This can be a complicated question. Often people have different sensitivities to different foods. This can be difficult to figure out, but some people do an elimination type diet or seek guidance from a naturopath or nutritionist. However, there are some known foods that contain pre-biotics, and many studies showing the benefits of probiotics, which gives people a good place to start. There are also known foods that increase inflammation that would be good to avoid if suffering from gut health, inflammatory disease, anxiety, etc.
Prebiotics are non digestible fiber that feed or fuel the good bacteria that lives in your gut. Probiotics contain the good bacteria that you need to improve gut health. So, to have a healthy gut you need prebiotics to fuel your gut bacteria or probiotic supplement.
Get your prebiotics from food. Some of the top foods that contain probiotics include: raw chicory root, raw dandelion greens, raw Jerusalem artichoke (like what do you do with those?!). Some more common foods are garlic, leeks, onion, asparagus, banana, whole oats, apples, cocoa beans (woohoo!), flaxseed, beans, lentils, nuts.
Finding a good probiotic can be a little more complicated. There are so many supplement choices, and not all probiotics are created equal! Since probiotics are live bacteria, there is a lot of variation in shelf life, bioavailability, and specific bacteria. Probioitcs can be found in fermented foods, drink, capsule, tablet, and powder. Some general buying tips are to look for certifications, particularly GMP and/or NSP. Make sure you are getting a variety of bacteria and a lot of them. I recommend 12 or more strains and a count of 10 billion or more. Keeping them refrigerated will maintain quality and shelf life. I get my probiotics in both fermented drinks (Kombucha) and my Shakeology (contains both pre and probiotics).
Furthermore, there is research that a more plant based diet may be beneficial to decreasing gut permeability. Specifically, ALL SATURATED FAT leads to inflammation (remember, it is the inflammatory response that is causing disease and symptoms). Other foods that are shown to increase inflammation include table sugar and high fructose corn syrup, artificial trans fats, refined carbohydrates, alcohol, and processed meat.
Hopefully this gives you a place to start, working on adding food into your diet that helps improv gut health while decreasing those foods that increase inflammation and therefore increase the leaky gut syndrome. FYI…put that Kombucha in a wine glass for your evening drink…you won’t even know the difference!