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:
- Sugar (all natural and artificial)
- Trans fats
- Dried fruits
- Gluten and all grains (including rice)
- Corn (cornstarch)
- Processed meats
- Canola oil
- All potatoes including yams
- Iceberg lettuce
So, what can you eat for the next 21 days?
- Grass-fed Beef
- Organic, Free Range Chicken
- Fish (low to no mercury)
Vegetables: (Stick with only these veggies for Phase 1)
- Broccoli (broccolini, broccoli rabe)
- Brussels sprouts
- Carrots (only cooked)
- Lettuce (not iceberg)
- Coconut water
Nuts and Seeds:
- Brazil nuts
- Nut flours
- Organic butter or ghee
- Coconut milk
- Coconut oil
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
- Rice (brown, basmati, wild) NO white rice
- Green beans
- All beans
- Sweet potatoes
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
- 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 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:
This event is online and FREE
Please leave a comment below!