Have you been wondering about the connection between gut health and fermented foods? Fermented foods are known to boost the number of beneficial bacteria, or probiotics, found in your gut. A healthy gut contains healthy bacteria and immune cells that ward off infectious agents like bacteria, viruses and fungi. According to health.ucdavis.edu, a healthy gut communicates with the brain through nerves and hormones, which helps maintain general health and well-being. Let’s explore four popular fermented foods and the “why” behind them.
Sauerkraut is probably the easiest food to find and to add to your diet to increase your gut health. You can add it to traditional sandwiches like Reubens. You can also add it to any meat, veggie dish, or eat it right out of the jar. It is easy to add a little at a time and then add more later. You can find sauerkraut in jars, canned, and in bags in most produce sections. Keep in mind, the fresh raw style is the most ideal rather than the canned due to the fact that canned foods tend to contain other preservatives that may cause the benefits of the sauerkraut to suffer.
Sauerkraut contains probiotics which may help improve the balance of bacteria in your gut, which helps keep your gut lining healthy. According to healthline.com, eating sauerkraut may help you strengthen your immune system, improve your digestion, reduce your risk of certain diseases, and even lose weight. Just a couple spoonfuls a day gives you a healthy dose of probiotics!
Yogurt is super easy to find and add to your daily diet routines. Yogurt is a great source of probiotics because it is made by fermenting milk with these live bacteria which promotes gut health.There are a few things to keep in mind when you are choosing a yogurt:
- Try to stick to a plain yogurt and add your own fresh fruits or sweetener, like honey. Its best to avoid yogurt that already contains fruit as there may be preservatives used for the fruits that could diminish the probiotic benefits of the yogurt.
- Regular and Greek yogurt are not the same. Traditional yogurt uses a traditional fermentation process which increases the probiotics. Greek yogurt is higher in protein, but may be lower in probiotics.
- Buying organic is the healthiest route to take when choosing your yogurt. Although it may be a few cents more, the health benefits outweigh the minimal cost difference.
Kombucha is ideal if you are more into a drink form of fermented food or if you just need something that is easy to digest on the go. If you are a cold tea fan, then this may be ideal as well. Kombucha is made with tea, sugar, water, and the yeast culture to add the probiotic. You can find kombucha at most stores that have health food or juice and smoothie sections. You can also find kombucha in a variety of flavors as well.
According to webmd.com, kombucha can help your digestion, rid your body of toxins, and boost your energy. It may also support your immune system, help you lose weight, reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, and may prevent cancer.
Miso can be found in powdered form in the Asian food section of most stores. You can also find block versions of miso or miso paste. This can be made into an easy to digest soup along with tofu and nori. If you are out and about and need to get some fermented foods into your diet during the day, consider eating a sushi restaurant or hibachi as they will offer miso soup as well as other fermented foods.
There are many more fermented foods that you can add to the mix overtime. These are just the more common foods you can find at most any store and add to your daily routine. Make sure when you are buying fermented foods or adding them to your diet that you are using a non-GMO labeled food product. This will cut down on chemicals and other preservatives that may detract from the natural benefits of fermentation.