The health of your gut affects your health overall. If you notice signs of a leaky gut, you need to take extra care to address and heal the problem. Erosion of your gut lining will affect your digestion, immune system and sensitivity to pain in your intestines. The best way to treat a leaky gut is to follow a healing diet that’s high in nutritious, anti-inflammatory foods and low in foods that cause harm and inflammation. We’re letting you in on how to heal a leaky gut by boosting and limiting certain foods and supplements in your diet.
What Is a Leaky Gut?
Leaky gut, also called intestinal permeability, is a condition where the lining of the small intestine becomes damaged, allowing undigested food particles, toxic waste products and bacteria to “leak” through the intestines and into the bloodstream. This can cause an autoimmune response in the body, including inflammatory and allergic reactions such as migraines, irritable bowel, eczema, chronic fatigue, food allergies and more. When you have a leaky gut, the damaged cells in your intestines don’t produce the enzymes needed for proper digestion, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies, hormone imbalances and a weakened immune system.
What Causes a Leaky Gut?
A leaky gut can be caused by numerous things. Certain people may be genetically predisposed to a leaky gut due to sensitivities to environmental factors that trigger their bodies into initiating autoimmune responses. Poor diet can also contribute to a leaky gut, especially a diet high in inflammatory foods like refined sugar and oils, GMOs, unsprouted grains, synthetic food additives, conventional dairy products and alcohol.
Chemicals and toxins including antibiotics, pesticides and tap water can also cause a leaky gut, as can an imbalance between beneficial and harmful bacteria in your gut. Medications like antibiotics, steroids, aspirin and acetaminophen can irritate the intestinal lining and damage protective mucus layers. This irritation can cause an inflammation cycle that leads to a leaky gut. Stress can also contribute to a leaky gut, as it increases cortisol and other stress hormones, which negatively impacts gut health. Chronic stress can make it difficult to heal your leaky gut, including chronic stress from over-exercising or over-training.
What Are The Signs and Symptoms of a Leaky Gut?
1. Gastric ulcers
2. Chronic diarrhea, constipation or bloating
3. Nutritional deficiencies
7. Difficulty concentrating
8. Skin issues like acne, rashes or eczema
9. Joint pain
10. Cravings for sugar or carbs
11. Anxiety and depression
12. Poor immune system
How to Heal a Leaky Gut
1. Up Your Probiotic Intake
Foods high in probiotics include kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi and fermented vegetables. They contain beneficial bacteria and short-chain fatty acids that can help heal the gut. Fermented foods specifically contain organic acids that balance intestinal pH and probiotics to support the gut. You should eat foods high in probiotics every day. You can also try a probiotic supplement if you don’t feel like you get enough probiotics from food.
2. Eat Lots of Prebiotics
Probiotics are types of fibre that feed your healthy gut bacteria. This allows your gut bacteria to produce nutrients for your colon cells, which results in a healthier digestive system. Prebiotic foods include garlic, onions, asparagus, bananas, barley, oats, apples, chicory root and dandelion greens. Try to eat some form of prebiotics at least once a day.
3. Limit Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol can contribute to gut issues, negatively impacting the permeability of the intestinal barrier. If consumed in large quantities, it can also inhibit the production of digestive enzymes and juices, making it more difficult for your body to break down, digest and absorb nutrients from your food. Partially digested food can cause excessive fermentation in your gut.
4. Consume Bone Broth
Bone broth is full of collagen and the amino acids proline and glycine that can help heal damaged cell walls. It nourishes the intestinal lining and reduces inflammation, plus it’s easy for your damaged gut to digest. Easy digestion allows you to reap more of the benefits of the broth’s protein and minerals. If you’re making your own bone broth, add lots of prebiotic, anti-inflammatory vegetables to help restore your gut even further.
5. Take L-Glutamine
Glutamine powder is pretty much a must if you want to heal a leaky gut. It’s an essential amino acid supplement that has anti-inflammatory properties and is necessary for the growth and repair of your intestinal lining. L-glutamine acts as a protector, lining your cell walls and repelling irritants.
6. Remove Processed Foods
Remove as many processed foods as you can from your diet, including unsprouted grains, refined oils, synthetic food additives, packaged meats, microwave meals and frozen pizzas. These foods are treated by the body as foreign invaders that need to be fought off. They can trigger an immune response that includes diarrhea, headaches, fatigue and joint pain.
7. Try Liquorice Root
Liquorice root is an adaptogenic herb that helps balance cortisol levels and improves acid production in the stomach. It supports the body’s natural processes for maintaining the mucosal lining of the stomach and duodenum (a tube that connects the stomach to the small intestine). Liquorice root also helps the way you produce and metabolize cortisol, so is especially beneficial if your leaky gut is caused by emotional stress.
8. Limit Refined Carbs and Sugar
Refined carbs and sugar are both enemies to a healthy gut. Diets high in sugar lead to chronic inflammation, as sugar contributes to the formation of harmful biochemical compounds that spike inflammation. Both sugar and refined carbs cause inflammation-boosting changes to gut bacteria, which negatively impacts our overall health. Sugar also elevates cholesterol, alters the gut microbiome and leads to weight gain.
If you have a leaky gut, try changing up your diet to increase or limit the foods on this list. Your diet can make a huge difference in your gut health.
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