When you think of bacteria “friendly” probably isn’t one of the first words that come to mind. But according to new research your health may be tied to how much” friendly bacteria” you have living in your gut. Your gut bacteria( how much and its diversity) have been linked to obesity, heart disease, diabetes and even brain function. So how do you get more of the friendly critters in your belly? Well one way is to eat more traditionally fermented foods which are loaded with friendly bacteria, Here are six foods for a healthy gut.
Kefir tastes a lot like yogurt but it has the consistency of buttermilk which makes it perfect for smoothies. It contains beneficial yeast as well as friendly ‘probiotic’ bacteria found in yogurt. The naturally occurring bacteria and yeast in kefir combine symbiotically to give superior health benefits when consumed regularly. It is loaded with valuable vitamins and minerals and contains easily digestible complete proteins.
For the lactose intolerant, kefir’s abundance of beneficial yeast and bacteria provide lactase, an enzyme which consumes most of the lactose left after the culturing process. It’s actually pretty easy to make your own kefir at home
According to the website WebMD your body needs to have a healthy amount of ”good” bacteria in the digestive tract, and many yogurts are made using active, good bacteria. One of the words you’ll be hearing more of in relation to yogurt is ”probiotics.” Probiotic, which literally means ”for life,” refers to living organisms that can result in a health benefit when eaten in adequate amounts.
Miguel Freitas, PhD, medical marketing manager for Dannon Co., says the benefits associated with probiotics are specific to certain strains of these “good” bacteria. Many provide their benefits by adjusting the microflora (the natural balance of organisms) in the intestines, or by acting directly on body functions, such as digestion or immune function. (Keep in mind that the only yogurts that contain probiotics are those that say “live and active cultures” on the label.)
Kombucha is a type of fermented fizzy tea. For many years this tea has been reported to have health benefits . To date no scientific evidence has been presented to prove this product has any specific healing powers. But what has been proven is kombucha is full of organic acids, enzymes, beneficial microflora and B vitamins. The resulting product provides health benefits beyond those of a cup of tea. The organic acids include those that help the digestive system readily remove toxins from the liver and digestive tract and has strains of several forms of good bacteria.
Traditional Sauerkraut is fermented and pickled cabbage and is loaded with beneficial bacteria which is what gives it it’s sour tang.. In her book “Cooking for Healthy Healing” author Linda Page writes One of the primary roles of these beneficial bacteria is to promote healthy intestines and bowels, which aid in proper digestion of your food, but there are many other benefits as well. Eating a diet rich in the good bacteria that sauerkraut contains may help reduce irritable bowel syndrome, skin disorders and your risk of heart disease. But beware some sauerkraut can be pasturized which kills all the beneficial bacteria as well as loaded with preservatives and chemicals, so try to stick with brands that are raw and organic.
This traditional Korean dish is most often made with fermented cabbage but there are literally hundreds of varieties. What makes Kimchi so healthy is the combination of ingredients and how it is made. Most kimchi is made with fermented cabbage (like sauerkraut) radish, garlic, chili peppers, onion, and often a brined seafood like oysters, squid or fish. Kimchi is often spicy (but not always) and packs a real nutritional wallop. This Korean side dish is loaded with vitamin A, B, C, calcium, potassium, iron, dietary fiber, pro-biotic bacteria, Omega 3 fatty acids, anti-oxidants and significant anticancer properties from the trifecta of onions, garlic and cabbage. You can put Kimchi in scrambled eggs, used as a pizza topping or stirred into fried rice.
Miso is made with fermented soybeans sea salt, and koji (a mold starter), and often mixed with rice, barley or other grains. The mixture is allowed to ferment for 3 months to 3 years, which produces an enzyme-rich food. The binding agent zybicolin in miso is effective in detoxifying and eliminating elements that are taken into the body through industrial pollution, radioactivity and artificial chemicals in the soil and food system, this according to Deia Quigley at Care2.com. A staple in Chinese and Japanese cooking for thousands of years and even today the Japanese often start there day with a warm bowl of miso soup. Again try to stay away from the pasteurized versions of this product if you want the health benefits that the good bacteria provide.