Food can be your medicine, but it can also be your poison. Especially when it comes to your gut health. Healing leaky gut naturally or an unhealthy gut in general is possible, and it can also be quite easy—as long as you know what healthy foods will truly help you.
“If there’s one thing to know about the human body; it’s this: the human body has a ringmaster. This ringmaster controls your digestion, your immunity, your brain, your weight, your health and even your happiness. This ringmaster is the gut.”
-Nancy S. Mure, PhD
First off, you may be wondering…
What Is Leaky Gut?
It all starts with your small intestine (where the majority of vitamins are absorbed). In order for that to happen, the small intestine has microscopic pores (a point of safe transfer to the bloodstream). Once this transfer occurs, those nutrients are sent all throughout the body via your blood.
In other words, the intestinal wall is semipermeable, meaning that nutrient molecules can pass through. And if all is well gut-wise, toxins and big undigested food particles are blocked off.
Here lies the problem: When your gut goes into “leaky mode,” those micro-pores widen. You know what the means… Those toxins and undigesteds pass right through the barrier and run rampant in your bloodstream.
Due to this, the immune system feels the need to attack these foreign particles (“invaders” in their language), which causes various allergies, intolerances, and even autoimmune diseases more often than not.
All would be fine and dandy if your immune system only attacked the particles, but no… Those hyper-activated antibodies attack healthy cells as well!
This chart below further clarifies what I’m talking about:
Gut-Damperers in Food Form
Before we get into nature’s gut-healers, it’s absolutely vital to know what kinds of foods one should avoid (as much as possible) when facing digestive issues of any kind.
And here they are: Grains, legumes, sugars, dairy, alcohol, caffeine, carbs, and bad-for-you oils like soybean and corn oil. Oh, and don’t forget about nightshades (potatoes, sweet and hot peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, cayenne peppers, paprika, etc.), nuts, seeds, and eggs.
Your goal is to reduce bodily inflammation, especially in your gut. This doesn’t necessarily mean you can never eat that stuff I just listed. Just keep them at a bare minimum until your gut truly heals.
“All disease begins in the gut.”
Gut-Restorers in Food Form
Okay, now let’s focus on the positives. Here are the top 10 good guys!
1 Fermented Veggies
This one’s for the plant-based foodists. Add a spoon full of sauerkraut to your salad, or eat it on its own. Kimchi is another good one! Pickles too.
2 Fermented Drinks
Try some kombucha or ginger beer. Wine and beer are fermented beverages as well, but remember the foods I told you to avoid (alcohol)?
[Related Post: Top 10 Reasons to Drink Apple Cider Vinegar Daily.]
3 Cultured Foods
Yogurt is what usually comes to mind, but that isn’t the only cultured food out there. There’s also sour cream and cottage cheese. If you aren’t casein intolerant, fermented milk products are the way to go. These have been fermented with a bacteria called lactic acid (i.e.: Lactobacillus).
The reason I didn’t mention lactose intolerance is because the University of Michigan Integrative Health states that such foods can actually improve overall lactose (milk sugar) digestion.
4 Bone Broth
This one’s for the paleo eaters. Not only is it supremely easy to digest, it’s also teeming with easy-to-absorb minerals. The glycine, glutamine, and gelatin in bone broth is what makes this option optimal for the repair of your leaky intestines.
5 FAT. Healthy Fat, That Is!
Think in terms of organic, pasture-raised meat and avocados. Virgin coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil are also considered healthy fats.
Wild-caught fish—salmon especially are the best source of omega 3s out there! For those who don’t eat meat, try seaweed or walnut oil. Chia, flax, and hemp seeds are great as well, but seeds shouldn’t be eaten too often when attempting to restore gut health.
[Related Post: What Does “Wild-Caught” Mean?]
With undeniably powerful anti-inflammatory properties, Turmeric has proven to aid in healing the gut, by supporting its growth of probiotics (good bacteria).
The best way to ingest lemon is by squeezing some into a room-temperature glass of water the moment you wake up and drinking it slowly. This cleanses the digestive tract. A cleaner digestive tract, is surely a healthier one.
I mentioned probiotics already. Garlic is a PREbiotic, so it’s partially fermented by the nice gut flora into short-chain fatty acids. That’s great news for your gut, but at the same time… fermentation = gas. Quite a bit of it! Unless the case of the farts is a consistent issue for you, this gas-production “perk” shouldn’t deter you from eating garlic.
Another natural antibiotic! My favorite way to eat ginger is in curried dishes. I dice it up into tiny pieces and throw it in the meal. Ginger tea is a wonderful alternative too and it’s known to aid in digestion and combat that nasty inflammation.
Best of all? There are virtually no side effects. This will pack an even greater punch if combined with garlic!
“The road to health is paved with good intestines!”
– Sherry A. Rogers, M.D.
As you can see, damaged gut flora and a leaky gut to match doesn’t need to be a permanent sort of thing. Nutritional foods like the ones mentioned above will have a profoundly positive impact on the overall healing process.
But that alone won’t turn it all around for you. Exercise and low-stress is also a must! Not that into exercise? Rebounding just might change your mind.
[Related Post: Rebounding Benefits: 10 Reasons to Jump Like Nobody’s Watching]
And if you’re prone to becoming easily stressed and anxious, then check out some extremely helpful, science-backed tips to stop those negative emotions dead in their tracks.
You are now on your way to a healthier, happier gut! Do you know of any gut-restoring foods that you would like to share with everyone?
*DISCLAIMER: Always consult a medical professional before applying the advice given throughout this website. While the articles on HMM are thoroughly researched, it is important to speak with your medical provider before starting a new exercise routine or introducing something new to your diet. We ourselves are NOT doctors, so the information we feature should not be used to replace any of your medications or lifestyle choices that have been recommended by your doctor. Read at your own risk and read our full disclaimer here.*