According to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, one in five Americans has an autoimmune disease. It has also been theorized that autoimmune diseases are a result of poor gut health – your gut may be the root cause of the chronic conditions you are facing now.
Quick Recap: What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?
When our intestinal lining is functioning properly, it forms a tight barrier that protects the body from harmful bacteria and toxins. Tight openings in the intestinal walls allow essential nutrients and water to be absorbed into the bloodstream while keeping harmful toxins inside.
However, for those with Leaky Gut Syndrome, the gut lining may have large cracks or holes that allow toxins, bugs and undigested food particles to enter the tissues beneath it. This “leaky gut” may result in inflammation and changes in the gut bacteria which could lead to autoimmune diseases.
Some of its nasty symptoms of Leaky Gut Syndrome include
- Gas and bloating
- Irregular bowels
- Terrible immunity and skin problems
Leaky Gut Syndrome may also contribute to other health issues including
Healing a Leaky Gut with Food
As many doctors do not consider Leaky Gut Syndrome to be a legitimate medical condition, there is no standard treatment. Nonetheless, it is believed that dietary and lifestyle changes may help people to improve their gut health. This, in turn, may alleviate leaky gut symptoms.
Note: Just to set things straight, there have been debates about whether or not Leaky Gut Syndrome is real. But because I am no doctor nor scientist, I will not go down the rabbit hole of that debate. If you are looking for scientific references or need medical advice, please do seek your doctor’s opinion.
What this article aims to do is to help those who have Leaky Gut Syndrome to reduce its symptoms and find relief through dietary changes.
Best Foods to Eat for Leaky Gut
The best foods for leaky gut would be based on an anti-inflammatory diet. Foods that cause inflammation make leaky gut worse.
Bone Broth or Collagen
The gelatin in bone broth heals the mucosal lining of the intestines and help with digestion of nutrients. Also, bone broth is a rich source of an amino acid called glutamine, which has been shown to reduce intestinal permeability.
Vegans may opt for Galangal broth instead, which is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
Aim to eat food with quality fat such as avocado, walnuts, seeds and coconut oil. In particular, Avocado is a natural anti-inflammatory food and one of the best non-animal fats for your digestive system.
For the non-vegetarian, wild salmon will be a good option to include in your diet. It is rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which have been found to improve symptoms of autoimmune diseases and help with inflammation.
Try to eliminate refined vegetable oils especially corn and soybean oil, which can increase inflammation.
Fermented foods are high in probiotics, essential for keeping your digestive system functioning well. Foods such as water kefir, kimchi and sauerkraut, support a balanced intestinal ecosystem
Low-Glycemic High Fiber Carbohydrates
Non-starchy vegetables such as leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, are high in prebiotic fibre. Prebiotic fibre is crucial for gut health as they feed healthy probiotic bacteria.
Fruits such as blueberries are rich in vitamins, anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. This means you are not only helping your gut but also protecting your body from a whole lot of diseases.
If you are not taking enough probiotics naturally through food, you can get them through dietary supplements. This can help you digest foods properly and repair the gut lining.
Other Lifestyle Changes
Remove inflammatory foods from your diet especially processed foods, processed meats, sugars, artificial sweeteners and chemicals
Foods that cause inflammation will worsen symptoms of a leaky gut. Of these, sugar is one of the most inflammatory foods that leads to many health issues such as heart disease and diabetes. It should be reduced if not eliminated from your diet altogether.
Other foods that have been processed or are not natural are likely going to trigger inflammation. Eating minimally processed, organic foods with no chemical additives can prevent additional toxins from entering your system.
While it is almost impossible to completely remove inflammatory foods from your diet while maintaining a normal life, being aware of what you eat can help you reduce your intake of such foods.
Have you experienced stomach aches when you’re highly stressed or anxious? Stomach problems are one of the most common symptoms of stress. This is because your body releases hormones when you’re stressed; These hormones slow down the digestive system so that your body can focus on dealing with the stressor.
Manage and Reduce Stress
High levels of stress over a long period increases the risk of bacteria imbalance since your body is not digesting properly. Over time, this can affect your gut lining and increases the intestine’s permeability.
This puts highly stressed people at risk of chronic inflammation.
Moderate Your Exercise
Exercise is great for overall health, and I will be the last person to ask anyone to stop exercising. However, research has shown that the stress response of prolonged vigorous exercise shuts down gut function. Further, blood is redistributed away from the gut towards the muscles during strenuous exercise, creating gut cell injury that may result in several conditions including leaky gut.
To manage leaky gut while getting your exercise regularly, you can swop long-distance running or HIIT with yoga, swimming or walking which are beneficial not only for the body but also for calming the mind.
I hope that this article has been helpful. Leave me a comment below if you enjoyed this article or have any questions!
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The YogaMad is founded by Mila, an avid yogini who is passionate about inspiring others to live their best lives while finding mind-body-soul balance. She has a background in business consulting but has left the corporate world in her quest to live out her dreams as a yoga nomad.