Top 10 Foods to Heal Leaky Gut Syndrome -

Top 10 Foods to Heal Leaky Gut Syndrome


Top 10 Foods to Heal Leaky Gut

Leaky gut or intestinal permeability syndrome is a condition in which the gut lining is damaged.  In this condition, large food particles, bacteria and environmental toxins are able to seep into the blood stream and cause problems in the body.

As a clinician, I always suspect leaky gut whenever I have patients with chronic immune related issues.  This includes cancer and auto-immune conditions as well as other chronic inflammatory conditions.   This article goes into detail on various superfoods that help the body heal and seal a leaky gut.  Food is medicine and we can use various foods to heal leaky gut.

Bone Broth:

Bone broth has a variety of nutrients that act to soothe an overactive immune system while providing the body with raw materials to rebuild stronger and healthier cells. This is why it is an incredibly healing food to have when the body is encountering stress from bacterial or viral infections as well as digestive disorders and leaky gut syndrome.

Bone broth can be made from any animal with bones and the most popular soup bones include those of fish, chicken, turkey, beef, lamb and venison.  The bones house a variety of powerful nutrients that become released when they are slowly simmered in water for a few hours.  These nutrients include bone marrow which helps provide the raw materials for healthy blood cells and immune development (1234).

Goal:  Drink 8oz – 2x daily of either homemade (the best) or an organic store bought variety.  This Epic Bone Broth is excellent for true pre-made bone broth.  You can also find lower cost meat broths that aren’t as rich in collagen protein and glycosaminoglycans as bone broth, but still provide minerals for the body.  I like Imagine Chicken broth


Coconut Oil:

This is one of the healthiest foods on the planet and is the best natural source of medium chain triglycerides that help the body burn fat, reduce inflammation and heal the gut lining.  Coconut oil is especially rich in lauric acid which is found in a high quantity within mother’s milk and is known to be a powerful anti-microbial agent that kills off bad bacteria and yeast.

I recommend using coconut oil to cook with and to put in shakes and smoothies.  You can also apply it to your skin where it will help to moisturize and improve the skin microbiome.  On the skin, it will also cross into the blood stream and have a positive effect on your physiology.   If you don’t like the coconut flavor than use a high quality MCT oil which has all the same benefits but no coconut flavor.

Goal:  3-4 tbsps of virgin coconut oil (or XCT oil) daily in shakes, smoothies, applied to the skin or used in cooking (and poured on food afterwards). 


Coconut Butter:

This contains all the benefits of coconut oil, but it also contains the coconut flour where all the fiber of the coconut is.  The coconut fiber is a great prebiotic that helps to feed and support a healthy microbiome.

You can use coconut butter in a wide variety of recipes including fudge cups, donut holes, healthy oreo cookies and so much more!

Goal:  Aim to get 2 tbsps of coconut butter in your diet daily either in addition to coconut oil or in replacement for the coconut oil.  Here is a great deal on a large amount of coconut butter, which you will find as the base in many recipes on our website.


Apple Cider Vinegar:

This fermented tonic is a natural anti-microbial that kills off bad bacteria such as H Pylori which is associated with acid reflux and stomach ulcers.  It is also loaded with enzymes and organic acids that improve the digestive process, stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation throughout the body (5, 6).

I use ACV in water (1-2 tbsps in 8oz of water) and on foods, particularly meat and vegetable dishes.  The acids in the ACV help to pre-digest the meat and veggies, which reduces stress on the digestive system.  It also improves the production and flow of digestive juices such as stomach acid, bile and pancreatic enzymes (7).

Goal:  Use 3-4 tbsps of ACV daily in water and on foods.  Always get this raw, with the mother in tact.  I like Bragg’s brand.


Grass-fed Ghee:

Grass-fed butter and ghee are loaded with powerful gut supportive nutrients including a large amount of fat soluble vitamin A, D, E and K2.  They also have omega 3 fatty acids and a small chain fat called butyric acid that helps feed intestinal cells and reduces gut and whole body inflammation.

Ghee is clarified butter in which all the lactose, casein and whey are removed and it is just the fat solids that remain.  Many individuals with leaky gut have sensitivities to lactose, casein and whey and so I only recommend ghee for these individuals and it is usually tolerated very well.

I recommend melting it on steamed veggies where it tastes amazing and/or adding it to soups, teas and coffee.

Goal:  Use 2-4 tbsps daily of grass-fed ghee, Purity Farms is a good brand.


Beef Gelatin and/or Collagen Peptides:

Gelatin and collagen are the main nutrients in bone broth and so they are rich in the key amino acids that help make up our joints, gut lining and skin.  Using these products adds additional healthy protein to the diet and provides the key building blocks for these supportive structures in the body.

These are also considered beauty foods because they help to strengthen the skin tissue, reducing skin damage and wrinkle formation.  In this way, they help to improve complexion and reduce the effects of aging on the skin.

By strengthening the gut lining, they reduce whole body inflammatory levels and improve digestive function, neurological health and thyroid function among other things.  Always look for a grass-fed source of gelatin or collagen peptides.

Gelatin can be used to make collagen marshmallows or to thicken up soups and stews.  Collagen peptides can be used in a similar manner as any other protein powder in smoothies and shakes.

Goal:  2-4 scoops daily in smoothies, collagen marshmallows, soups and stews.

You can also use our Bone Broth Protein, which is full of collagen protein from chicken bones that are rich in type II collagen, which is what makes up the intestinal lining.  Grass-fed beef collagen is richer in type I and III collagen, which is the best for the joints of the body.




Ginger is composed of key essential oils that act as strong anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic agents.  In addition, it limits cancer cell formation while firing up our body’s immune system in order to destroy the cancer cells formerly present.(8)

Additionally, ginger helps protect the bodies stores of the super anti-oxidant & free radical destroyer glutathione.   Ginger is also one of the world’s best anti-nausea agents and it improves the production of digestive juices (stomach acid, bile and pancreatic enzymes).

Adequate digestive juice flow is extremely key for healing a leaky gut and reducing gut related inflammation that would cause leaky gut.  Here are some great ways to use ginger:

1.  Drink a cup of organic ginger tea everyday or use 2 drops of ginger essential oil in water

2.  Grate fresh ginger or use dried ginger on your salad, meat and steamed veggies

3.  Drink Bragg’s Ginger Aid (ginger, apple cider vinegar, water and stevia – tastes GREAT!!!)

4.  Get ginger root and put an inch or so in per 8oz of juice. Anymore can give too much bite.

Goal:  Find 2 ways to get ginger into your body each day



Peppermint is considered a carminative herb in that it stimulates the digestive system and improves the bone of the intestinal membrane.  Carminatives contain essential oils that help to expel gas and ease any sort of gut related gripping pains you may experience with leaky gut syndrome.

Additionally, carminative herbs like peppermint help to tone the mucous membrane and increase the gut related muscle contractions, called peristalsis, in order to move food and wastes through the system gently.

The menthol component of peppermint is a natural muscle relaxer which acts to relax the smooth muscles in the gut when they are over contracting.  This has been shown to help relieve the sypmtoms of irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion and acid reflux (910)..

Goal:  Get a few drops of peppermint essential oil in your water each day or make an organic peppermint based tea to drink each day.


Fermented Vegetables: 

Fermented foods provide the body with beneficial microorganisms, live bioactive enzymes, organic acids and B vitamins.  These nutrients help to improve the digestive functions of the body by stimulating the production of  healthy stomach acid levels, bile and pancreatic enzymes necessary for optimal digestion.

Some of my favorite fermented foods that I use daily include sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, coconut water kefir, coconut milk yogurt and kefir and grass-fed dairy kefir and Amasai.

For a list of the best fermented foods read this article

Goal:  Consume 4oz of fermented drinks such as coconut water kefir and 4oz of fermented veggies such as sauerkraut or kimchi daily.


Pumpkin Seeds:

Pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc, B vitamins and magnesium which are all key for good digestive function.  They are also one of the world’s strongest natural anti-parasitic agents and help to expel all different forms of parasites including the very challenging tapeworm.

You can definitely cook these up after consuming a pumpkin and add some good salt for a great snack.  However, for regular consumption, it is best to get pre-shelled sprouted, raw pumpkin seeds to remove any sort of anti-nutrient lectins.

Goal:  Consume 2-4oz of sprouted raw pumpkin seeds daily in salads or as a snack


Sources For This Article Include:

1. Clark KL, Sebastianelli W, Flechsenhar KR, Aukermann DF, Meza F, Millard RL, Deitch JR, Sherbondy PS, Albert A. 24-Week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain. Curr Med Res Opin. 2008 May;24(5):1485-96. PMID: 18416885
2. Deal CL, Moskowitz RW. Nutraceuticals as therapeutic agents in osteoarthritis. The role of glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and collagen hydrolysate. Rheum Dis Clin North Am. 1999 May;25(2):379-95. PMID:10356424
3. Choi SY, Kim WG, Ko EJ, Lee YH, Kim BG, Shin HJ, Choi YS, Ahn JY, Kim BJ, Lee HJ. Effect of high advanced-collagen tripeptide on wound healing and skin recovery after fractional photothermolysis treatment. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2014 Dec;39(8):874-80. PMID: 25283252
4. Choi SY, Ko EJ, Lee YH, Kim BG, Shin HJ, Seo DB, Lee SJ, Kim BJ, Kim MN. Effects of collagen tripeptide supplement on skin properties: a prospective, randomized, controlled study. J Cosmet Laser Ther. 2014 Jun;16(3):132-7. PMID: 24131075
5. Johnston CS, Gaas CA. Vinegar: Medicinal Uses and Antiglycemic Effect.Medscape General Medicine.2006 May; 8(2):61. PMCID:1785201
6. Hu FB, Stampfer MJ, Manson JE, et al., Dietary intake of α-linolenic acid and risk of fatal ischemic heart disease among women. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 May;69(5): 890-897. PMID:10232627
7. Johnston CS, Kim CM, Buller AJ. Vinegar improves insulin sensitivity to a high carbohydrate meal in subjects with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes mellitus.Diabetes Care. 2004 Jan; 27:281–282. PMID:14694010
8. Park M, Bae J, Lee DS. Antibacterial activity of [10]-gingerol and [12]-gingerol isolated from ginger rhizome against periodontal bacteria. Phytother Res. 2008 Nov;22(11):1446-9. PMID: 18814211
9. Hills JM, Aaronson PI. The mechanism of action of peppermint oil on gastrointestinal smooth muscle. An analysis using patch clamp electrophysiology and isolated tissue pharmacology in rabbit and guinea pig. Gastroenterology. 1991 Jul;101(1):55-65. PMID: 1646142
10. Kölbel CB, Layer P. [Peppermint oil and the smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal tract]. Z Gastroenterol. 1992 Dec;30(12):885-6. German. PMID: 1336261


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24 Responses to Top 10 Foods to Heal Leaky Gut Syndrome

  1. Denise January 23, 2016 at 11:52 am #

    I have a reaction to broth, coconut oil/butter, ghee, pumpkin seeds and even essential oils from this list whenever I consume them and do currently avoid them except the broth. Normally, I get a thick mucous-post nasal drip when I eat these items along with dairy and all grains-sometimes difficulty getting a deep breath with grains.. Would you recommend I stay away from the above items from your article or consume them anyway as I try to heal from my leaky gut? So far it’s been a real struggle to get any improvement. I’ve been doing the GAPS diet for 7-8 months . I am very slowly being able to add in fermented veggies and also take 50 billion probiotics 2xs a day. (Also, I did a 6 mth. candida cleanse with a health consultant). Any advice would be welcomed!! At this rate, will my gut ever heal?

    • R September 2, 2016 at 4:15 am #

      Are you any better?

    • Dr. Jockers December 22, 2016 at 5:40 pm #

      Sorry to hear this Denise. I would recommend staying away from anything that causes unwanted symptoms, even if it is considered a superfood. Glad you are able to add back some fermented veggies and probiotics now! You will get well, it just takes time!

  2. Kathy January 23, 2016 at 12:04 pm #

    What brand (s) of essential oils do you recommend?

    • Dr. Jockers January 24, 2016 at 9:54 pm #

      There are many good ones, but my family uses and LOVES DoTerra oils!

  3. bev carnahan January 24, 2016 at 3:11 pm #

    How ling to soak seeds about 24 hours?


  4. Annette Williams March 13, 2017 at 8:13 am #

    Hi to have food shipped to England how much is the cost thank you

    • Dr. Jockers March 13, 2017 at 11:18 am #

      We can send supplements to England but not food Annette!

  5. Mary Stephens March 14, 2017 at 8:30 pm #

    I tend to have trouble with digesting coconut oil. Does it still help the gut even if it’s rubbed on topically? I use it in place of body lotion and am wondering if it is still doing the gut any good. I can drink coconut juice/water, though.

    • Dr. Jockers March 15, 2017 at 5:56 am #

      Yes, I would recommend putting it on your body as it will cross into your blood stream through the skin.

      • Mary Stephens March 16, 2017 at 10:58 pm #

        Ok, thanks.

  6. Candace Thomas May 17, 2017 at 7:54 pm #

    God is regenerating my lungs and you are a God sent to me. Thank you for you and all you do for all of us!

  7. Cindy Haigh September 5, 2017 at 9:31 pm #

    If you are allergic to Pumpkin(blood food allergy test), I take it to mean seeds too. Or could they be OK? Thanks.

  8. Eric M October 11, 2017 at 10:48 am #

    It appears ACV/lemon on a regular basis was causing muscle cramping. Is that possible?

    • Dr. Jockers October 11, 2017 at 11:08 am #

      This seems unlikely Eric. You may want to try increasing your sodium and magnesium intake and seeing if that helps.

  9. B. Moses October 31, 2017 at 5:42 am #

    I love love ginger. I love ginger shots. I juice a nice piece of ginger and one Granny Smith apple; then drink it and I love it. I would love to have a shot a few times a day but now sure if that would be to much ginger. I only have it a couple times a week. Trying to clear my candida by just trying out some different things

    • Dr. Jockers October 31, 2017 at 8:42 am #

      Ginger is great! As long as you are not experiencing any outright side effects you are probably fine to keep consuming it. We also have plenty of articles on candida!

  10. Alan Roell December 19, 2017 at 5:54 pm #

    You mention bone broth, but the link goes to Imagine Chicken Broth. Is it the same thing? I have gotten bone broth in the past, but prefer the taste of chicken broth.
    Also, I love coconut oil, but have been scared off it by all the warnings from the medical establishment over the high saturated fat content. ????

  11. Joanne Joachim December 27, 2017 at 10:42 pm #

    Hello Dr. Jockers,

    I’ve been suffering from Hypothyroid disease for over two years now. I’ve experience all the symptoms you mentioned in your video, especially hair lose, dry skin, brain fog and constipation, just an accelerated aging process going on in my body. To complicate the situation, I’m also going through menopause with the hot flashes and difficulty sleeping. I’ve been using natural sea weed (Irish Moss) that I purchase from Markus Products; it has helped tremendously with the hot flashes, they come on less frequently. I’ve also been using Apple Cider Vinegar (Braggs), and it does help to keep my weight down; I just started using coconut oil too and I think it’s helping with my weight as well. To see real progress, I know I must start eating all the foods you mentioned for gut health. How can I obtain the “Gut Health” food and recipes? Thank You for providing such helpful information .

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