The 5 Best Foods for Leaky Gut
Published October 20, 2015
While it goes without saying that food plays a huge role in our lives, you might not know that poor eating choices can cause gut irritation. Leaky gut syndrome, or intestinal hyperpermeability, can happen when your gut becomes inflamed by dietary, metabolic, and even environmental factors. Instead of the necessary nutrients passing back from the intestines to the bloodstream, partially digested food or toxins can escape through swollen pores. Could it be that eating the right foods may help reduce the severity of leaky gut?
5 Best Foods for Leaky Gut
You’re probably already thinking about how diet can help in this situation, and you’re right in doing your research. Here are 5 of the best foods to eat for a leaky gut.
1. Fermented Foods
Fermented foods contain bacterial cultures which can go a long way in restoring gut health.  These cultures, also called probiotics, contain the good bacteria your gut needs to keep bad bacteria in check. There are many options out there, but some popular ones are sauerkraut and kimchi. Keep in mind, though, some fermented foods can contain high levels of sodium. This may not be much of a concern for otherwise healthy individuals.
Coconut products are especially good for a leaky gut because they contain medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs). These are more easily digested than other fats.  In addition to being great for digestion, coconut kefir—a fermented yogurt-like food—also contains probiotics.
3. Non-Starchy Vegetables
Full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, non-starchy vegetables are a great choice for easing irritation and are easier to digest than starchy ones. Making sure you eat a variety of them—especially dark green leafy vegetables—every day can help make sure your gut stays in tip-top shape.
While vegan or vegetarian diets are two extremely healthy choices and ones that I recommend, if you do eat meat, make sure you’re getting grass-fed or pasture-raised. Organic meat is your second-best option. Just always make sure your choice is free of hormones and antibiotics like most conventional factory-farmed options. Meat from grass-fed animals contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are great at reducing gut irritation.  Again, I don’t recommend consuming meat for a number of health and environmental reasons; however, animal sources are one of the most popular, hence their mention.
5. Low-Glycemic Fruits
High in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, fruit is a great choice for leaky gut, but you want to make sure you are eating low-glycemic fruits.  Fruits like berries are better options since sugar can irritate the gut.
The Benefit of Diet for Leaky Gut
Changing your diet for the better can play a huge role in successfully managing leaky gut syndrome. Be sure to work in accord with recommendations by your doctor, making sure you let him or her know what changes you’re making in your meal plan. Also, you may want to ask your doctor about probiotics to see if they may provide benefit. Often, beneficial bacteria can provide some support in this health situation.
What choices would you make for the better? Tell us about them in the comments below.
- Selhub, E. et al. Fermented foods, microbiota, and mental health: ancient practice meets nutritional psychiatry. Journal of Physiological Anthropology. 33 (2).
- Martena, B. et al. Medium-chain triglycerides. International Dairy Journal. 16 (11).
- Simopoulos, A. P. Omega-3 fatty acids in inflammation and autoimmune diseases. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 21 (6).
- Jenkins, D. et al. Glycemic index: overview of implications in health and disease. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 76 (1).
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