Looking for more information about the leaky gut diet, or think you might have the case of the leaky gut? Also known as high intestinal permeability, this is a condition where the gaps in your intestinal walls start to loosen a little. Because of this less tight gap, larger particles such as bacteria, undigested food, and potential toxins can pass into your bloodstream.
However, this doesn’t need to inhibit your diet or make it any less tasty. By following today’s ultimate leaky gut diet, you’ll be more equipped with the knowledge to make your best choices and enjoy some great meals. But before we get started, let’s take a closer look at what exactly a leaky gut is so that you know the ins and outs of your condition.
What is Leaky Gut?
If you’re not quite familiar with what your digestive system is, it’s basically a collection of several organs that work together to break down your food. From this breakdown, they hope to take in nutrients and water all while expelling waste. In your intestines where most of the magic takes place, you’ve got an intestinal lining that works as a barrier between your gut and bloodstream to prevent anything harmful from passing through.
Within this lining, there are small and tight gaps that open up for nutrients and water to pass into the bloodstream. This is where the term ‘intestinal permeability’ comes in — it describes how easily substances pass through your intestinal walls.
The higher your intestinal permeability, the looser your gaps become. This can potentially let harmful substances in, which effectively describes the case of a leaky gut. Although the exact cause of a leaky gut is currently unknown, there are several diseases that can rise alongside, such as celiac disease and type 1 diabetes.
Researchers also know that there is a protein that regulates the tightness of your gaps. The more zonulin you have, the greater your chance of having increased permeability. Beyond this protein, other potential causes may include some inflammation markers, long-term anti-inflammatory drug use, and even low levels of good gut bacteria in a condition called gut dysbiosis.
Despite the ongoing discussion that having a leaky gut isn’t exactly an official medical condition, that doesn’t mean there’s no way you can improve your digestive health.
In fact, there are plenty of actions you can take to maintain a good functioning gut. One of the best ways to start is with your diet plan and the foods you consume. Let’s take a look at some of the best food choices you can make to empower your health.
Best Foods to Eat
Without hesitation, you’re going to want to eat foods that help the growth of healthy gut bacteria. The more unhealthier gut bacteria you have, the more you’re at risk for developing chronic conditions and other health problems.
In general, the best foods to focus on contain a lot of fiber. That includes some of your favorite yogurts, cultured dairy products, and other fiber-loaded vegetables, fruits, and unprocessed lean meats. Foods that contain the healthy kind of fats are also great options. Take a look at the list below for a comprehensive set of foods that you should check out:
- Tons of vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, mushrooms, kale, carrots, Brussel sprouts, spinach, ginger, and zucchini.
- Get in your roots and tubers like wholesome potatoes, yams, carrots, and squashes.
- Fermented vegetables are a great source to eat, such as kimchi and miso.
- Don’t forget about the many varieties of fruits you could purchase at the supermarket, such as grapes, raspberries, strawberries, pineapple, melon, bananas, and more.
- Sprout seeds are easy to grow at home such as chia seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and many more options.
- Try to eat more heart-healthy gluten-free grains, which you can obtain from bread, rice, oats, and buckwheat among many choices.
- Not only is fish a great source of protein, but also fantastic for your gut as well. Salmon and tuna in particular are rich in omega-3 and plenty of other health benefits.
- Along with fish as protein, you’ll also want to get in your lean meats and eggs. Whatever cut you like best suffices.
- Cultured dairy products like yogurt contain lots of healthy gut bacteria and probiotics.
- Raw nuts like almonds, peanuts, and walnuts can make for a tasty snack on the road.
Now that you know what some of the best foods are to eat for your leaky gut, let’s take a look at the foods you should avoid eating for better digestive health.
Foods You Want to Pass
In general, you’ll want to avoid any foods that can worsen inflammation in your body and thus create more unhealthy gut bacteria. The following foods have been linked to potentially harm the good bacteria in your stomach and produce those awful conditions we’re all familiar with, such as bloating and constipation.
- Any wheat-based products such as large amounts of bread, pasta, or cereals.
- Gluten-heavy grains like barley and rye aren’t as great as the gluten-free kind.
- Processed cuts of meat such as hot dogs, bacon, and deli meats should be avoided.
- You’ll want to avoid junk food to preserve a healthy gut and to promote better health overall in general.
- You also want to make sure that you’re not eating too many dairy products like milk, cheeses, and entire tubs of ice cream.
Those are a few of the major foods that you should avoid to better the health of your gut. As you might be able to tell, some of these choices can be made with your common sense. Healthy foods like fruit and veggies will always be better than junk food and processed meats, no matter the state of your digestive system.
Where it all comes together is in your meal plans. When sitting down to create your perfect week’s outlook, your leaky gut diet should contain plenty of fruits, veggies, and lean meats. It’s always a good idea to toss in some yogurts, fermented veggies, and nuts as a snack. To get your creative juices flowing, here are a few daily meal plan examples that you can adapt to your own lifestyle.
Breakfast: A fruit-filled Greek yogurt smoothie
Lunch: A leafy green salad with tossed nuts and hard-boiled egg slices
Dinner: Veggie and beef stir-fry with fermented kimchi
Breakfast: Delicious omelets topped with sliced veggies
Lunch: Veggie frittatas and leftovers
Dinner: Seared salmon with a salad on the side
Breakfast: Coconut and chia seed pudding
Lunch: A chicken salad dressed with olive oil
Dinner: Grilled chicken wings with sweet potato on the side
As you can see, there are limitless food options and combinations you can choose from to please your taste buds and benefit your gut. With how diverse the culinary world is, a leaky gut never has to hold you back from living your best life.