Sep
23

Fermentation Frenzy: Foods for A Healthy Gut

bowl of sauerkraut on rustic wood

 

Your gut is home to 100 trillion microorganisms!

Maintaining these microflora is essential to your overall health, and has a huge impact on your whole body.

While many people think that the healthiest foods are always the freshest, the probiotic properties of fermented food are actually among the most powerful for promoting gut health.

Fermented foods come in many forms, but the process of fermentation is essentially the same – natural bacteria feed on the sugars and starches in the food and create lactic acid, preserving the food and creating a range of beneficial enzymes, probiotics, Omega-3 fatty acids, and B vitamins. High levels of vitamin K can even help fight arterial plaque and protect against heart disease.

Common fermented foods include kimchi, sauerkraut, soy sauce, some types of pickles, some types of cheeses, kombucha, natural yogurt, miso, buttermilk, and some types of bean curd, among many, many others.

These often pungent and flavorful foods boost your gut’s good bacteria, and can help heal a range of digestive issues like IBS, constipation, and heartburn. These superfoods don’t just affect your digestive system though! The probiotic and vitamin rich nature of fermented foods also helps with weight loss, clearer skin, better brain function, bolstering the immune system, reducing fatigue… The list goes on and on!

Just a small amount of these foods, when consumed regularly, can have a significant impact on your overall health – all from making your gut’s microbial systems run at their very best.

Gut health is so much more important than most of us realize, affecting mood and mental health (90% of your serotonin is produced in the gut), playing a role in risk for obesity, depression, and ADD, and even making a difference in gene expression over the course of our entire lives!

Because gut health plays such a pivotal role in our overall wellbeing, and because it’s one of the body’s systems that we can directly influence, taking steps to maintain the right kind of intestinal microbes is something that each and every one of us should consider. Fermented foods happen to be one of the most powerful ways to get that “good stuff” into your gut.

Two of my go-to fermented foods are Siggi’s Yogurt and Bubbies Bread and Butter Chips.

With so many different types of fermented foods available, you can likely find one that you like – even if the idea of kimchi and sauerkraut makes you wrinkle your nose – from fermented ketchups to certain types of tempeh and various fermented vegetables. If nothing else, at least experiment with some of these foods to see if there are some you enjoy – your body will certainly thank you for it.

Here are some valuable links:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3904694/

http://psychcentral.com/news/2015/01/27/fermented-food-and-mental-health/80471.html

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/06/20/gut-brain-connection.aspx

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