Healing Leaky Gut Syndrome Diet

A Healing Leaky Gut Syndrome Diet

Leaky gut syndrome is a condition where the lining of the stomach becomes more permeable, or ‘porous’ allowing molecules into the bloodstream that should not be there. Nutrients and other small molecules are only meant to pass through the intestinal barrier and into the bloodstream to supply our organs with nutrition, hormones and other molecules it needs to function.  When larger molecules such as yeast, toxins, undigested food and other forms of waste enter the bloodstream, the body reacts negatively in unhealthful ways resulting in allergies, inflammation, brain fog, autoimmune disease and a host of other health challenges. A healing leaky gut syndrome diet is necessary to incorporate as well as certain supplements and lifestyle changes. Read more about what leaky gut syndrome is here.

What Causes Leaky Gut Syndrome?

There is a general consensus among health experts about the causes of leaky gut syndrome. Inflammation is one of the top reasons. Certain foods and toxins lead to inflammation in the gut, compromising the lining and leading to leaky gut.

  • Gluten – is a highly inflammatory food. You don’t have to have celiac to react to gluten in your diet.  Too much gluten can be a cause of leaky gut.
  • Sugar – sugar feeds bad bacteria in the gut leading to an imbalance of gut bacteria which is a cause of inflammation.
  • Medications – over the counter medications or prescription medications can irritate the lining of the stomach leading to inflammation.
  • Chronic stress – stress weakens the immune system resulting in lowered resistance to bad bacteria which become more prolific resulting in inflammation.
  • Yeast – when yeast gets out of control it sticks to the lining of the gut causing more holes in the lining of the gut.
  • Zinc – A deficiency in zinc causes the stomach to not function optimally allowing toxins and pathogens to take over. Studies show that supplementing with zinc heals leaky gut.

So as you can see, inflammation is at the root of leaky gut and certain foods and lifestyle contribute to the inflammation.  If you don’t heal the inflammation with a protocol of diet and lifestyle modifications, leaky gut will remain an issue.  If leaky gut is not addressed, other health conditions can arise.

Diet For Leaky Gut

The principles of a leaky gut diet are simple:

  • Add those foods that heal and support your gut.
  • Avoid those foods that imbalance the bacteria in the gut.

When embarking on a leaky gut diet, the first phase is very important as it involves adding food that is naturally healing and may include foods that you are not familiar with.  Don’t worry, you can eventually add in more foods that you normally eat as you make your way through the phases of the diet.

Phase 1  (21 Days)

Achieving intestinal health involves the 4 R’s; Remove, Replace, Reinoculate and Repair.  Phase 1 of the diet incorporates all 4 R’s.   Removing those foods that contribute to gut imbalance, replacing stomach acid and digestive enzymes needed for optimal digestion, reinoculate the gut with beneficial probiotics and prebiotics, and repairing the lining of the intestinal walls with beneficial fibers.

You will remove for the first 21 days:leaky gut (2)

  • Sugar (all natural and artificial)
  • Trans fats
  • Dried fruits
  • Juices
  • Gluten and all grains (including rice)
  • Corn (cornstarch)
  • Dairy
  • Soy
  • Eggs
  • Processed meats
  • Peanuts
  • Canola oil
  • All potatoes including yams
  • Legumes
  • Iceberg lettuce

So, what can you eat for the next 21 days? 


  • Grass-fed Beef
  • Organic, Free Range Chicken
  • Fish (low to no mercury)
  • shellfish

Vegetables: (Stick with only these veggies for Phase 1)

  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Berries
  • Broccoli (broccolini, broccoli rabe)
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbages
  • Capers
  • Carrots (only cooked)
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Garlic
  • Kale
  • Lettuce (not iceberg)
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Watercress
  • Zucchini

Fruits:                                                               IMG_1132

  • Apples
  • Avocado
  • Cherries
  • Coconut
  • Coconut water
  • Grapefruit
  • kiwi
  • Nectarines
  • Orange
  • Rhubarb

Nuts and Seeds:

  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Nut flours
  • Walnuts


  • Organic butter or ghee
  • Coconut milk
  • Coconut oil


  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils

All of the above foods will repair your gut, reinoculate your gut with healthy pro and prebiotics and repair the stomach lining.  Eat meals incorporating all of the foods above for Phase 1.

Phase 2 (4 Weeks)

The goal of Phase 2 is to boost your metabolism and add in a few more foods that continue to enforce the four R’s.

Continue to avoid the foods listed in Phase 1 to remove.

Foods to Add Back In:


  • Dairy (goats milk and kefir only)
  • Organic eggs
  • Mango
  • Melons
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Amaranth
  • Buckwheat
  • Millet
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Rice (brown, basmati, wild) NO white rice
  • Green beans
  • All beans
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Yams

Phase 3

By phase 3 your gut should be healing if not healed.  In Phase 3, you will continue with all the foods allowed in Phase 1 and 2, while continuing to avoid those foods that we removed in Phase 1.  If you still have some lingering issues, I recommend continuing Phase 2 for three more weeks.

Once you feel better, continue to be mindful of your body.  It will alert you to when there is an imbalance. Avoiding these foods or reducing them to only occasional indulgence is highly recommended for the rest of your life:

  • Packaged foods
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Trans fats
  • Canned fruits
  • Fruit juices
  • Soy
  • Canola oil
  • Artificial sugars
  • Refined sugars and flour

In conclusion, healing your gut involves removing certain foods that harm your gut, and then eating only those foods for a period of time that can strengthen and repair the gut.  Phase 1 and 2 involve avoiding and eating only those foods listed above.  Phase 3 of the diet is where you either continue on with Phase 2 if needed for three more weeks or going back to your regular diet while avoiding or reducing the forbidden foods for the rest of your life.

Let me be clear: Eating real food is very important to healing a leaky gut. But without a doubt, the #1 Mistake people make is thinking diet alone can heal their gut.

leaky gut quiz banner

Leaky gut is a complex problem that can affect many areas of the body. Therefore, it’s unlikely that just one thing would “fix” “cure” or “solve” it.

If this interests you, I want to invite you to come listen to a Free Presentation called “How to Solve A Leaky Gut”

On the free webinar you’ll learn:

  • The top leaky gut risk factors (that could indicate you have it)
  • 19 Leaky Gut Triggers from the Research
  • The 3-Step ‘pleiotropic approach’ to solving leaky gut

You’ll need to sign up for a seat by clicking the link below:

FREE Leaky Gut Webinar

This event is online and FREE

Please leave a comment below!

25 Comments Add yours
  1. Fantastic article! I’m always aware of when this occurs, it just “sets me off” – this has been so helpful! I didn’t realize there were so many different foods that can harm and help a leaky guy – and this gives me a lot more options as well – thanks so much!

  2. So glad I ran across your article. I’ll sent it to my sister; I’ve been trying to get her to search online for more healthy info. As for being able to have grass fed cows, that won’t be a problem for us. We have lots of neighbors here in Colorado that process their own meat. Now if I could get her (and I) off the refined sugars and flour. Thanks for your good info.

    1. Hi Joan, how lucky are you to have grass fed cows so near to you! It really makes such a big difference to take a little time to eat a healing diet. I hope your sister enjoys it!

  3. Hi Linda,
    I really enjoyed reading this article, and have learned a ton about this condition. As recent convert to whole food plant-based eating lifestyle, I do have a question. Why is soy on the list in phase 3?

    Rick C.

    1. Hi Rick, the reason soy is on the list is that most soy in the U.S. is GMO. Soy is a good food when it is sprouted and organic. Most U.S. soy is not that at all. So soy is an inflammatory and irritating food to most people in the U.S.

  4. What a fantastic article I like the idea of the 4 R’s, just one miner pointer though the list of foods seems to be very long have you considered perhaps having two columns of words for these sections. Great information tho very informative. We should take so much more care of what we put in our bodies as fuel. I think the better quality of food we eat is the happy we are as people.

    Many thanks


    1. Hey James, thanks for the feedback! I was considering putting the list in two columns, will change that. We sure should take care because it’s all the difference in leading a long and healthy life.

  5. Thanks for enlightening me, Linda, as I had heard of leaky gut but never really understood the implications. I am concerned about some the few foods that are allowed in phase 1 and 2. What if you also suspect that you may suffer from IBS where those foods may cause bloating? And also, is the 21 days time frame specifically suggested as the body reacts within that period?
    Thanks again, and look forward to learning more 🙂

    1. Hi Giulia, I would avoid those foods that cause bloating and other problems. Thankfully after following the protocol, your IBS should also be much better. The 21 days for Phase 1 is for giving your stomach a complete rest from foods that will contribute to inflammation. It’s so important to calm inflammation, so 21 days is a good period of time to calm things down if the diet is followed precisely.

  6. Wow this article shed a lot of light for me, my gut is so sensitive and it hard to know sometimes what exactly sets it off. Defiantly going to try these things out thank you!!

  7. That is a loooong list of food to be avoided there, but I suppose you gotta do what you gotta do to make yourself better, right? How is leaky gut syndrome diagnosed, is there a test?

  8. Wow – so much advice! It’s hard to know where to start, but your clear instructions make it easy, kind of like taking the research out of it. I was surprised to see iceberg lettuce on the list of things to avoid first. The best bit about it is the list of things you can have, because just focusing on what to avoid can be a bit depressing until you see all that is still available (and will be better in the long run!). Thanks for sharing.

  9. I really like your article. I am a long term suffer of the more serious condition Ulcerative Colitis. Without going into too much detail it has been a considerable restriction on my normally active lifestyle. No specialist that I have consulted over the years has ever provided me with such dietary information nor advised the 4R method. Why? Big Pharma is why! I have enjoyed considerable relief (remission) for a few years after consulting a Homeopath and by avoiding any of the foods you have listed to avoid and by eating a lot of organic products. I would highly recommend a teaspoon of Turmeric either in a tae based drink or mixed in with your food. It has worked wonders for me.

    1. Tonson, I am so glad you found a naturopath who could help you feel better. Ulcerative colitis is serious and the drugs don’t target the root of the problem. I’m very happy you have incorporated Tumeric into your diet, it can be a life changer for many. I think I will do a post about Turmeric as well in honor of your post. 🙂

  10. What are the symptoms of leaky gut syndrome? I eat a lot of the foods that are mentioned in Phase One like potatoes, dried fruits, corn , dairy and eggs. Do I have to cut down on those if I don’t have leaky gut syndrome?

  11. Hi Linda, fantastic article. I’ve learned a lot in it. I appreciate the diet phases part very much. I guess, even for someone like me, who hasn’t experienced any gut problem yet, hopefully not, the diet plan can be helpful too. It is a great way to cleanse our internal digestive system. I will definitely bookmark this for my future reference and as a refresher reminder. Thanks again for this very informative article =)

    1. Hi JR, thank you for your comment. Protecting our gut health is so important because our immunity is housed in our gut. Most people are surprised to hear that over 75 percent of our immune system is between the lining of the gut, so protecting our stomach is so very important for future health.

  12. Hi Linda, I recently discovered that I’m intolerance to yeast and lactose. Do you recommend any kind of bread and pasta that I could eat, any grain in particular? I live in Italy and is so difficult to avoid those food here…Thank you very much! I think your website is going to save me here!

    1. Hi Natalia! Living in Italy and no bread! That’s okay, you can find things that are tasty and healthful for you to eat. If you love to bake, here is a wonderful bread recipe that uses rice flour and no yeast. http://www.food.com/recipe/yeast-free-bread-67405 Try it and let me know how you like it. Also, try rice pasta or even lentil pasta. I’m a fan of lentil pastas. Grains and non grains you can try are quinoa, rice, tapioca, amaranth, Kamut, almond flours or chickpea flours. I’ll put up some more recipes and share them with you soon!

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