You may have heard all the talk recently about probiotics and how they have big benefits to your health.
Probiotics are the good bacteria that your gut needs for strong immunity and for your body to perform many vital functions, including healthy digestion and sleep.
One of the best places to get probiotics is not supplements, but from naturally Fermented foods.
Fermented foods and drinks have been revered for centuries by long-lived cultures who are conscious that all robust health begins in the gut. In fact, it was the ancient Greek Physician, Hippocrates, who taught that, "All disease begins in the gut".
For this reason, you should make fermented foods a regular part of your diet. And in this blog, we will share with you all of the reasons why and which ones are easily accessible and best for lasting all round health.
What are fermented foods?
Fermentation is the process where sugars and carbohydrates in certain foods transform into bacteria-promoting enzymes when left to incubate over a period of time.
Eating fermented foods is powerful for your health thanks to the natural probiotics which help to cultivate good bacteria and a balanced ecology or microbiome in your gut.
It's important to realise that your body too utilises a natural form of fermentation when food is consumed. Your digestive system is designed to ferment anything that you eat so that the nutrients, vitamins and minerals can be separated and absorbed by your cells.
What are probiotics?
Probiotic foods contain microflora which are like little cheerleaders for your gut.
These micro florae or ‘good bacteria’ form a protective layer in your intestines and help to protect against ‘bad bacteria’ which are responsible for internal chaos, lowered immune function and infection.
Learn more in Probiotics: Health Benefits & 7 Powerful Food Sources
What do fermented foods do for your health?
Good bacteria keep bad bacteria in check.
The main causes of bad bacteria in the gut are diets high in processed foods and drinks, fast foods, excess alcohol consumption and the over use of supplements, medications and antibiotics.
Signs that you have poor gut health typically show up as gastrointestinal infections, digestive problems, lowered immunity, irritability, a constant lack of energy, poor concentration and digestive problems.
When you introduce probiotic rich foods into your diet, the good bacteria go to work cleaning up the filth that bad bacteria feed on allowing them to proliferate.
For this reason, fermented foods can help prevent and even reverse the following discomforts and dis-eases including:
- Intestinal Infections
- Digestive Issues
- Bladder & Gallbladder Infection/Cleanse
- Candida and Yeast Infections
- Heart Burn
- Stomach Ulcers
- Celiac Disease
- Rheumatic Fever
The direct relationship between your gut health and overall health is undeniable, so it cannot be emphasised enough how important it is to begin incorporating a mix of fermented foods and drinks into your diet on a consistent basis.
Here are 6 of the best and easily accessible fermented foods:
1. Organic Tofu & Tempeh
A favourite among vegetarian foodies, organic tofu is full of naturally-fermented goodness. Made from fermented soybeans, not only is it high in plant-based probiotics but also provides your body with all the essential amino acids and is a great complete source of muscle-building protein.
Adding Tofu and Tempeh to your diet can also help reduce cholesterol, increase bone density, reduce menopause symptoms and fight diabetes. This Asian speciality is tasteless on its own but can be jazzed up when cooked with herbs, spices, vegetables and broths into a delicious meal or snack.
2. Sauerkraut & Kimchi
Made from fermented cabbage, Sauerkraut and Kimchi can be found in many delicious varieties in whole food markets these days. A very rich source of probiotics, these delectable fermented veges help support healthy digestion, immune function, whilst aiding weight loss and reducing inflammation.
Most often used as a tasty condiment to go with cooked savoury meals, Sauerkraut and Kimchi are delightful additions to Baked Potato, Avocado and Salad Sandwiches, Crackers with Organic Cheese andVeggie Burritos.
3. Organic Raw Dairy
If you're going to eat animal products, some of the best to consume include naturally fermented, raw organic dairy such as:
- Cottage Cheese
- Sour Cream and
- Soft Cheeses (that have no animal-rennet, only vegetable enzyme).
These foods have been embraced for thousands of years for their health-giving qualities. However, the trick today is to only buy these products from quality, local sources that have not been pasteurised.
Look for products that contain 'live' or 'active' cultures which are easy to find in good health food stores and whole food markets.
Even though some folks experience intolerances to dairy, often the reactions experienced are due to consumption of heavily processed, commercial dairy products.
High quality milk-based ferments contain a multitude of intestinal-friendly bacteria, including acidophilus (Lactobacillus acidophilus). In fact, raw fermented dairy products offer a range of powerful enzymes, B vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fatty and amino acids, and various probiotics that will keep your gut health in good shape.
Kefir is a unique cultured dairy product that is one of the richest sources of probiotics on the planet, with amazing benefits for healing digestive issues like leaky gut. The word Kefir is a unique name that comes from the Turkish word “keif,” which means “good feeling.”
You can even make your own healthy yoghurt and cheese now with the new Kuvings Greek Yogurt and Cheese Maker!
One of the most common, readily available and delightful fermented foods on the planet are olives.
Olives are vegetable rich in Lactobacillus, which is a very friendly, good gut bacteria. They also help to reduce cholesterol, supply important dietary fibre for healthy digestion and minerals like iron and copper which your body needs for vital functions.
Finally, olives contain a compound with very strong anti-inflammatory properties, called Oleocanthal. This is why olive oil can help to naturally reduce the pain of chronic inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and should be included in your regular diet for inflammation and pain management and reduction.
Eat a variety of olives 2-3 times per week and ensure and drizzle extra virgin olive oil on salads, baked veggies whenever you can.
In recent years the popularity of this natural tangy fermented ‘health drink’ has soared.
Thanks to its sweet taste, sparkling effervescence and health-promoting benefits, it makes a great substitute for sugary sodas and chemical-laden soft drinks.
Available in a range of natural flavours kombucha is normally made from tea, raw cane sugar and yeast with added herbs or fruit. Part of the fermentation process includes adding a ‘colony’ of good bacteria which makes it full of probiotics and a miracle worker for maintaining a healthy gut.
6. Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
This is one of the oldest fermented tonics on earth and one of the most beneficial all round.
Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar provides healthy stomach acids, improves digestion, restores pH balance and tops up 'good' bacteria in your gut.
So there you have it...
Remember that virtually all discomfort and dis-ease starts in the gut, so it's vital to embrace some of these fermented foods regularly in your diet to ensure a healthy bacterial environment and to give you sustained health, vitality and longevity.
Tolman Self Care.