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Paleo Foods to Heal a Leaky Gut

Gut Healing | The Paleo Diet

Many of those that have made the switch to The Paleo Diet, previously subsisted on a Standard American Diet (SAD) that relies heavily on grains, dairy, simple carbohydrates, sugars, and unhealthy oils. A diet rich in SAD foods can contribute to gut dysbiosis or “leaky gut” which can lead to autoimmune disorders and other ailments such as chronic fatigue, inflammatory bowel disease, rashes, diabetes, mental disorders, and other health related problems. To add insult to injury, the modernized human being has typically had their fair share of gut damaging antibiotics and prescription drugs which only serve to further throw off the intricate balance in one’s digestive tract.

If you have yet to achieve success after adopting your Paleo lifestyle, there is a good chance that your gut functioning is not up to par and your digestive system could be allowing toxins into your bloodstream and preventing adequate nutrient uptake regardless of how healthy you may be eating.

To support immune function and overall well being one must account for the importance of gut health. Fortunately, there are many foods and lifestyle practices you can adopt to restore your gut’s equilibrium.

Gut Healing Foods

As obvious as it may seem, the gut should be thought of as the primary interface between the human body and the environment. Every food that is put into your system will create a reaction in your gut. Certain foods will increase gut permeability with long term exposure, thus allowing normally digested food particles into the bloodstream invoking an immune system response. Over time, this response can lead to the formation of autoimmune illnesses and other health issues. Avoid these foods on a gut healing protocol:

  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Dairy
  • Sugars
  • Unhealthy oils (corn, vegetable, soybean, cottonseed)
  • Alcohol and caffeine
  • Excessive carbohydrate consumption

Individuals with autoimmune disease may want to limit or omit:

By removing the foods outlined above, you should be able to reduce overall body inflammation and assist in restoring gut health.

Certain foods, however, should be incorporated into your Paleo Diet to accelerate the healing process.

Gut Healing Foods

Probiotic rich foods are essential. The gut is home to roughly 100 trillion organisms, and many gut related problems stem from loss of gut flora diversity. These foods are tremendously rich in probiotics and should be consumed regularly:

  • Fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, kimchi)
  • Kombucha
  • A multi-species dairy-free probiotic supplement can also be equally beneficial

Heal the Intestinal Wall

  • Bone Broth, rich in glycine, gelatin, and glutamine which is essential for intestinal repair
  • Fermentable fibers, like sweet potatoes
  • Healthy fats sources including pasture raised animals, avocado, coconut oil, pure olive oil
  • Omega-3 rich foods like seafood and salmon

Finally, a vital part of gut health is to be able to adequately manage stress. Excessive stress results in heightened cortisol levels which can over time wreak havoc on hormone functionality and other bodily processes including gut functioning.

It is important to avoid chronic stress and to incorporate activities you enjoy in your day-to-day. Activities such as hiking, meditation, playing with your kids, or socializing with friends and family are all great ways to reduce stress.

Stick to these tips and you will be well on on your way to achieving a healthy gut!

Kyle Cordain, The Paleo Diet Team

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15 Comments on "Paleo Foods to Heal a Leaky Gut"

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  1. tjtemps says:

    I have been suffering with very severe symptoms which have had doctors stumped for the past 9 months. The symptoms can best be described as intense stomach cramps and judders with pain and accompanied by acid reflux and constipation. Whilst I have trusted the medical profession till now, they have been no help thus far and so I am beginning to experiment with different diets and foods. This article was thus very helpful but if anyone knows of any other recommended foods or products then I would be very interested to hear from them. At the moment the best relief I have found has been a combination of liquorice tea and aloe vera juice, but it barely holds the symptoms at bay and I am becoming more certain that there is a link between other foods i might be eating and my symptoms. Lately symptoms have included rather strange anxiety attacks which are completely out of character and baffled even me as they came out of nowhere. Naturally I am eager to find a solution to this and I am more and more seeing that the answer most likely lies somewhere in nature as opposed to inside a doctors surgery.

  2. Denis says:

    Interesting! My problem with respect to this health condition is my belly becoming a gas generating chamber. It is specially embarrassing when I am in class.

  3. Katrina says:

    I stumbled upon this site by accident. About 5 month ago I started getting very intense pressure in my head, I thought it was just a tension headache, but it lasted 2 months! My first doctor told me it was a sinus infection and prescribed a very powerful dose of azithromycin. I started getting extreme anxiety and still had the headache. Finally saw a differ doc and she told me it was allergies. Rhinot is to be exact. I’ve never had allergies, so this was confusing, but she said it was from California’s drought combined with bad air quality. Flash forward 3 month and 2 nasal sprays later, my symptoms have not improved and I’ve developed allergic reactions to everything I put on my face, like lotions and makeup. And im breaking out in hives when i take ibuprofen. Now I’m starting to have some constipation and diarrhea boughts. I’ve been taking ACV with lemon, but I’ve also been drinking lots of caffeine for the headaches. Could this be what I have?

    • Nina says:

      Katrina, your symptoms are almost identical to mine, and I’ve been having them for 6 months so far. For me, it started with dizziness, and I was told it was a sinus infection. The third doctor I saw told me I have allergies (I never had allergies before). I was prescribed 3 courses of antibiotics (Levaquin twice and Amoxicillin once), a steroid (Medrol dose pack) AND a steroid shot (Kenalog). NOTHING helped. I started having anxiety, heart palpitations, and both of my ears have been blocked for almost 6 months now (they can’t ‘pop’ because they are still inflamed/swollen). I am having ‘issues’ with food (I am out of breath after eating, I get dizzy and anxious) – and the foods that cause these issues are always different. If I had a sip of coffee, I was dizzy for days. I am still taking Zyrtec-D and a nasal spray, but I feel like they’re not working. Nothing helps with the allergies, so I am wondering if allergies really are the problem. Also, my hormones seem to be all over the place.
      I know this post is not new, but I hope someone can post a reply regarding our issues and maybe tells us more about what could be going on. Doctors prescribe medications that clearly do not help – or cause even more issues.
      Best wishes to you.

  4. Rosie says:

    This is exactly what I needed to read! I never heard of the term a leaky gut, but I’m sure that is what is bothering me at the moment. I’m taking the advice and hoping my gut will heal.

  5. Fredrick says:

    Good post but where is the evidence that caffeine causes leaky gut?

    • Susan says:

      Not only does caffeine dehydrate the tissues and constrict the small blood capillaries necessary for moving blood to the mucosa for healing but it is very acidic; an alkaline body is a healthy body. An acidic body is not conducive to healing any illness. This diet restricts most acid foods so adding caffeine especially to excess will cause inflammation just like alcohol would. Believe me I tried a cup of Joe and my foot swelled up with fluid-the proof is in the test for me. Milk would be an acid which is why it is prohibited. Susan Wind

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