This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through a link. Please see our full disclosure << here >> for further information
A Leaky Gut
If you suffer from an autoimmune disease, leaky gut is another issue likely lurking in the background. Many people don’t even know it exists and many doctors flat out dismiss it. However, tackling a leaky gut is important in maintaining a healthy homestead, keeping your energy up and inflammation down.
What is Leaky Gut Syndrome
More scientifically known as increased intestinal permeability, Leaky Gut Syndrome is something everyone has. The barriers of our digestive tract are intended to be somewhat permeable. However, increased permeability can be a problem and is exacerbated by diet and lifestyle choices as well as autoimmune diseases. With autoimmune diseases, Leaky Gut Syndrome can create a vicious self-defeating cycle of inflammation.
Worse, it can exacerbate other conditions such as diabetes, liver disease, and PCOS. There may even be a connection between a leaking gut and mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
Check out these exercises for Auto-Immune Diseases.
With leaky gut syndrome, your body is struggling to absorb nutrients properly. Food and digestive enzymes are leaking out into places they don’t belong. This is causing inflammation, and you get to suffer through a series of miserable symptoms and side-effects.
Symptoms of Leaky Gut Syndrome
- Chronic bowel issues including diarrhea, constipation, gas, and bloating
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Trouble with headaches, brain fog, confusion, memory loss, and concentration
- Fatigue, often excessive fatigue very familiar to autoimmune sufferers
- Skin problems including eczema, acne, or rashes
- Cravings for ‘bad’ foods such as junk food high in carbs and sugar
- Joint pain
- Systemic inflammation
It’s important to understand that though there have been studies done that associate this increased intestinal permeability with autoimmune diseases, Leaky Gut Syndrome is rarely considered a condition on its own. Instead, it is viewed as a symptom. Thankfully, however, healing Leaky Gut Syndrome goes hand in hand with using an elimination diet to try and limit autoimmune inflammation. In fact, the “Leaky Gut Diet” borrows heavily from the Autoimmune Protocol, sticking to nutritious foods without increasing inflammation to provide the greatest nutritional support to improve and speed healing.
Healing Leaky Gut Syndrome with Food
Whether you chose to treat it as its own medical condition or as a symptom of chronic health or autoimmune diseases, healing leaky gut will help to reduce other symptoms by eliminating a source of inflammation. Persistence and careful adherence to a supportive diet will help keep your intestinal linings healthier. You will also want to stick to any treatments that your doctor has suggested for the primary chronic health condition, such as a gluten-free diet if you have Celiac.
You can also increase your probiotic and prebiotic foods while eliminating as many processed, high fat, and high sugar foods as possible. If you have been through the Autoimmune protocol and know your primary food adversaries, then the following list of helpful foods is probably most of what your diet is made of now. If not, check out this list of Leaky Gut ‘diet’ foods that can help to reduce inflammation and eliminate symptoms.
- Roots and Tubers such as potatoes and sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips
- Fermented Foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi
- Fermented and Cultured Dairy such as kefir, yogurt with live cultures, and buttermilk
- Sprouted Seeds such as chia, flax, and sunflower
- Gluten-free grains including rice, buckwheat, and amaranth
- Fish, especially omega-3 rich fish
- Meats such as chicken, lamb and turkey, beef can be very hard on digestion.
- Healthy Fats such as avocado and coconut oil
- Broths, teas, water, kombucha
Of course, you will not want to eat foods from any of the above categories that you know cause inflammation. For example, you don’t want to eat tomatoes just because they’re a vegetable if you know that you are sensitive to nightshades. And if you have nut allergies, don’t sit down and try to eat peanuts. The goal is to eat whole, pre-and pro-biotic foods that heal the digestive tract and support the body with excellent nutrition.