Digestion is the complex process of turning the food you eat into nutrients, which the body uses for energy, growth and cell repair needed to survive. The digestion process also involves creating waste to be eliminated. The digestive system also plays an important role in protecting your body from harmful substances. The walls of the intestines act as barriers, controlling what enters the bloodstream to be transported to your organs. If the gut becomes more permeable, it may allow bacteria and toxins to pass from the gut into the bloodstream. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as “leaky gut.”
One of the biggest warning signs that you may have leaky gut can be that you’re experiencing multiple food sensitivities. Partially digested protein and fat can seep through your intestinal lining, making their way into your bloodstream and causing an allergic response. Another problem with leaky gut is that it can cause malabsorption of vital minerals and nutrients, including zinc, iron and vitamin B12.
Symptoms: bloating, food sensitivities, thyroid conditions, fatigue, joint pain, headaches, skin issues like rosacea and acne, digestive problems, weight gain
The good news is there’s a solution to successfully healing leaky gut with food.
Lectins are found in many foods, not just grains, and consumed in smaller amounts, your body will do just fine with them. But foods that have large amounts of lectins are more problematic. Some of the lectins and foods that cause leaky gut include wheat, rice, spelt and soy.
Sprouting and fermenting grains reduces phytates and lectins, making these foods easier to digest. GMO and hybridized foods tend to be the highest in lectins since they have been modified to fight off bugs. Also, gluten-containing grains may damage your intestinal lining and potentially cause the leaky gut syndrome.
Conventional cows milk is another food that can cause leaky gut. The component of dairy that will harm your gut is the protein casein. Also, the pasteurization process will destroy vital enzymes, making sugars like lactose very difficult to digest. For this reason, I only recommend buying raw dairy and from A2 cows, goats, sheep or buffalo.
Sugar is another substance that will wreak havoc on your digestive system. Sugar will feed the growth of yeast, candida and bad bacteria, which will further damage your gut. Bad bacteria actually creates toxins called exotoxins that damage healthy cells and can eat a hole into your intestinal wall.
If you suffer from the leaky gut syndrome, you’re overdue to consider adopting a leaky gut diet. Such a diet contains foods support healing because they are easy to digest and can help repair the lining of the intestines.
Here is the leaky gut diet food list:
Bone Broth — bone broth contains collagen and the amino acids proline and glycine that can help heal your damaged cell walls. I’ve had many of my patients do a bone broth fast for three days to help heal leaky gut and autoimmune disease.
Raw Cultured Dairy — contains both probiotics and short-chain fatty acids that can help heal the gut. Pastured kefir and yogurt are some of the best probiotic foods.
Fermented Vegetables — contain organic acids that balance intestinal pH and probiotics to support the gut. Sauerkraut, kimchi and kvass are excellent sources.
Coconut Products — all coconut products are especially good for your gut. The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut are easier to digest than other fats so they work well for leaky gut.
Sprouted Seeds — chia seeds, flaxseeds and hemp seeds that have been sprouted are great sources of fiber that can help support the growth of beneficial bacteria. But if you have severe leaky gut, you may need to start out getting your fiber from steamed vegetables and fruit.
Healthy fats — consuming healthy fats in moderation like egg yolks, avocados, olive oil and coconut oil are easy on the gut and promote healing.
Omega-3 Fats — anti-inflammatory foods like grass-fed beef, lamb and wild-caught fish like salmon benefit a damaged gut.
Written by nutritionist Riin Reimer