Leaky Gut Diet: What to Eat and What to Avoid

Last updated on January 25th, 2024 at 11:24 am

The leaky gut diet is a way of eating that aims to reduce inflammation in the body, improve digestive health, and get your wellness back on track.

Although leaky gut syndrome isn’t an official medical diagnosis, it’s thought to affect millions of people worldwide. 

The condition, also known as increased intestinal permeability, occurs when the lining of the small intestine becomes more porous than it should be. This change allows unwanted substances, like bacteria, toxins, and undigested food, to enter the bloodstream. 

The process triggers your body’s inflammatory responses and can stimulate an immune reaction that causes various health issues(1). These may include:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Food sensitivities
  • Migraines
  • Autoimmune diseases

While there’s no official treatment plan for leaky gut syndrome, following a specific diet can improve the condition of your gut and help repair the lining of your intestines.

Let’s take a look at the best foods to include in the leaky gut diet, as well as what to avoid, to heal your digestive tract and protect it from further damage. We’ll equip you to take control of your health and promote overall wellness.

The Leaky Gut Diet Plan

The primary goal of eating for a leaky gut is to reduce intestinal inflammation

Your nutritional choices may also influence the permeability of your digestive tract, which means what you eat matters(2). Following an anti-inflammatory gut reset meal plan can remove triggers of the disorder and combat sensitivity. 

Foods to Eat

The leaky gut diet centers around whole, unprocessed foods. You should aim to eat meals rich in nutrients that encourage the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.

The following foods are wonderful options for promoting digestive health and easing the symptoms of increased intestinal permeability.

Fruits and Vegetables

Your gut health meal plan should include lots of whole fruits and vegetables, as they are naturally filled with fiber. Fiber is a type of prebiotic that feeds the good bacteria in your digestive tract, allowing them to thrive.

When these microorganisms eat, they release a range of beneficial compounds that fulfill major functions in your body. 

One of these chemicals, butyrate, may play an important role in tightening the junctions in your intestines(3). The compound provides fuel for the cells in your gut lining, preserving its integrity and preventing leaky gut from occurring.

Studies have also shown that butyrate may reduce the severity of inflammation in the body(4).

Another crucial role of fiber-rich foods in the leaky gut diet is that they decrease the impact of stress on the digestive system(5). This in turn promotes healing, improves nutrient absorption, and can prevent any potential triggers that may worsen the symptoms of the disorder.

Fruits with the highest fiber contents include:

  • Guava (9 grams per cup)
  • Raspberries (8 grams per cup)
  • Blackberries (7.6 grams per cup)
  • Pears (5.5 grams per medium fruit)
  • Apples (4.4 grams per medium fruit)

Aim to eat these high-fiber vegetables:

  • Artichokes (10.3 grams per medium vegetable)
  • Brussels sprouts (6 grams per cup)
  • Carrots (5.2 grams per cup)
  • Broccoli: (5.1 grams per cup)
  • Spinach (4.3 grams per cup)

Remember to eat the skins of fruits and veggies, as they’re often the parts richest in prebiotic fiber. You should also drink plenty of water when consuming these foods to aid the digestive process and prevent discomfort like bloating.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that women eat at least 25 grams of fiber daily, while men should consume 38 grams each day. 

Should you struggle to meet these requirements, NutriDyn Dynamic Fiber can go a long way in supplementing your intake of prebiotics. Its delicious formula feeds the beneficial bacteria in the gut to support healthy intestinal function.

Healing the gut naturally is possible with the correct nutrition
A healing your gut diet should include plenty of whole fruits and vegetables

Fermented Foods

Fermented foods, like kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, and tempeh, are a crucial part of any gut health meal plan. 

The processes that create these foods break down some of their complex compounds, making them more accessible for absorption(6). Fermentation also destroys anti-nutrients—chemicals that interfere with the uptake of certain vitamins and minerals(7).

This means that fermented foods have increased health potential and can be especially helpful for individuals with a leaky gut, as they ease the digestive process

Fermented options are also excellent sources of probiotics. These beneficial bacteria are essential for gut health, as they support the intestinal lining and contribute to overall digestive well-being. Having a balanced intestinal microbiome may also alleviate digestive problems(8).

In addition, a 2013 study showed that the probiotics found in fermented foods have bioactive factors that regulate the flow of molecules and ions between cells. This process reportedly reduces the permeability of the intestinal walls, strengthening the gut barrier.

Many fermented foods are also garnering attention as sources of anti-inflammatory compounds(9)

Bone Broth

Include bone broth in your gut health diet plan
(Image source: Unsplash)

High-quality bone broth can boost digestive health and could help fight against leaky gut syndrome. As well as being easy for the body to absorb, the liquid is filled with minerals that may heal intestinal permeability.

Gelatin and collagen, two of the major components in bone broth, are believed to soothe the gut lining. They are rich in amino acids that could help repair and strengthen the intestinal walls(10, 11).

Bone broth also contains glutamine, another essential amino acid shown to have anti-inflammatory characteristics. This compound is a fuel source for the digestive system and is crucial for the maintenance and repair of the gut lining(12).

When incorporating bone broth into your gut health protocol, aim to drink around two cups per day. You could also mix the liquid with supplements or use it to make smoothies.

Healthy Fats

Healing the gut naturally requires eating plenty of fats that are as natural as possible. Try to include options like extra virgin olive oil, oily fish, walnuts, or avocadoes in all of your meals.

These healthy fats contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are key for fighting inflammation. The compounds can support the integrity of the junctions in the intestinal lining, helping to maintain the strength of the gut barrier(13).

Healthy fats also contribute to a balanced gut microbiome, which is essential for proper digestion and overall health.


Turmeric, a bright yellow spice derived from the root of the Curcuma longa plant, contains an active compound called curcumin that has been studied for its potential impact on leaky gut syndrome.

Scientific evidence is still emerging, but the potent anti-inflammatory can soothe the intestinal lining. It’s also a powerful constrictive that contracts proteins in the bowels, tightening the spaces between the cells and reducing gut permeability(14).

Additional studies have shown that curcumin may directly regulate the gut microbiota, promoting a healthier balance of bacteria. In this way, the spice could prevent any further damage to the digestive tract and improve general health(15).

Use the spice in your cooking or take it in capsule form. Simply Nutrients Turmeric Curcumin is an excellent supplement to consider, as it has been shown to surpass the bioavailability of every other extract on the market.

The leaky gut diet includes plenty of turmeric
A gut protocol meal plan avoids any foods that may worsen leaky gut syndrome


Foods to Avoid

We’re becoming increasingly aware that certain foods can worsen leaky gut syndrome. It’s advisable to limit or completely avoid the following foods, as they may exacerbate your symptoms or increase your intestinal permeability.


When following the leaky gut diet, you should avoid eating anything that is difficult to digest. Experts refer to these foods as FODMAPs—fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols.

They are types of carbohydrates that ferment in the gut, leading to gas, bloating, and other digestive symptoms. Common high-FODMAP foods can be found in the table below:

FODMAP GroupHigh-FODMAP foods
OligosaccharidesWheat, rye, barley, onions, garlic, asparagus, leeks, beans, lentils, chickpeas
DisaccharidesDairy products like milk, yogurt, and soft cheeses
MonosaccharidesWatermelon, honey
PolyolsPeaches, plums, artificial sweeteners, cauliflower, sugar free gums and mints

Processed Foods

Highly processed and refined foods are often loaded with additives, preservatives, artificial flavors, and other chemicals that may irritate your gut and promote inflammation. These options also lack essential nutrients and fiber.

Research has shown that sugary snacks, fast food, and packaged convenience meals may alter the structure of the microbiome, making it less diverse(16). It may also modify the way these microorganisms interact with one another.


Consuming alcohol could lead to several negative effects on the digestive system, as well as having the potential to exacerbate the symptoms and complications associated with leaky gut syndrome.

Alcohol can disrupt the integrity of the gut barrier, is known to be pro-inflammatory, and could lead to the overproduction of toxins in the digestive tract.

Should you choose to consume these beverages, it’s important to do so in moderation and be mindful of your body’s response.

High Fat Foods

Ingesting a high fat diet is linked to increased intestinal permeability and inflammation. Excess fats trigger the body’s inflammatory responses and can alter the balance of the gut microbiota, favoring the growth of potentially harmful microorganisms.

A high fat diet may also interfere with the absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and K, affecting the body’s ability to repair and regenerate the gut lining.

Heal Your Gut With the Right Nutrition

(Image source: Pexels)

We at Simply Nutrients believe that by cleaning up your diet, it’s possible to heal a leaky gut. Addressing your overall intestinal health and diversifying your microbiome is a powerful way to improve your digestion and increase your overall sense of wellbeing.

Contact us to learn how to harness the power of nutrition to heal your body from within.


(1): https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28588585/

(2): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6689735/

(3): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3070119/

(4): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7192831/

(5): https://physoc.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1113/JP276431

(6): https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25580813/

(7): https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25694676/

(8): https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22529959/

(9): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9915096/#:~:text=In%20summary%2C%20fermented%20vegetables%20such,natural%20anti%2Dinflammatory%20bioactive%20compounds.

(10): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4040816/

(11): https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0944501313000864 

(12): https://5280functionalmed.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Glutamine-Restores-Tight-Junction-Protein-Claudin-1-Expression-in-Colonic-Mucosa-of-Patients-With-Diarrhea-Predominant-Irritable-Bowel-Syndrome-2015.pdf

(13): https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/21/21/8368/htm

(14): https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/ajpcell.00235.2016

(15): https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jnme/2018/1367984/tab1/

(16): https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0963996923002752


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Medically reviewed by Dr. Jamy Antoine, D.C. — by Chris Bowman — On November 24, 2023


Chris Bowman

Chris Bowman is the CEO and Co-Founder of SimplyNutrients.com and has over 15 years of experience in nutritional sciences and wellness. Simply Nutrients is a part of Dr. Jamy Antoine's Select Health Practice in Edina, Minnesota. Chris is passionate about helping people live healthier lives by using the best practices of nature, nutrition, and medicine.