When your digestive system feels out of sync with the rest of your body, get back on track with the healthy probiotics of fermented foods!
The key to a healthy body is a healthy gut. Probiotics is just one word that represents trillions of little creatures that live inside our bodies to manage just that. Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Saccharomyces boulardii, Streptococcus thermophilus, Enterococcus faecium, Leuconostoc are the good bacteria that live in your body. They are given the “pro” title and good-guy badge because they improve digestion by healing and restoring balance to the GI tract, boost immunity, and keep our bodies lean and healthy.
Do not confuse probiotics with their polar opposite, antibiotics, which are synthetic medications prescribed to kill bacterial infections. These not-so-good guys knock out infection all right, as well as any of the good bacteria in your body. In the event you’re prescribed antibiotics, adding an increased amount of probiotics like those found in fermented foods can help heal and restore a healthy amount of good bacteria in the gut.
Our ancestors have been eating fermented foods since the beginning of time because the preservative nature of good bacteria helps preserve foods. Centuries of civilizations from Germany to Korea have used these foods for what they offer to healthy digestion. Almost every culture worldwide had a staple fermented food they stand by. Fermentation takes place when food items have been through a process of lacto fermentation. This is where natural bacteria feed on sugar and starch in the food to create lactic acid. This process preserves food while creating vitamins, digestive aiding enzymes, Omega-3 fatty acids, and multiple strains of probiotics. Taking this cue from our forefathers and adding fermented foods that are rich in probiotics to our diets is the most natural and cost effective way to encourage the growth of good bacteria and promote a healthy balance in the body. This is why Dr. Mercola refers to the addition of fermented foods in a balanced diet to have “phenomenal benefits in your overall wellness.”
Fermented foods are a functional addition to a healthy diet that may help heal and protect your digestive tract and create a new level of overall wellness within the body. Try adding these 3 Fermented Foods to your diet:
Tempeh is most popular in oriental dishes and is made by fermenting soybeans with mold. It might not sound too appetizing, but the natural process that takes place creates a wealth of nutritious benefits. Far more benefits than soy offers alone, Tempeh has a firm consistency with an earthy flavor. It also has a complete amino acid profile making it an optimum protein source for those following a plant-based diet.
Sauerkraut translates to ‘Sour White Cabbage’ in German, which, if you’ve ever tried it, is spot on! Cabbage alone contains many health benefits, but this fermented version contains high levels of glucosinolates which have anti-cancer properties. The process in which it is produced is important if you want maximum health benefits. Sauerkraut needs to be raw fermented in order for it to contain lactic acid and living probiotic microorganisms, so avoid any brands that have been cooked or pasteurized.
The wide world of fermented beverages contains so much more than just alcohol. Kombucha is a fermented tea that contains all of the health benefits of a fermented food in a drinkable form. Kombucha is a sweetened tea (typically green or black tea) flavored with herbs or fruit that is fermented with bacteria and yeast called a SCOBI: Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast. A second fermentation stage causes a bubbly variety similar to soda! Try drinking Kombucha before and after meals to aid in digestion. (Disclaimer: Kombucha may contain an infinitesimal amount of alcohol as with any fermented food.)