Leaky Gut Diet Foods To Avoid
What foods should you avoid if you have leaky gut syndrome? Its essential to avoid or greatly limit allergens and inflammatory foods when following a leaky gut diet.
Foods/ingredients to avoid include:
- Unsprouted grains, especially those containing gluten note that sprouting and fermenting grains reduces phytates and lectins, making these foods easier to digest
- Processed foods made with added sugar
- GMOs foods
- Refined oils
- Processed foods made with synthetic food additives
- Conventional dairy products
- Heavy alcohol use
The Leaky Gut Diet Plan: What To Eat What To Avoid
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The term leaky gut has gained a lot of attention in recent years.
Also known as increased intestinal permeability, its a condition in which gaps in your intestinal walls start to loosen. This makes it easier for larger substances, such as bacteria, toxins, and undigested food particles, to pass across the intestinal walls into your bloodstream.
Studies have associated increased intestinal permeability with several chronic and autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes and celiac disease.
This article takes a close look at leaky gut and its causes. It also includes a list of foods that aid digestive health and a 1-week sample meal plan.
Add Gut Detox Binders
These will help your gut repair itself and speed up the elimination of harmful elements. My two favorite gut binders are:
GI Detox contains primarily pyrophyllite healing clay and some activated charcoal, similar to Upgraded Coconut Charcoal. Both of these binders are well-liked for their powerful abilities to adsorb toxins, endotoxins, and harmful bacteria. They also help reduce your overall toxin load, which allows your gut to heal more quickly.
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Heres How Digestive Enzymes Can Help
Firstly, they work alongside our bodys own natural enzymes to take the food we eat and break it down into individual nutrients that our body can then actually absorb27.
Example of nutrients in foods would be things like amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. All the fuel our body loves!
This role is super important for those of us with leaky gut, because our damaged gut lining is potentially not absorbing nutrients properly, and yet needs the nutrients to repair itself. i.e. digestive enzymes can help us get out of the vicious cycle.
Secondly, by helping us break down food better, digestive enzymes also ensure less large food molecules make their way through our gut. This is a big win since it means less irritation of the gut lining, as well as fewer large food molecules making their way through our gut barrier and into the bloodstream .
You can find an in-depth explanation of all of this in my article on digestive enzymes and leaky gut.
What Causes Leaky Gut Syndrome
There is not one specific cause of Leaky Gut Syndrome, as Leaky Gut Syndrome is more of an effect that happens as the result of another condition. It is the inflammation and weakening of the intestinal walls, and this can be caused by a number of things.
Very often, however, Leaky Gut Syndrome is the result of a candida overgrowth. Leaky Gut and Candida often go hand-in-hand. Candida are a type of yeast that naturally live in the gut. Their populations usually stay at levels that cause us no harm, and are kept in balance by healthy bacteria in the gut. When gut bacteria are harmed, due to dietary or lifestyle factors it allows Candida populations to grow beyond healthy levels. These yeasts then invade other parts of the body and lead to an infection.
The most common type of Candida that causes infection is Candida albicans. Candida infections have numerous symptoms, and are often hard to detect. One of the major issues caused by a Candida infection, however, is gut inflammation and Leaky Gut Syndrome.
When Candida cells begin to grow hyphae the long branches that grow out of the fungus they can invade the cells in your intestinal lining, creating inflammation and permeating the membrane that prevents harmful substances from leaking out. This can wreak havoc on your gut.
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Lifestyle Habits For A Leaky Gut
Altering your dietary intake should be the first step after visiting a doctor. To further support your gut, consider the following:
Add a probiotic supplement: Good gut bacteria, which are crucial in supporting a healthy microbiome, can become depleted or disrupted by a number of things, and fermented foods may not deliver the amount you need. So, taking a highly concentrated probiotic daily may provide additional support.*
Speak To Your Doctor About Nsaids Excessive Antibiotics Antacids And Any Other Unnecessary Drugs
From Advil to the pill to corticosteroids, there are so many drugs that can potentially contribute to leaky gut and/or gut flora imbalances58. Obviously, not all of these are entirely optional.
For example, when I had asthma attacks as a young child I couldnt simply say My hyperpermeable intestines and I are not interested in your corticosteroids Doc.
Obviously you should speak with your doctor about what is and isnt necessary for you. And Ill talk below about how to find a doctor that gets leaky gut better than most.
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Wherever Possible Try To Do As The Drug
- Cut down drug intake and rely on more natural remedies. For example, breathing exercises and meditation can work well to replace mild pain relievers.
- Prevent the causes happening in the first place. This is the big one! So for example, NSAIDs are often taken during hangovers. Solution: dont get drunk. Another example headaches often flair up on days where you dont have enough sleep, drink too little water and/or OD on caffeine. Solution: ah well, you get the point.
- Take probiotics. Many drugs by design will strip your digestive system of bacteria, both good and bad, eg antibiotics59. So during and after use, consider trying a probiotic supplement, which can add more good bacteria to your gut. In particular, ask your doctor about S Boulardii, which is a probiotic yeast that can help our gut60, even when we are taking antibiotics.
Speaking from personal experience, I found that even seemingly necessary drugs were no longer necessary if I addressed the deep root causes.
For example, when working on a new doctor-supervised asthma protocol several years ago, I found it possible to cut down my corticosteroids intake by 80% within 30 days by addressing leaky gut itself.
The funny thing is by following many of the ideas on this page you will naturally find your use of these drugs reduces, ie the vicious cycle stops. Gut happy!
Heres A Chart Of The Most Popular Foods That Contain Wheat:
Youll hopefully join me in a moment of sadness as we see some of the all time tastiest foods included above, like bread, cereal, pasta, pizza, cookies, crackers, cakes, muffins, beer etc.
If you are Celiac or otherwise significantly gluten intolerant , you should also try to avoid wheat-derivative products like couscous, durum, semolina etc and products containing trace amounts of gluten especially hidden as fillers, eg sauces, soups etc.
Dr Perlmutter has an extensive list of foods that contain gluten, including in small amounts.
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Why Extreme Cardio And Weights Can Hurt Leaky Gut
You see, the strain that hardcore cardio or lifting really heavy weights puts on the body delivers the same shock as any other kind of stress, eg working 14 hours a day for a maniacal boss.
And as we talked about in idea #12 above, stress is one of the top 3 causes and maintainers of leaky gut.
That means we really want to be saying goodbye to exercises like P90X, Insanity, Freeletics, Soul Cycle, Bikram Yoga etc. And adios to crazy sports like marathon running, triathlon etc .
Basically any physical activity where your veins pop out of ye old noggin mid session should be a no.
Also, as a general rule, work out lightly, but more often.
For example, try a daily 10-20 minute workout, instead of 3 x 60 minute spin classes a week.
How To Know If You Have A Leaky Gut
If youve been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, in all likelihood you have a leaky gut. Interestingly studies have shown increased intestinal permeability is also present in various other inflammatory conditions that are not autoimmune, including eczema, asthma, hay fever and autism. Individuals with those conditions are thought to be at increased risk of autoimmune disease in the future.
The following are associated with leaky gut syndrome:
- Muscle aches and pains
- Joint pain
- Skin problems e.g. eczema, dermatitis, hives, skin rashes or itchy skin
- Food sensitivities
- Cognitive problems foggy head, poor memory, low motivation
- Liver problems raised liver enzymes, fatty liver disease
- Nutritional deficiencies particularly iron, magnesium, vitamin B12 and vitamin D
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Why Vegetable Oils Are Bad For Leaky Gut
These industrial vegetable oils are high in omega 6s, and known to be a vast contributor to the imbalance of omega 3s to 6s in the western diet87 (that now sees us typically consuming 20:1 omega 6s to 3s, when historically we consumed 1:1 or 2:1!
By contrast extra virgin olive oil88 and coconut oil which are non-industrial vegetable oils deliver much more balanced omega fatty acid profiles.
Most industrial vegetable oils are also susceptible to oxidation when cooked and typically GMO based.
Is There A Test For Leaky Gut
While diagnosis is incredibly difficult as mentioned, there is one specific test that some physicians will use in order to test intestinal permeability. The test is called the mannitol and lactulose test. Both of these are water-soluble molecules that the body cannot use. Mannitol is easily absorbed by people with healthy intestinal linings, whereas lactulose is a larger molecule, and thus is only slightly absorbed. A person is instructed to drink a solution containing both of these molecules, and then their urine is collected for six hours. The amount present in the urine reflects how much was absorbed by the body a healthy test will display high levels of mannitol, and low levels of lactulose. If high levels of both are found, it indicates increased intestinal permeability. If low levels of both are found, it indicates general poor absorption of all nutrients .
It is important to note that this test is an indicator of small intestine permeability, and cannot definitively diagnose leaky gut with full certainty. Most physicians steer clear of this test, as they do not believe it is very reliable. Additionally, since increased intestinal permeability is a symptom of many other diseases, it should not be used to necessarily diagnose leaky gut syndrome, as this could prevent a patient from receiving treatment for a more serious condition they may have. Seeking the advice of a gastroenterologist is recommended, as they specialize in digestive health and the GI tract.
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Suggested Treatments Range From Bogus To Dangerous
The Myth: Many solutions that leaky gut syndrome proponents recommend are based in fad diets, which declare that normal foods cause serious problems in most people. For instance, proponents of leaky gut syndrome recommend that patients avoid any foods with high sugar content , claiming that the excess sugar causes an overgrowth of a certain strain of yeast in the GI tract that is responsible for the damage to the intestinal wall. In addition, they say that sensitivities to gluten or lactose damage the intestine, and they recommend avoiding all dairy products and anything containing gluten.
Debunked: Fruit will not cause yeast to attack your intestines. While a small percentage of the population have symptoms related to gluten and lactose intake, these foods cause no problems for most individuals. Following these practitioners instructions is more likely to lead to nutritional deficiencies rather than reduced symptoms.
Another issue in this field is that many people in the popular media who support this unverified condition try to sell special products as a treatment for leaky gut syndrome. They offer unproven treatments for a condition that has no medical basis. Additionally, since many of these supplements havent been well researched, taking them could cost you a lot of money, do little to reduce your symptoms, and could even be dangerous.
How To Fix Leaky Gut
Instead of treating leaky gut symptoms, you need to get to the root of autoimmune disease, and it starts by healing leaky gut. To restore the health of your intestinal wall, I recommend following functional medicines 4R Approach.
I walk you through this entire approach in-depth in my Leaky Gut Breakthrough® Program, which includes a 30-day meal plan with recipes and shopping lists to make following it easy and stress-free. You can also find all four of the gut-repairing supplements listed above in my Leaky Gut Breakthrough® Kit.
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Avoid Excessive Cardio Or Heavy Weight Lifting Leave That For Arny
If youre slogging through 3 or more intense exercise sessions a week like a Arnold Schwarzenegger-Richard Simmons crazed lovechild, you could easily prevent your gut from healing fast or even fully119.
Its kind of counterintuitive, but if youre a bit of a fitness fanatic, then less exercise could actually be better for your health!
Leaky Gut Syndrome: 7 Signs You May Have It
May 8, 2018
If youve been around the natural health world very long, youve probably heard of a condition known as leaky gut syndrome. It sounds pretty gross, but its an important enough problem to consider. There are several leaky gut symptoms to be aware of, which is particularly important since leaky gut is associated with dozens of related conditions and diseases.
As more Americans are affected by poor diet choices, chronic stress, toxic overload and bacterial imbalance, it appears that the prevalence of leaky gut has reached epidemic proportions. The medical profession is just now agreeing this condition may even exist, which is especially shocking to me because intestinal permeability has been discussed in the medical literature for over 100 years!
Why should leaky gut syndrome concern you? Recently leaky gut has been called a danger signal for autoimmune disease. If youre wondering if you may be experiencing leaky gut, the first thing to do is access your symptoms. Keep in mind that its very common for people on a Standard American Diet to struggle with poor gut function and high levels of inflammation but just because digestive issues and autoimmune conditions are common doesnt make them normal!
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Leaky Gut Diet Summary
Your digestive tract is complicated, but a gut-healing diet and supplements can be used as simple strategies for improving your digestive health. Always check with your healthcare provider, preferably a functional medicine doctor or practitioner with training in leaky gut, before making changes to your diet or adding supplements.
Leaky Gut Diet Food List
It is so important that I emphasize here that to heal your leaky gut syndrome, you need to include nutrient-rich foods for healing rather than just eliminate trigger foods. Here is a starter list of foods for you to think about adding to your diet for healing your digestive tract. Foods to heal the gut include:
- Bone Broth
- Homemade from grass-fed beef or organic chicken, grass-fed bone marrow by Ancestral supplements
- Coconut shreds, unsweetened
- Sprouted seeds
- Broccoli, chia, flax, bean, mustard, onion, pea shoots, clover, alfalfa, sunflower seeds, and more. Learn how to sprout seeds here
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Leaky Gut Diet Sample Menu
Based on the recommendations above regarding the best and worst leaky gut foods, here is what a few days of meals might look like when following a leaky gut diet plan:
- Breakfast: avocado on sprouted grain toast topped with sauerkraut and tomatoes
- Lunch: salad topped with sliced grass-fed steak and cooked or cultured veggies
- Dinner: stir-fry made with mixed veggies and protein of our choice
- Breakfast: yogurt parfait made with plain yogurt, chia seeds and berries
- Lunch: cooked fish, such as salmon, with steamed veggies topped with olive oil
- Dinner: seared chicken served with a mixed salad or vegetable soup
- Breakfast: smoothie made with coconut milk, kefir or raw milk, sprouted almond butter and collagen protein powder
- Lunch: chicken salad made with yogurt and avocado, served with veggies or salad
- Dinner: steak or fish served with vegetable soup