact with.
What happens when the gut becomes leaky?
So many health problems occur as a result of a leaky gut.
If you suffer from immune disease and there are many diseases that are induced by an immune response, chances are you have a leaky gut. But if you are not sure that you have a leaky gut, the signs may point you to the truth.
If you have conditions such as digestive problems like bloating, autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s, skin problems, joint problems, mental health issues, chronic fatigue, and allergies, it is more than likely you have a leaky gut.
A 2016 study published in Inflammatory Intestinal Diseases shows evidence that indeed inflammation in the gut caused by microbiome imbalance is behind these diseases.
What causes leaky gut?
Leaky gut has become more and more common due to a more toxified world and lifestyles exposed to many toxic substances that mess up our gut health.
The causes of leaky gut are many including the extensive use of antibiotics and modern lifestyle. In a previous post, I discuss extensively the causes of leaky gut and the overall changes needed to heal leaky gut.
While a diversified approach to healing the gut is needed, one of the easiest and best ways is to make sure the foods you eat are gut-friendly.
And this choice to eat for leaky gut healing is completely in your control.
The amazing thing is that by eating certain healthy foods we can correct leaky gut. Within a short 24 hours, you can start fashioning a new healthy microbiota. Your diet determines your gut flora and different diets create different microbiota, research has shown.
In healing a leaky gut we need to first remove the things that lead to a leaky gut. Then we need to start adding those great foods that heal the gut.
And to that end, let’s talk about these gut-friendly foods.
What should you eat so as to heal your leaky gut?
What are the best foods to include in a leaky gut diet?
Here is a list of good gut-healing foods to start eating and feel loads better by calming inflammation-causing leaky gut.
Wild salmon is the best choice. Salmon provides omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D.
Vitamin D plays many key roles in health including immunity and cell synthesis, calcium absorption, hormonal health, and more. And omega-three fatty acids are vital to a healthy gut and a healthy body and mind because these powerful fats are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
And since inflammation is the problem in the leaky gut, these good fats reduce inflammation and contribute to the healing of the gut lining as well as the rest of the body.
So both vitamin D and omega-three fatty acids help to calm inflammation in the gut and systemically.
Bone broth is high in nutrients that promote healing and curb inflammation. To heal the gut and stop the gut hyperpermeability the gut cells and the body as a whole need lots of nutrients. Bone broth contains nutrients like collagen and amino acids, minerals, and proteins needed to repair the damage caused by inflammation.
Collagen is the “glue” that binds tissues and helps to keep tissues from unraveling so to speak. Bone broth also provides the amino acids for building new cells and repair work.
Bone broth is also a rich source of glutamate an amino acid that is an essential nutrient for gut cells. Glutamate is important in reducing hyperpermeability. So get yourself a good recipe and make some bone broth. It is better when you make it at home. It’s more wholesome that way.
One group of healthy fats to consider for healing a leaky gut is omega-3 fatty acids. omega 3 Fatty acids are crucial for your overall health because they are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
And it turns out that including these healthy fats in your diet also helps your good gut bacteria, to thrive. Research found that after a short time on an omega-three diet subjects showed an increase in good bacteria. That is the good news because they produce results fast so you can start feeling better.
Luckily, the omega-three fatty acids, are found in a variety of foods such as:
- fatty fish like Salmon( better to get wild )
- Nuts such as almonds, walnuts
- seeds like flax seeds
Other healthy fats that are great in healing leaky gut include:
- Olive oil.
- And coconut oil. Coconut oil is a healthy oil that is also antimicrobial and antifungal, a great way to get rid of candida in a leaky gut. Like omega-three fats, coconut oil is anti-inflammatory. It has medium-chain lauric acids that are also easy to digest and won’t clog your arteries.
Leafy green and cruciferous vegetables
Vegetables such as collards, turnips greens, spinach, chard, dandelion greens, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, endive, and cabbage are great additions to a leaky gut diet.
It is important to cook these vegetables, especially during recovery. Vegetables like broccoli that render themselves steaming should be thus prepared to make it easy for a delicate gut to digest.
cruciferous vegetables and leafy greens act as prebiotics providing fiber and nutrients to nurture good probiotic bacteria. In addition, these vegetables are full of other nutrients like vitamins and minerals, and antioxidants that contribute to healing the gut and calming the inflammation in the gut.
Another vegetable that is great though not a leafy green is cucumber, a vegetable that is healing and with great water content to help with that gut motility to move toxins out.
These include tubers like potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, and other veggies like squash, jicama, pumpkins, and beets.
These not only feed the good bacteria as the fiber acts as a prebiotic and provides also healthy nutrients ( vitamins and minerals) that protect the gut lining and decrease inflammation.
Starchy foods, unlike most grains, do not contain any antinutrients like phytates and lectins contained in other starchy foods like grains that lead to low-grade inflammation.
Starchy foods like potatoes also contain a healthy dose of fiber that is not too hard on a healing gut. It is important to cook such foods as carrots and other hard foods that can be eaten raw. Cooking breaks down the fiber and makes it easy on a delicate healing gut.
Fermented foods are one of the easiest ways of replacing your gut bacteria and ousting the bad ones. The good thing is many fermented foods taste pretty good while providing natural probiotics.
Some fermented foods to consider include miso, kimchi, kefir, tempeh, sauerkraut, and kombucha are a great way to keep your gut healthy and great for a strong immunity to heal leaky gut.
These fermented foods are also a great way of keeping the gut clean by moving toxins out, curbing candida, and ensuring good bowel movements so the gut is clean.
In fact, fermented foods have been shown to have many other health benefits including improving diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other metabolic diseases.
This fact is not a coincidence nor should it surprise us. It is true all diseases begin in the gut. When you think about it, a leaky gut is inflammatory so are heart disease, diabetes, and really many other chronic illnesses.
Research has shown that some fermented foods like sauerkraut are very beneficial providing potent anticarcinogenic benefits and also shown to prevent DNA damage, as well as provide antioxidant benefits and reverse and prevent inflammation.
All are very beneficial for healing leaky gut.
In addition, these fermented foods, contain nutrients such as minerals, and vitamins, and also per the same source the live microbes transform the substrates in the foods improving digestion and can even inhibit disease-causing pathogens.
So It appears adding fermented foods to your diet is a smart move on all fronts.
First of all, fruits are a healthy source of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidant polyphenols to heal the inflamed gut lining. Fruits also offer water content to aid digestion and transit of toxins out of the gut. They also are a good source of prebiotics aiding in replenishing good bacteria in the gut.
Great fruits to consider for gut health include bananas, rich in fiber B vitamins, potassium, and magnesium to aid in overall health as well as gut health.
Consider Kiwi for instance which has a large amount of soluble fiber and vitamin C. Other fruits to consider include pears, apples, raspberries, and blueberries provide many helpful nutrients for gut health.
Another good fruit to eat for leaky gut is pineapple. It is rich in bromelain that will help fight candida overgrowth a great source of zinc, potassium, iron, copper, and manganese.
To support gut health, you should include wholesome lean protein from sources such as wild-caught fish like salmon, grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, and eggs raised organically are best.
The key is to make sure the meat comes from animals not treated with antibiotics and hormones, substances that can lead to gut irritation and leaky gut.
These meats provide high satiety so you stay full longer and they provide the protein and amino acids needed for functions such as cell turnover needed to rebuild a healing gut.
Cultured dairy products
These include yogurt and kefir and cultured milk are natural sources of probiotics. The good thing about cultured dairy products is that the lactose is broken down and so it is easy to digest. Just make the yogurt you chose is not full of added sugar because then it defeats the purpose.
Sugary yogurts will just feed the bad bacteria and contribute to a leaky gut. However, in the early stages of healing your gut, you need to be careful about including dairy.
Start taking care of your gut health today by eating wholesome foods the way nature intended. Start slowly replenishing your good bacteria by nourishing them with gut-healing foods and watch yourself start feeling more energy, as you heal inflammation, lift brain fog, and have your health back.
So there you have it! A healthy gut is possible when you start eating gut-healing foods.
And let me know in the comments what your experience with leaky gut has been. Also, if you found this article helpful please share, and let’s spread the word to improve gut health and help more people start feeling better today.