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What Foods Are Good For Leaky Gut?
Updated on November 14, 2023
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Microbiome
What Foods Are Good For Leaky Gut?

Some of the best foods for a leaky gut are:

  • Kimchi, miso, and sauerkraut
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Seeds, nuts, and other legumes
  • Fiber-rich foods

These foods, as well as some others, are known to help repair a leaky gut and heal any damage, inflammation, and discomfort that comes with it.

This is because fermented foods and nutrient-dense foods have been proven to boost beneficial bacteria, reduce inflammation, and even strengthen your digestive tract.1

What Foods Are Good For Leaky Gut? 5
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These foods can significantly reduce or even stop bad bacteria and toxins from leaking into your bloodstream from your gut. It’s good to add more of these foods into your diet and avoid foods that actually cause or make leaky gut worse.

Eating these foods will also ensure a stronger gut, better defense against autoimmune disease, better digestive health, and fewer uncomfortable digestive health problems like chronic inflammation and other gastrointestinal symptoms.

The Best Foods for a Leaky Gut

There are several foods and food groups that can help heal a leaky gut and even strengthen your gut microbiome and digestive tract altogether. Here are the ones you want to add to your diet:

Fermented Foods

The following fermented foods are popular, accessible options for anyone with a leaky gut:

  • Kimchi
  • Tempeh
  • Miso
  • Sauerkraut
  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Sourdough bread
  • Kombucha
  • Pickled vegetables
  • Fermented vegetables

Fermentation is when a substance is broken down over time into a simpler substance, usually via microorganisms like yeast or bacteria. Because of this breakdown, there are active substances that are good for your body and feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut.1

Fermented foods naturally have probiotics that strengthen your gut flora, aiding in the leaky gut healing process since the beneficial bacteria in them will lessen intestinal permeability (how material passes through your intestines).

Lean Proteins

Proteins are good for you in general, but especially lean proteins like:

  • Fish
  • White poultry meat
  • Tofu
  • Shrimp

Proteins have been linked to better gut microbiome balance, gut repair, and decrease intestinal permeability.2 When the body breaks down key proteins, they turn into amino acids that many intestinal bacteria use as an energy source, contributing to overall gut health and metabolism.3

This is why protein is important—certain proteins found in lean meats (that are also high in fiber) can balance and even strengthen the gut.

Cultured Dairy Products and Lactose-Free Dairy Substitutes

You should look into the following cultured dairy products, lactose-free dairy substitutes, and fermented dairy products for better gut health:

  • Yogurt
  • Sour cream
  • Cottage cheese
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Source: Vicky Ng on Unsplash.com

This is because cultured dairy products, like fermented foods, have been broken down and contain active bacteria and substances good for your gut.4

Not only do they contribute to the diversity of the gut, but they also treat imbalance (or dysbiosis) and irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and help repair a leaky gut

Fatty Fish

Fatty fish, or oily fish, are great for the gut. These include:

  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Herring
  • Mussels
  • Anchovies

This is because these fish are full of Omega-3 fatty acids, which have been proven to positively impact digestive health and gut microbiota.5 Omega-3s also help balance the gut and decrease intestinal permeability.

Eggs

Not only are whole eggs packed with vitamin D, which has been proven to improve the gut barrier and decrease intestinal permeability, but they’re also a great protein option for anyone looking for other protein substitutes.6

They’re also considered a great healing food for leaky gut in general.

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Source: Jakob Kapusnak on Unsplash.com

Gluten-free Grains, Breads, and Pastas

Opt for the following gluten-free options:

  • Rice noodles
  • Brown rice
  • Shirataki noodles
  • Quinoa
  • Multigrain pasta
  • Other breads made from buckwheat, cassava, oats, etc. instead

While gluten sensitivity and leaky gut as a result of gluten consumption is often linked to celiac disease, gluten, in general, can cause damage to your gut if consumed in excess.7

This is because gluten can cause an imbalance in the protein zonulin, which can often break down the tight junctions in your intestinal walls.

Healthy Fats

The following healthy fats have been proven to be good for your gut:

  • Olive oil
  • Avocados/avocado oil
  • Soybeans

Healthy fats are packed with Omega-3s and are proven to improve overall health and digestion, and reduce inflammation—all good for the gut.8

Fruits and Vegetables

Incorporate the following fruits and vegetables into your diet:

  • Asparagus
  • Bananas
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Artichokes
  • Leeks
  • Ginger
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Berries
  • Spinach
  • Leafy greens

Fruits and vegetables are nutrient-dense and great for the body overall. More importantly, many of them are full of fiber, which can increase microbial diversity and boost gut health. Good bacteria will help strengthen the gut and decrease intestinal permeability.9

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Source: engin akyurt on Unsplash.com

Many fruits and vegetables are also common solutions for common leaky gut symptoms, such as abdominal pain and bloating. They’re great food sources for a lot of vitamins and nutrients.

What are the Best Drinks for Leaky Gut?

There are also several beverages you can add to your diet to reverse leaky gut, such as:

  • Kombucha
  • Herbal teas
  • Kefir
  • Water flavored with berries, ginger, lemons, etc.
  • Nut milks
  • Bone broth

These beverages can strengthen your intestinal lining and promote more microbiome diversity.

Remember that if your leaky gut syndrome is pretty severe, you may want to consult a dietitian or healthcare provider so they can provide you with a more specific and tailor-fit leaky gut diet plan.

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What’s a Good Leaky Gut Diet?

A good leaky gut diet depends on the severity of your symptoms, intestinal permeability, food sensitivities, and food allergies, if any.

If you have leaky gut syndrome already and want to heal your gut microbiome and digestive tract, a healthcare professional may recommend a leaky gut diet tailored to you.

There are generally some foods that are considered the best for anyone suffering from leaky gut, but if you have food restrictions or preferences, your dietitian can customize a leaky gut diet plan for you.

A good leaky gut diet ensures that you:

  • Avoid inflammatory foods
  • Avoid leaky gut foods
  • Improve your immune response
  • Strengthen or bolster healthy gut lining
  • Avoid harmful substances
  • Incorporate lots of dietary fiber
  • Still eat a variety of nutrient-dense foods for microbial diversity
  • Open yourself up to healthier food sources
  • Incorporate lots of healthy bacteria
  • Ease any digestive symptoms

Note: If your digestive symptoms, discomfort, or any other pains are extreme, consult a healthcare provider immediately.

What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Leaky gut syndrome is when your intestinal lining is weakened enough for toxins, undigested food particles, and other bacteria to pass into the bloodstream.

In a sense, because the intestinal lining has become weak, whatever is passing through it is “leaking” into the blood. This can be detrimental, as bad bacteria and other materials can cause harm.

What Causes Leaky Gut Syndrome?

There can be several causes or risk factors for leaky gut syndrome, such as:

  • Not a lot of variety in diet, as it can limit the amount of beneficial gut bacteria in your body
  • Gut imbalance or dysbiosis, which may erode and damage your intestinal lining
  • Poor diet and nutrition
  • Infections and antibiotic use as they may eliminate all the bacteria in your gut—even the good ones
  • Chronic stress
  • Chronic diseases

Leaky gut can also be caused by a combination of these circumstances. Poor diet and lack of exercise can bolster your chances of developing a leaky gut.

What are the Symptoms of Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Here are some leaky gut symptoms you should take note of:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Mental health problems (anxiety, depression, or exacerbated mental illness)
  • Indigestion
  • Inflammation
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas or bloating
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Migraines and headaches or even difficulty concentrating
  • Cramps
  • Skin issues
  • Other aches and pains

Note that leaky gut can also affect other parts of your body, as the gut is connected to the rest of your systems. Because the gut and brain are connected, you may also experience mental health problems.


These symptoms can be very general and may indicate other conditions, so see a healthcare professional if you’re suffering any of them to ensure you get a correct diagnosis.

Can Leaky Gut Also Be Connected to Other Conditions?

Yes, it can also be related to, or even be a comorbidity of:

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Celiac Disease
  • Chronic Liver Disease
  • Food allergies
  • Diabetes
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)

If you know you’re also suffering from any of these conditions, see your healthcare professional to double-check if you’ve also got a leaky gut.

How Do Bad Bacteria and Inflammation Play a Role in Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Bad bacteria are one potential cause of leaky gut syndrome. If it leaks into your bloodstream, it can negatively affect your system.

Inflammation can be a cause and effect of leaky gut. Chronic inflammation can weaken the tight junctions of your gut, and it can also be an effect of the toxins leaking into your bloodstream.

What’s the Fastest Way to Heal a Leaky Gut?

The fastest way to heal a leaky gut is to:

  • Improve your diet
  • Get regular exercise
  • Incorporate prebiotics and probiotics into your routine
  • Avoid foods bad for leaky gut
  • Try an elimination diet or low FODMAP diet to see if anything in particular is causing the symptoms

However, always consult with your doctor first before taking any of these steps—you may have special circumstances they need to consider first.

There may also be an underlying condition causing your leaky gut, so treating that is an important first step.

Common Questions About the Best Foods for Leaky Gut

Can I Drink Milk?

Avoid drinking milk if you want to heal your leaky gut. This is because the protein casein, which is abundant in milk, may slow down the healing process and destroy enzymes that are vital in repairing your gut lining.

Can I Have Almonds and Other Nuts?

Yes, but, like all foods, eat them in moderation. Nuts and seeds are great healthy fats and are rich in fiber, which will help your leaky gut.

How Long Does it Take to Heal a Leaky Gut?

It’s difficult to provide a specific time frame, as it often depends on the underlying cause, if any. Some people say it takes months to a year before a leaky gut is completely healed.

This is because it depends on medical intervention or dietary changes you make and implement.

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Updated on November 14, 2023
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Updated on November 14, 2023
Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad
Content Contributor
Angela is a full-time digital content manager and editor for Know Your DNA. She also contributes freelance articles to several local and international websites when she has the time. She's always been a voracious believer in finding the truth and ensuring the science is sound.
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