You are experiencing digestive issues, along with pain and other unpleasant symptoms that are interfering with your life. You may even have visited doctors who have tested you repeatedly and continued to insist everything is normal when you know that you aren’t. Don’t worry—your systems are not a figment of your imagination. As many as 60 million people (1) in the US are suffering with digestive issues, and more are becoming aware that a leaky gut is at the root of their troubles. If you have been genuinely afraid that something may be seriously wrong, you may even be relieved to learn the problem is a leaky gut. The treatment for this issue can be faster and easier than many people realize, and it starts with a gut healing diet.
- What Is Leaky Gut?
- How to Heal Leaky Gut Syndrome Fast
- Why You Should Consider a Gut Healing Diet
- Signs Your Lucky Gut Is Healing
What Is Leaky Gut?
Leaky gut, which may be due to intestinal permeability or intestinal barrier impairment (2), is a condition you can develop if waste products, bacteria, and undigested particles of food enter your bloodstream through the lining of your small intestine. A healthy small intestine will not be permeable; that can and often does change when the lining becomes damaged. When your body detects substances that aren’t supposed to be there, it goes into autoimmune response mode.
This can cause a host of unpleasant symptoms (3), and these will differ from person to person because the condition has many possible causes and effects. Gluten and medication are two common culprits, and injuries, alcohol, infections, excessive exercise, deficiencies, obesity, and even aging can all be related. Individuals with a leaky gut have complained about everything from rashes to irritable bowel syndrome. This is because your immune system has been weakened since your damaged cells are no longer able to support normal digestion.
What Are the Symptoms of Leaky Gut?
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may have a leaky gut.
- Memory loss
- Sugar and carb cravings
- Joint pain
- Crohn’s disease
- Thyroid imbalance
How Long Does It Take to Heal Leaky Gut?
Because each person’s leaky gut will affect them differently, the amount of time it takes to heal your leaky gut will also be unique to the individual. Once you are properly diagnosed by a naturopath or other professional to develop a personalized plan of action for your situation, you can begin the healing process. This can take three to six months, but many people report relief within as few as six weeks.
It all depends upon how long it takes to stabilize your digestion and get the balance of harmful and helpful flora in your intestines right. If it’s been longer than six months and you still aren’t seeing the results you were hoping for, don’t give up. Continue working with your doctor or nutritionist until you are able to determine what works for you.
How to Heal Leaky Gut Syndrome Fast
Are you ready to feel better? There are many things you can do to jumpstart the process, but with so much information out there it can be difficult to know where to start. While there is no one-size-fits-all treatment plan, there are supplements that many people with leaky guts have used with much success.
Take Broad-Spectrum Digestive Enzyme Supplements
Taking one or two of these supplements with every meal can help your body to absorb the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids from your food. One reason your intestinal lining may not be functioning correctly is it is starved of critical nutrients to begin with, leading to a catch-22 situation in which you can’t get what you need because you didn’t have it in the first place.
Once your food particles are broken down and absorbed correctly, it can also reduce inflammation in your intestinal tract. This further contributes to the reduced absorption of the undigested food particles that are making you sick.
Make Sure You Get Plenty of Sleep
If you aren’t getting at least eight or nine hours of sleep each night, you may not be giving your body the rest and time it needs to repair itself. Schedules are hectic today, and it’s easy to let getting adequate rest fall by the wayside when you’ve got so much to accomplish each day. But if you want to commit to feeling better, you’ll need to commit to making adjustments and concessions so you can make time for sleep. Shutting your electronic devices down at a set time each night is a great place to start.
Take Daily Probiotic Supplements
If you want to get your balance of helpful and harmful gut bacteria just right, you’ll need to incorporate daily probiotic supplements into your daily routine asap. Probiotics introduce the healthy bacteria you need for digestion back into your system. Without these bacteria, your digestive system can get seriously out of whack. Look for high-strength probiotics that contain multiple strains of bacteria because these will ensure that you get a healthy balance of bacteria instead of being overloaded with a specific type.
Get Your Candida Overgrowth in Check
Did you know that candida overgrowth is a leading cause of leaky gut? Many people don’t, but the truth is candida is affecting many of us without our knowledge. Candida sticks to your intestinal walls and interferes with digestion, and it can wreak havoc on you if your immune system is weak. Probiotics and natural antifungals like garlic and coconut oil can help combat candida (4). There are also special candida supplements that directly attack the candida cells’ walls, inhibiting their ability to grow and thrive in your digestive tract.
Cut Work Stress Out for Good
If you work to live and live to work, it’s time to stop. Even if your job is super stressful, there are ways you can cut the stress back. The problem is we tend to let our jobs take over our lives, and technology has allowed up to be plugged into our work at all times. If you spend your breaks on your computer, it’s time to start going for a walk instead. Commit to leaving your work at the office and take advantage of email blocking apps that will help you from giving into the temptation of thinking about—and worrying about—your job when you’re off the clock.
Incorporate Deep Breathing Exercises
It may sound crazy at first, but deep breathing and relaxation exercises before and after each meal really can aid in digestion. Your body uses oxygen to create the energy it needs, and deep breathing is essential. You can combine deep breathing exercises with yoga poses that aid with digestion by reducing issues like bloating, cramping, and gas, which could also be interfering with your digestion. Mealtime is a time to relax, but too often we rush through it. There are plenty of phone apps available that can help make deep breathing exercises easy and convenient, and even doing this once a day can help.
Why You Should Consider a Gut Healing Diet
Changing your diet is key to healing your leaky gut. You’ll need to eliminate foods your body is deeming to be toxic so your system can begin to heal. Some common foods that many choose to eliminate first are processed sugars, dairy, soy, alcohol, grains, refined oils, and caffeine. There are also healing meals you can prepare if you are experiencing a leaky gut and you are ready to begin the process of getting back to your old self.
Leaky Gut Diet & Foods
Giving up wheat and gluten is the fastest path to intestinal health. Gluten is hard to digest, and it can even cause microscopic holes or tears in your intestinal lining that can wreak havoc on your system.
Once you have eliminated common offenders in your diet like bread, cereal, and pasta, you can begin introducing soothing, healing foods that will get you back on track. Bone broth is a popular choice for those who are trying to reintroduce the right digestive enzymes into their system because it contains healing compounds and minerals. You can kick-off the healing process with a 48- to 72-hour bone broth fast.
You can also try incorporating steamed veggies, fermented foods and beverages like kimchi and kombucha, coconut and fish oil, fatty fish and other healthy fats, grass-fed beef, fruits, and nuts into your diet. The goal is to eat a diet of whole and healthy foods that promote wellness. Be sure to take your time chewing every bite to break it down and make it as easy as possible to digest.
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Leaky Gut Food List Infographic Summary
When on a leaky gut diet plan, the most important things to keep in mind is reducing inflammation, consuming probiotics (natural or supplements), and taking advantage of those Omega-3s.
Good to Eat
- Bone Broth
- Steamed Broccoli
- Grass-Fed Meat
- Coconut Oil
- Fish or Fish Oil
- Probiotic Supplements
Signs Leaky Gut Is Healing
- Your digestive issues have disappeared.
- Your skin issues have cleared up.
- Your food sensitivities have gone away.
- You see an improvement in your autoimmune lab markers.
- You are finally starting to feel great again!
If you are over feeling bad all the time and ready for a new start, begin putting together your gut healing plan of attack today. The doctor is not always right, and there’s no reason you need to continue feeling this way when you could feel better than you ever have before just weeks from now.