6 Fermented Foods For A Healthy Gut
You may have heard all the talk recently about fermented foods and how they have big benefits to your health.
Fermented foods and drinks have been around for centuries, revered by cultures who recognised long ago that all round body health begins in the gut.
So, why should you be making ferments a regular part of your diet and exactly which ones are best to eat?
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 has many benefits and is powerful for your health thanks to the natural ‘probiotics’ contained within, because they re-establish gut 'ecology', creating a good internal bacterial environment.
Your body too utilises a natural form of fermentation when food is consumed.
Your digestive system is designed to ferment anything that you eat in order to get it into a form whereby the nutrients, vitamins and minerals can actually be absorbed by your cells.
What are probiotics?
Probiotic foods contain microflora which are like little cheerleaders for your gut!
These microflorae or ‘good bacteria’ form a protective layer in your intestines and help to protect against ‘bad bacteria’ which are responsible for internal chaos 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.
Bad bacteria is caused by a poor diet, various illness, antibiotics and typically shows up as gastrointestinal infections, diarrhoea, heartburn, stomach ulcers and digestive problems.
When you introduce nature-made salt and 'good bacteria' from fermented foods into your body, the 'bad bacteria' can’t survive.
The 'good bacteria' go to work cleaning up the filth that bad bacteria feed on and love.
For this reason, fermented foods can help prevent and even reverse the following discomforts and dis-eases including:
- Intestinal Infections
- Poor Digestion
- 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 I can't emphasise 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:
1. 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 and spices.
2. Sauerkraut & Kimchi
Made from fermented cabbage, Sauerkraut and Kimchi provide a good dose of beneficial probiotics, boosting digestion and immune function, aiding weight loss and reducing inflammation. Most often used as a tasty condiment to go with meals, you can add these spicy cabbage delights to pretty much anything savoury.
3. Organic Raw Dairy
Fermented dairy foods like kefirs, cottage cheese, sour cream and yogurt have been worshipped for thousands of years for their health-giving qualities.
The trick these days is to ensure that you only buy these products from an organic trusted source that avoids pasteurization and contain 'live' or 'active' cultures.
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’s one of the most probiotic foods on the planet, and kefir benefits are incredible for healing issues like leaky gut.
This unique name 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!
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.
You can actually brew your own kombucha at home, find out more in The Big Book of Kombucha.
5. Organic Beer & Wine
Ancient cultures referred to naturally fermented beer and wine as 'sacraments' because of their natural healing and calming qualities.
Beer and wine are two of the most consumed beverages in the world, but the problem is that most commercially made brands are over processed and laden with preservatives, so you need to find the right sources.
Thankfully, there are still micro-breweries and local crafters out there who still make beer the way it was done for thousands of years. Always look for no-additive, no-preservative beer and choose wines that are made from organic grapes and have no sulphates or added preservatives.
Don't be tricked into believing that 'good' beer and wine is the same thing as hard alcohol or spirits or their mass-produced, chemically-laced counterparts which barely resemble REAL beer or wine.
In moderation, they're both healthy drinks with immune-boosting, anti-ageing and lifespan-extending benefits!
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.
To learn more about it, I've written an article about The Self Care Power of Apple Cider Vinegar.
So there you have it...
Remember that virtually all discomfort and dis-ease starts in the gut, so it's vital to ensure a healthy bacterial environment to give you sustained health, vitality and longevity.