Can you have a medical condition that doesn’t officially exist? That’s the case with the so-called “leaky gut.” Supporters of alternative medicine argue that it’s a thing. However, the medical world argues there isn’t solid evidence to make it a health condition that can be diagnosed. There’s no question that some people have unhealthy intestines. It can cause small bits of stuff like food to get into the bloodstream. This situation is more common among people who have certain health conditions like Crohn’s disease. The problem is this just seems to be a symptom of other diseases instead of an actual condition. That is what the leaky gut diet is all about.
If you have a leaky gut, then it’s important to make sure you’re eating the right foods and avoid the wrong ones. The reason is certain foods/drinks can cause inflammation. That can worsen the condition including leaky gut symptoms. Foods like fatty fish, fermented veggies/dairy, and fresh fruits are some good options. Meanwhile, you should try to limit white sugar, gluten grains, and non-fermented dairy. Following this kind of diet can help to deal with leaky gut effectively so you manage the condition better. It’s a simple yet effective treatment if you have a digestion problem.
What Is Leaky Gut?
When we define this condition it’s important to note it’s not an official one. Medical professionals generally say it’s the cause of conditions like immune system diseases. These diseases cause the system to attack healthy cells. The medical community argues there isn’t enough evidence to call “leaky gut” an actual condition instead of a symptom.
What’s it all about? When someone has this condition, some stuff goes through small holes in the intestinal wall. It then gets into the bloodstream and causes problems like infections. The fancy term is “intestinal permeability.”
Doctors admit that this happens more among patients with certain conditions like celiac disease and Crohn’s disease. It’s also common among people who consume lots of alcohol or aspirin, and those getting chemo treatments for cancer.
So, the question is whether “leaky gut syndrome” is caused by the holes in the gut or it’s just a matter of the intestine’s wallets becoming inflamed.
A caveat is a leaky gut that can have some benefits. It can cause the body to absorb nutrients and water better. It can also trigger a person’s immune system.
What’s the medical theory that this so-called condition is based on? The theory is that bacteria/toxins get into a persons’ bloodstream over time due to a leaky gut. That supposedly causes problems like:
- Mood swings
- Skin issues
- Food allergies
What does science say? It’s an interesting theory, but there isn’t any solid scientific proof. There are question marks about why people like TV doctors are diagnosing people with a medical condition that hasn’t been proven.
Many leaky gut treatments are fad diets, which are usually based on little research.
For example, one treatment involves avoiding high-sugar foods. That includes white sugar and natural sugars in fruits. However, the problem is fruit doesn’t trigger yeast attacking a persons’ intestines. Furthermore, food allergies are more common from lactose or gluten.
Leaky Gut Diet: Foods to Include
- Brussel sprouts
- Bean sprouts
- Swiss chard
2. Good fats
It mostly includes unsaturated fats versus saturated fats and trans-fats. Some good options include fatty fish, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts/seeds, and avocado.
3. Seeds (sprouted)
Try flax, sunflower, safflower, chia, sesame, and pumpkin are some good options. Sprouted seeds provide more nutrition because they’re between seeds and full-grown plants.
4. Fermented dairy
Make sure to go with Greek yogurt, plain yogurt, kefir (fermented dairy), and old-school buttermilk.
All are good choices. They’re loaded with nutrients and can help fight inflammation. Fun Fact: Some studies show spicy food can help you to live longer.
Raw nuts include walnuts, almonds, peanuts, and even nut-based products like almond flour and almond milk is good.
7. Root/Tuber vegetables
Some options include yams, potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, turnips, and squash. Many of these veggies are high-carb so not allowed on Atkins or Keto if you’re on a low-carb diet.
However, these are good carbs. If you’re doing carb cycling, for example, you can get energy boosts for gym workouts or a walk in the park.
8. Fatty Fish
Go with high omega-3 fishes like:
It’s recommended people eat fish/seafood 2+ times per week for healthy fats, protein, etc.
9. Non-gluten grains
This includes oats, brown rice, and buckwheat. Oats are a wild card. They’re naturally gluten-free but sometimes made with the same equipment as gluten grains like wheat, barley, and rye.
Purified water, herbal tea, low-fat milk, coconut milk, and bone broth are all some good options for the leaky gut syndrome.
Organic eggs and grass-fed beef or free-range chicken are the best options. In general, you should limit red meat and go with options like chicken and turkey.
Leaky Gut Diet: Foods to Avoid
Fizzy drinks, sports/energy drinks, and alcohol. The exception would be a glass of red wine.
Make sure to also watch out for the so-called diet sodas. They might have 0 calories/carbs but they’re still empty calories. There’s also lots of other unhealthy stuff like carbonated water, artificial sweeteners, etc. It’s better to go with healthier natural beverages.
2. Snack/Junk Foods
Here are some to avoid:
- Protein bars
- Potato chips
- Instant noodles
- Sugary cereal
- Candy bars
- French fries
Go for healthier options like baked sweet potato fries instead of deep-fried potatoes.
3. Refined oils
Soybean, canola, and safflower are eons to avoid. They sound healthy but are often highly processed.
4. Baked Goods
That includes cakes, cookies, muffins, pies, and pastries. Baked goods are not so good when made with refined flour.
An exception for leaky gut would be swapping in low-carb options like almond, coconut, or flaxseed flour. That can prevent blood sugar spikes.
It is non-fermented dairy like ice cream, cheese, and milk. Fermented dairy helps to provide good bacteria to improve gut health.
6. Processed meat
This includes deli meats, hotdogs/sausages, cold cuts, bacon, etc. These foods are often highly processed so they’re far from raw meat and contain lots of additives. Yes, the Bacon Diet is a thing. However, it’s still processed meat and often loaded with salt.
7. Artificial sweeteners
Saccharin and aspartame are examples. These can be as bad as white sugar and sometimes worse. They are made from artificial ingredients and experts don’t know all the long-term effects.
8. Gluten-containing grains
That includes wheat, rye, and barley among others. As noted, oats could have gluten if they’re produced with gluten grains. Make sure to avoid ALL products made with these grains’ flour, including cereals, bread, pasta, etc. while on your leaky gut diet.