Leaky Gut Diet (DO’s & DON’Ts)

  Reviewed
 by Dr. Steve Hruby
Reviewed by Dr. Steve Hruby

I am a chiropractor, father, husband, coach, entrepreneur, and motivational speaker. Feeling good about yourself is a choice: My mission is to transform lives through optimized health and overall well-being.

  Fact Checked
 by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT
Reviewed by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT

I’ve been called a Data Ninja, The Fact Checker, and a Human Search Engine. I’m an indie content curator who does research daily, and quizzes myself on the important issues of the day.

leaky gut diet

Many people are talking about the benefits of a leaky gut diet. But what is it? What are the best foods to eat (and avoid) if you have a leaky gut?

The first step is to remove foods causing gut damage and inflammation. Some include gluten, wheat, processed meat, and junk food. Next, you need to take foods that help heal the gut. Examples include bone broth, fermented foods, and probiotics.

Finally, ensure you get enough nutrients for gut health, including vitamin D, omega-3s, and glutamine.

Unsure of what exactly to make? Check out the best meal plan for leaky gut and must-know tips below.

Diet and Leaky Gut

A leaky gut diet is a diet designed to heal and repair the gut lining. The gut lining is a crucial component of the digestive system. It helps to protect the gut from bacteria, toxins, and other harmful substances.

When the gut lining gets damaged, these harmful substances can “leak” into the bloodstream. This leakage can lead to multiple issues, including inflammation, food allergies, and autoimmune diseases.

Several factors contribute to a leaky gut, including excess sugar and refined carbs, stress, and certain medications.

There’s no one-size-fits-all diet for leaky gut, but certain foods can help heal the gut and reduce inflammation. These include bone broth, fermented foods, and probiotic-rich foods.

Avoiding processed, sugary, and inflammatory foods like gluten and dairy are also essential. Eating a diet rich in vegetables, healthy fats, and quality protein can also help to heal the gut and reduce inflammation.

Benefits of Leaky Gut Diet: Following a leaky gut diet has many potential benefits.

  1. Reduced Inflammation

Inflammation is a significant factor in many chronic diseases, including heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes. A diet that helps to reduce inflammation can, therefore, also help to protect against these conditions.

  1. Improved Digestion

A leaky gut can lead to digestive concerns like constipation and bloating. By healing the gut and reducing inflammation, a leaky gut diet can help to improve digestion.

  1. Better Nutrient Absorption

A leaky gut can prevent the absorption of nutrients from food. A leaky gut diet can help improve nutrient absorption and prevent nutrient deficiencies by healing the gut.

  1. Clearer Skin

A leaky gut can lead to skin problems like acne, eczema, and psoriasis. By healing the gut and reducing inflammation, a leaky gut diet can help to clear up the skin.

smiling woman wearing flowers on her head
  1. Improved Mood

A leaky gut can contribute to mood disorders like anxiety and depression. By healing the gut and reducing inflammation, a leaky gut diet can help to improve mood.

  1. Reduced Allergy Symptoms

By healing the gut and reducing inflammation, a leaky gut diet can help to reduce allergy symptoms. No one wants to suffer from non-stop allergies.

  1. Better Joint Health

A leaky gut can contribute to joint pain and inflammation. By healing the gut, a leaky gut diet can help to improve joint health.

  1. Improved Brain Health

A leaky gut can contribute to cognitive problems and neurological disorders. By improving gut health, a leaky gut diet can help to enhance brain health.

How Leaky Gut Diet Works

A leaky gut diet is a specialized diet that helps repair and soothe a damaged or inflamed gastrointestinal tract.

The healing process happens by following a diet that eliminates foods that cause inflammation. Next, include plenty of gut-healing foods in your diet.

Your gut is unique. What works for one person might not work for another. Listen to your body and make changes to your diet as needed. Healing the gut can take time. Don’t expect to see results overnight. Be patient and give your gut time to heal.

What Foods To Eat?

Here’s the leaky gut food list you can use to minimize toxins raking up your health.

  • Seeds: chia, flax, sunflower
  • Fish: salmon, herring, tuna
  • Grains: rice, corn, oats, quinoa
  • Nuts: peanuts, pine nuts, cashew nuts, almonds
  • Roots: yams, potatoes, carrots, squash
  • Fruits: oranges, strawberries, bananas, blueberries, grapes, papaya, kiwi, pineapple, lemon, etc.
  • Lactose-free dairy and non-dairy products: yogurt, almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk
  • Vegetables: Some of the best vegetables for leaky gut include eggplant, kale, broccoli, spinach, cabbage, carrots, and mushrooms.
  • Lean meats: Even if you aren’t a fan of fish, lean meats shouldn’t miss from your leaky gut shopping list unless you are on a vegetarian diet. The best options include chicken, lamb, beef, turkey, and eggs.

What Foods To Avoid?

Not everything (even usually healthy foods) is suitable for a leaky gut. Some foods can irritate and damage the delicate lining of the gut.

potato chips

So, what should you never add to your leaky gut diet shopping list?

  • Junk food: Candy, cookies, chips, and fast food.
  • Processed meat: Cold cuts, bacon,  deli meat, and hot dogs.
  • Beverages: Liquor, carbonated drinks, and other sugary beverages.
  • Gluten products: wheat, barley, bulgur, triticale, seitan, rye, and oats.
  • Baked stuff: Avoid cakes, cookies, muffins, pies, pastries, pizza, etc.
  • Refined oils: Cottonseed, palm, coconut, safflower, sunflower, corn/soybean, olive, and canola oils.
  • Artificial sweeteners: Avoid ingredients like lactose, sucralose, erythritol, and fructose.
  • Wheat products: Foods made with wheat flour, like bread, cereals, couscous, and pasta.

Leaky Gut Sample Diet Plan for 3 Days

Need a simple-to-follow and tasty leaky gut meal plan for three days? Here’s a summary.

Day 1 Day 2Day 3
BreakfastGreek yogurtAlmond milk smoothieGluten-free oatmeal
LunchFrittataVegetable stir-frySalmon, sweet potatoes, and veg
Snackgrapes and brieWalnuts and cherriesA mix of almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts
DinnerBroiled steakGrilled chicken wingsLean meat and broccoli 

Day 1 

Begin the leaky gut diet with a Greek yogurt breakfast. You can take this with mango, banana, blueberries, almond seeds, pumpkin seeds, or oatmeal.

For lunch, we’ll have frittata. You may want to add the following foods.

  • Broccoli
  • Tomatoes
  • Eight Eggs and any additional preferred protein (optional)

Preparation

  1. Preheat your oven (to 375F).
  2. Whisk eggs together.
  3. Add in the broccoli, tomatoes, and preferred protein.
  4. Evenly mix everything.
  5. Pour the mix into a casserole dish.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the frittata is firm and golden brown on top.

As dinner arrives, we’ll treat ourselves to broiled steak. We’ll need the following:

  • Unrefined salt
  • ½ a pound of steak
  • Olive oil (extra-virgin) 

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to broil.
  2. Meanwhile, rub the steak with the oil and unrefined salt.
  3. Place steak on a rack in the oven.
  4. Broil for about seven minutes per side or until acceptable doneness.
  5. Remove your steak from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

Serve with unripe banana mash and preferred vegetables.

Take grapes and brie for snacks for the day. The grapes provide a healthy option for snacking, while the brie is a delicious and creamy add-on.

Day 2 

For day two, we’ll start with an almond milk smoothie. As we wait for lunch, we can snack on cherries and walnuts.

smoothie with almonds and banana

For lunch, we’ll have vegetable stir fry.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb beef
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1/2 zucchini
  • 1/2 head broccoli

Instructions:

  1. Slice the beef into thin strips.
  2. Cut the broccoli into small florets.
  3. Peel and slice the carrots into thin strips.
  4. Seed and slice the bell pepper into thin strips.
  5. Spiralize the zucchini into noodles.
  6. Heat (high) a wok or large skillet.
  7. Add the beef and flip until browned.
  8. Add the broccoli, carrots, bell pepper, and zucchini noodles, and stir-fry until your veg is tender-crisp (about four minutes).
  9. Serve with brown rice.

At supper time, we’ll have grilled chicken wings.

Ingredients

  • Unrefined salt
  • 1/2 lb chicken wings
  • One tbsp olive oil (extra-virgin)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the grill to medium heat.
  2. Mix your chicken, oil and salt.
  3. Grill chicken wings for about 10 minutes, flipping once or until fully cooked.
  4. Enjoy!

Day 3 

We’ll usher in the third day of a leaky gut diet with gluten-free oatmeal topped with blueberries and water or dairy-free milk. As we wait for our next meal, we’ll snack on hazelnuts, almonds, and walnuts.

servings of oatmeal with fresh berries on top

A salmon and sweet potato leaky gut lunch layered with vegetables is a fantastic way to get vitamins and minerals.

For this lunch, we’ll need

  • 4 oz. salmon
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (extra-virgin)
  • Unrefined sea salt to taste
  • 1 cup of your favorite vegetables

Preparations

  1. Preheat your oven.
  2. Place your salmon on aluminum-lined baking sheets.
  3. Bake for 12-15 min/ until the salmon cooks.
  4. While the salmon is baking, peel and chop the sweet potato into bite-sized pieces.
  5. Heat your oil over moderate heat in a large skillet.
  6. Add the sweet potatoes and cook until they are tender.
  7. Stir in the vegetables and cook for five minutes.
  8. Season with salt and preferred spices suitable for leaky gut.
  9. To assemble, place the sweet potato and vegetable mixture on a plate and top it with the cooked salmon.

At dinner, we’ll have beef and broccoli.

Ingredients

  • Broccoli
  • Unrefined salt.
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (extra-virgin)
  • 1/2 pound chicken breast

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven.
  2. Place chicken breasts on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet.
  3. Cut broccoli into small florets and place them around the chicken on the baking sheet.
  4. Drizzle olive oil over the chicken and broccoli. Season with unrefined salt.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Customizing Your Leaky Gut Diet

If you’re considering following a leaky gut diet, it’s a good idea to work with a dietitian or nutritionist. They can help you to create a tailored leaky gut diet plan. However, here are extra alternatives to get you started.

smiling woman with glasses beside healthy foods

Breakfast Ideas

Kickstart your day with gut-healing drinks and recipes like

  1. Scrambled eggs with veggies
  2. Omelet with avocado and tomato
  3. Quinoa bowl with blueberries and almond milk
  4. Smoothie with banana, almond milk, and spinach
  5. Chia pudding with mango and coconut milk

Lunch Ideas

Alternative lunch options include:

  1. Buttermilk marinated herring with avocado and stir-fried greens
  2. Turkey wrap with hummus and veggies
  3. Lamb with sweet potato
  4. Sauerkraut tuna salad
  5. Veggie wrap with hummus and avocado

Dinner Ideas

Other excellent dinner options include:

  1. Chicken salad and Brussels sprouts
  2. Tempeh with brown rice
  3. Kimchi rice and broccoli stir-fry
  4. Turkey meatballs with zucchini noodles
  5. Tofu with miso soup

Snacks

Fresh fruits are an excellent snack while on a leaky gut diet. However, you can also try.

  1. Flaxseed energy balls
  2. Kombucha
  3. Sourdough veggie sandwich
  4. Vegetables with hummus
  5. Celery with peanut butter
  6. Rice crackers

FAQs: What Else Should You Know about Leaky Gut?

person holding a bowl of quinoa with broccoli and other veggies

What Diseases are Linked to Leaky Gut?

Autoimmune hepatitis, celiac, type-1 diabetes, and inflammatory bowel diseases are linked to leaky gut. The condition may also contribute to systemic lupus erythematosus and multiple sclerosis. When the gut is “leaky,” proteins and bacteria can enter the bloodstream, causing inflammation.

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Heal Leaky Gut?

No evidence supports the theory that apple cider vinegar heals leaky gut, though experts believe it helps with the condition. ACV contains about 6% acetic acid, which may help prevent the overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut.

Additionally, ACV may help increase the production of stomach acid, which can help break down food and improve digestion.

You can add ACV to weight loss detox drinks like green tea with lemon for more benefits.

Is Banana Good for Leaky Gut?

Unripe banana is good for leaky gut because it’s rich in dietary fiber. While ripe banana supplies 3g of fiber per 100g, unripe supplies 4.4g. Banana helps to bulk up stools and promote regularity.

Conclusion

If you have a damaged gut, following a leaky gut diet is essential. This diet includes eating plenty of fiber, healthy fats, and fermented foods. It also includes drinking bone broth, green juice, and adequate water.

Avoid processed foods, gluten, baked goods, junk, refined oils, and artificial sweeteners. These can damage the gut lining and promote inflammation.

By following a leaky gut diet and making other lifestyle changes, you can heal your gut and improve your overall health.

Don’t forget to add some vegetables for a leaky gut to get an ample supply of vitamins. Including leaky-gut supplements also hastens healing.

Try this Japanese diet plan if you need other interesting ways to make meals without compromising your leaky gut.

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