Healthy Eating

The 8 Best Foods For Leaky Gut

Plus, the tastiest leaky gut-approved recipes for every meal of the day!

By: Lexy Parsons

With an overwhelming amount of research on the many ways in which our gut health impacts our systemic health, there’s a lot to unpack in the realm of digestive wellness — both positive, and negative! Gut health and overall health have an inverse relationship. While a healthy gut can enhance our health, gut dysbiosis can wreak havoc on our system. From skin breakouts and poor mental health to digestive distress and cognitive decline, there are a considerable amount of conditions directly linked to poor gut health. Despite the many contributing factors at play, we’re shedding light on one particularly problematic syndrome: leaky gut. Due to its potential implications for systemic health, leaky gut can be a cause of concern. However, if you’re concerned about leaky gut and its effects on your body, we’ve got good news. Your diet is one of the best tools for supporting both leaky gut and overall gut health.

Ahead, learn what is leaky gut, plus, the best foods for leaky gut and that support overall gut health.

What is Leaky Gut?

Leaky gut is a syndrome characterized by increased intestinal permeability, a condition that occurs when the lining of the small intestine becomes damaged. Essentially, this damage allows harmful substances like toxins, bacteria, and undigested food particles to find their way into the bloodstream. As a result, the body’s immune response becomes activated, triggering inflammation and increasing the risk for a range of health issues.

Common symptoms of leaky gut include:

  • Chronic digestive disorders
  • Digestive discomfort, such as gas and bloating
  • Food sensitivities 
  • Mood imbalances
  • Immune system disturbances
  • Skin issues, such as inflammation and acne
  • Sugar cravings
  • Reduced energy 
  • Irregular bowel movements

The 8 Best Foods For Leaky Gut, According to Research

Bone Broth

Naturally rich in collagen, gelatin, and amino acids like glutamine, bone broth is one of the best foods for leaky gut. According to research, these nutrients help to repair the intestinal lining, strengthen the gut barrier, and reduce inflammation, thereby, preventing the leakage of harmful substances into the bloodstream. Glutamine, in particular, has been shown to play a vital role in maintaining the mucosal lining of the gut and supporting the function of immune cells within the intestinal wall. 

In addition to consuming bone broth, you may consider incorporating collagen supplements (like collagen powder or grass-fed beef gelatin) into your gut health routine for additional support.

Fermented Foods

Fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut contain probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that promote a healthy gut microbiome. According to research, these fermented foods help to increase microbiome diversity, which is one of the best ways to combat chronic inflammation and improve gut barrier function.

To enjoy fermented foods for leaky gut, add sauerkraut and kimchi to salads or grain bowls, mix kefir into smoothies or yogurt bowls, or consider fermenting your own veggies!

RELATED: The Best Foods For a Healthier Gut According to an RD

Dark Leafy Greens

Yet, another reason to eat your greens! Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help reduce inflammation in the gut and prevent dysbiosis. They also contain prebiotic fiber, a nutrient that helps to promote regular bowel movements, good gut bacteria, and a healthy digestive system. 

To support gut barrier function, aim to include a wide range of greens, including options you may not typically reach for, such as beet greens, dandelion greens, and mustard greens. Rich in nutrients like zinc, vitamin A, and vitamin K, these foods can help you take your gut health back into your own hands!

Omega-3 Rich Foods

Loading up your plate with foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids — such as salmon, sardines, flaxseeds, and walnuts — can fast-track your gut health. Data suggests that omega-3 fatty acids, particularly those found in fish, can help reduce inflammation in the gut by modulating the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Additionally, the anti-inflammatory properties in these healthy fats may help repair the gut lining and protect against conditions associated with increased intestinal permeability, such as leaky gut syndrome.

RELATED: The 12 Best Omega-3-Rich Foods to Add to Your Diet


As one of the top anti-inflammatory foods, ginger is particularly beneficial for gut health. Best known for its ability to alleviate bloating, gas, and stomach pain, ginger works by reducing inflammation in the digestive tract and improving gastrointestinal motility. Aside from benefiting digestion, the anti-inflammatory properties of gingerol (ginger’s bioactive compound) are crucial for addressing the underlying causes of increased intestinal permeability. Helping to facilitate the breakdown and absorption of nutrients in the gut, this potent superfood spice is one of the best natural remedies for supporting gut health.

Enjoy it as a warming tea, juice it into an anti-inflammatory green juice, add fresh or dried ginger to marinades or stir-fries, or blend it into smoothies.


Similar to ginger, turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory herb that can help soothe the digestive tract and reduce inflammation in the gut. Turmeric contains a bioactive compound called curcumin, which is responsible for many of its therapeutic effects, including reduced oxidative stress and gut inflammation, and improved intestinal barrier function

Whether you add fresh or dried turmeric to your stir-fries and curries or whip up a comforting turmeric latte, this vibrant ingredient provides a tasty way to support digestion and alleviate symptoms of leaky gut syndrome.


Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are among the healthiest foods — for both gut health, and overall health. These small but mighty berries are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, nutrients that help to reduce systemic inflammation and oxidative stress, support regularity, and protect the gut lining from damage. Plus, they’re low in sugar and high in fiber, meaning they won’t spike blood sugar (which could further lead to inflammation in the gut).

To incorporate berries into your diet, add them to your morning oatmeal or yogurt, blend them into smoothies, toss them into salads, or simply enjoy them plain as a snack.

Prebiotic-Rich Foods

Is it really a surprise to learn that prebiotic foods are some of the top ingredients for leaky gut syndrome? Serving as food for probiotics, ingredients like garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, and Jerusalem artichokes work to nourish and populate our gut microbes. In turn, this helps to strengthen the intestinal barrier, support healthy digestive function, and alleviate symptoms associated with leaky gut syndrome.

To incorporate these prebiotic-rich foods into your diet, flavor your dishes with garlic and onions, include leeks in your soups, add asparagus to pasta dishes or stir-fries, and enjoy Jerusalem artichokes roasted alongside your favorite veggies in a sheet pan dinner.

Leaky Gut-Friendly Recipe Ideas For Every Meal of the Day


  • Berry & Spinach Smoothie: made with frozen mixed berries, non-dairy milk, spinach, nut butter, and an optional scoop of collagen protein
  • Overnight Oats: made with rolled oats, almond or walnut butter, chia seeds, non-dairy milk, and berries of choice
  • Sweet Potato Avocado Toast: roasted sweet potato toast topped with mashed avocado, a sprinkle of hemp seeds, and optional smoked salmon


  • Warm Salmon Salad Bowl: made with grilled salmon, baby kale, avocado, strawberries, and walnuts
  • Bone Broth Soup: made with bone broth, carrots, celery, garlic, onion, ginger, and shredded chicken
  • Tuna Wrap: made with canned tuna, mashed avocado, tomatoes, onion, celery, Greek yogurt, and a grain-free wrap 


  • Salmon & Veggie Sheet Pan Dinner: made with salmon, sweet potatoes, Jerusalem artichoke, onion, garlic, broccoli, and cauliflower
  • Shrimp Stir-Fry with Cauliflower Rice: made with riced cauliflower, shrimp, bell pepper, onion, garlic, carrots, peas, and low-sodium soy sauce
  • Nourish Bowl: made with roasted leafy greens such as Swiss chard or kale, quinoa, roasted chickpeas, avocado, roasted veggies of choice, tahini, and kimchi or sauerkraut


  • Kefir Yogurt Bowl: made with kefir, mixed nuts and seeds, fresh berries, and optional chia or hemp seeds
  • Coconut Milk Turmeric Latte: made with coconut milk, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, and optional honey or sweetener
  • Chia Seed Pudding: made with dairy-free milk, chia seeds, kefir, optional sweetener, and toppings of choice


  • Coconut Oil Freezer Fudge: made with cocoa, coconut oil, nut butter, and maple syrup
  • Berry & Greek Yogurt Bark: made with Greek yogurt, nut butter, berries, and optional maple syrup
  • Turmeric & Ginger Carrot Cake Balls: made with oats, shredded carrots, walnuts, flax, almond butter, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, maple syrup, and coconut

The Takeaway

Incorporating a variety of gut-nourishing foods into your diet can play a significant role in supporting gut health and alleviating symptoms associated with leaky gut. From fermented foods like yogurt and kimchi, to omega-3-rich foods like salmon and flaxseeds, these nutrient-packed whole-food ingredients offer a long list of health benefits. Important for nourishing your gut microbiome, reducing inflammation, and boosting your overall well-being, including these foods for leaky gut is a proactive approach to optimizing your gut health. Give these leaky gut-approved recipe ideas a try, and watch the benefits unfold!