More Foods to Help Heal Your Leaky Gut

healthy eating healthy living healthy recipes real food resilience sugarfree Feb 12, 2023

Now that you're familiar with the concept of Leaky Gut, as well as using fermented foods to help heal and seal up any gaps in your intestinal wall, here are some more delicious strategies that you can try!

Prebiotic Foods: Feed Residential Bacteria

Grains, legumes, lentils, tubers such as potatoes and sweet potatoes, nuts and seeds to promote the growth of residential bacteria and produce beneficial short chain fatty acids to help the health of the  intestines; fruits and vegetables, such as berries, citrus, bananas, cabbage, broccoli, kale, asparagus, carrots and tomatoes for oligosaccharides (also to feed our good bacteria). Jerusalem artichokes, chicory, garlic and onions are all exceptional prebiotics. Algae such as spirulina and chlorella also contain prebiotics.

If fermented dairy is tolerated, it will provide GOS, another valuable prebiotic especially good for the intestines and the brain.

FOS and Inulin: These are found in Jerusalem artichokes, chicory, garlic, onions, dandelion greens, asparagus, bananas, tomatoes, blueberries, almonds, broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, radish, chia, flax, and tomatoes. They feed residential bacteria in the small and large intestines. Some people have issues with FOS and inulin, making it another catch-22. They have the issue because they do not have enough of the right strains of good bacteria to feed on them and break them down, yet they need them to help.

GOS: Another prebiotic found in dairy products and legumes. It is the best prebiotic for helping babies who have been bottle-fed and delivered by caesarian section build bacteria levels in their colon to catch-up to breast-fed and vaginally delivered babies. One study also found that it helped improve mental attitude in participants and it did so better than FOS. Although GOS is found in legumes, it is much higher in dairy products.

Resistant Starch: There are several different types and they are found in wheat, rye, spelt, kamut, barley, oats, corn, brown rice (and cooled white rice), potatoes, sourdough, quinoa, sweet potatoes, pasta, legumes, lentils and to a lesser degree, nuts and seeds. One type of resistant starch increases after being heated and then cooled. If that food is then re-heated, it increases even more. This may explain the traditional technique of cooking rice and pasta ahead of time and reheating before serving.

Resistant starch feeds the bifidus bacteria in the colon which then produces short chain fatty acids (SCFA) such as butyrate, propionate and acetate. They help the function of the gut and have various roles throughout the body. Butyrate has been studied the most. It helps regulate inflammation and immune tolerance, which play a key role in preventing allergies and autoimmune conditions. It also may help boost immune function, stabilize blood sugar, prevent heart disease, improve brain function and prevent cancer cells from spreading. Butyrate is also found in butter.

Glutamine-rich foods

Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body and is best known for its ability to help us build muscles. This would include muscles that line the gastrointestinal tract, which are essential to its function. It has anti-inflammatory properties, can reduce pain and helps repair the gut lining. It has been found that dysbiosis and yeast are more likely to be present when glutamine levels are low.

Glutamine can be taken as a supplement but it is also found in meats, fish, eggs and dairy products. Many vegetables have glutamic acid which can be converted to glutamine in the gut by good gut bacteria.

Bone broths, animal protein, fermented dairy (if tolerated), algae such as spirulina and chlorella, cabbages, beets, spinach , parsley, Swiss chard and many other vegetables all contain glutamic acid which converts to glutamine in the intestines with the help of the good bacteria. Fermenting these foods can help convert the glutamic acid ahead of time or take these foods with a probiotic as the lack of residential bacteria is an underlying cause of the problems with the intestines.

Bone Broth:  Bone broth is made from simmering bones in water for 14-24 hours. This extracts the collagen, amino acids and minerals from the bones. This includes amino acids, especially glutamine, and all the minerals listed below, creating a liquid that is perfect for the gut.

A vegetarian broth can be made by placing vegetables in a stock pot and simmering them for 12 hours. Fermented vegan glutamine powder can be added along with agar agar, which is a seaweed that contains minerals and is a good prebiotic.

Because both broths have good quality nutrients for the gut, they make a great base for soup recipes or can be seasoned and consumed as a beverage.

Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)

There are two fats we must get in our diet as we cannot make them. Omega 3 and Omega 6 are found in both plant and animal sources. The form found in plants must be converted in order for us to be able to use them but the form found in animal products is the same as what we need. In order to convert plants, we need vitamins and minerals which aid in the conversion.

Research is showing that EFAs aid gut health in a number of ways. Omega 6 helps promote healthy cell membranes and can help regulate inflammation in the gut and body. Omega 3 can counter inflammation in the gut and body. EFAs aid in gut health repair, improve bowel function and play a role in protecting the gut lining. They also help repair the gut from the effects of colitis and other gastrointestinal issues. There also appears to be some communication between gut bacteria and EFAs to the benefit of the good gut bacteria and the immune system.

EFA-Rich Foods: There are many whole foods that contains EFAs. It important that they be good sources. EFAs are highly prone to rancidity when exposed to air, light or heat. Some EFAs have more protection from rancidity because the foods also contain saturated fats which protects them and/or they have antioxidants in the foods which can also prevent them from going rancid. Avoid hydrogenated or highly processed oils which are usually made of soy, corn or cottonseed.

Plant Foods:  Omega 3 – flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts. Omega 6 – All nuts and seeds, legumes, corn and other grains.

Animal Foods: Contain both Omega 6 and 3 in animal form and include cold water fish such salmon, tuna, herring, sardines, anchovies, halibut, and cod, butter, egg yolks. Most animal meats contain small amounts. The liver is always the highest source found in the animal.

Culinary Herbs and Spices

Oregano, basal, cumin, coriander, cayenne, fennel, dill, parsley, thyme, rosemary, sage, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, peppermint and many others have been used for generations to flavour food. However, the real reason they have been added to food is that they have properties that aid digestive and intestinal health. They also have benefits for the rest of the body, too. Use herbs and spices liberally to help the gut and deliver amazing flavour to the food.


  • Digestive Enzymes: For those with low stomach acid, the digestive enzyme product should contain betaine hydrochloride. Betaine HCl is known to create a warming sensation in the stomach as an indicator of sufficient level of supplementation.
  • High Dose Probiotics, especially one with prebiotics such as FOS, GOS or IMO. If antibiotics are needed for any reason during this protocol, it is important to be taking probiotics at the same time to minimize the damage the antibiotics can do.
  • A gut health product that contains glutamine helps with repair
  • A high quality multivitamin/mineral with B Vitamins aids overall function of the body, especially the GI tract
  • Vitamin C supplement (1000 mg) can aid colon function
  • Calcium/Magnesium (2:1 ratio) helps regulate muscles in the GI tract
  • MSM (1000 - 3000 mg) to calm inflammation in the intestines and provides the body with the mineral sulfur needed for a number of functions within the body and intestines. Sulfur deficiency is linked to dysbiosis.
  • Marshmallow acts as a mucilage to help soothe inflammation and coat the intestinal wall lining to protect it
  • Slippery elm acts in a similar manner to marshmallow and is helpful for diarrhea
  • Aloe vera is an anti-microbial that helps to heal the gut lining and can also help promote good bacteria levels
  • Psyllium seed and husk can be used if there is not enough fiber in the diet and it is also a prebiotic

Follow the instructions on the package and as always consult your health practitioner to fine-tune any supplement protocol to suit your body.

Home Practice This Week ~ 

Good habits to support a healthy intestinal environment and properly functioning gut include: 

  • Eat whole, minimally processed foods with a focus on fibre-rich plant foods.

  • Include fermented foods, like raw sauerkraut or kimchi, naturally cultured yogurt & kefir (unsweetened), or kombucha, which contain good-for-your-gut bacteria.

  • Sip bone broth or take a collagen supplement. Collagen is thought to help rebuild and restore the gut lining.

  • Take an omega-3 supplement or include 2-3 servings of fatty fish each week to help combat inflammation.

  • Take a daily probiotic supplement to support your gut microbiome.

  • Find natural alternatives to pain relief, like essential oils or meditation, instead of relying on over-the-counter NSAID’s which are known to damage the lining of the gut and cause digestive issues.


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