The Awesome Power of Fermentation
Everyone’s digestive system is full of little critters, trillions of them in fact. Bacteria, fungus, parasites, viruses, and pathogens all make up the cosmos of our gut microbiome. Don’t be freaked out by that! Everything has got a role to play in the body. The important thing is, we need to make sure the good guys outweigh the bad guys. The goodies play an integral role in breaking down our food and help us absorb our nutrients, but fundamentally, they play a starring role in our immune system. If the balance is shifted the other way, in favour of the bad guys, that’s when gut health problems arise and we don’t want that, do we? So we need our good bacteria to flourish both in numbers and diversity. Does that make sense to you?
One of my all time favourite ways to feed the good guys is to consume fermented foods. Fermented foods are rich in probiotic bacteria so by consuming fermented foods you are adding beneficial bacteria and enzymes to your overall gut flora, improving your gut health and enhancing your immune system. Win:Win!! Yay!!
So let’s talk about options.
- Apple cider vinegar is fantastic – 1 to 2 tablespoons in some water before bed is ideal and has a plethora of other healthy ingredients such as B group vitamins.
- Fermented cabbage, known as sauerkraut, or its spicy cousin, Kimchi, have been used for centuries and are jam-packed full of fibre, iron and calcium.
- Keifer is a probiotic cultured drink high in good bacteria and vitamins and minerals.
- Miso is a traditional Japanese paste made from fermented soybeans. It is rich in essential minerals and a great source of folic acid. Miso makes a great addition to soup or as a marinade. Yum!
- Tempeh is another fermented soybean option popular with vegetarians.
- You have probably already heard of the fermented, fizzy black tea, Kombucha, it seems to be all the rage at the moment. Just be wary of the over-the-counter Kombucha, it can be full of sugar. Making your own at home is often best or buy it from your local, quality health food store.
- Lassi is a pre-dinner yoghurt made from sour milk.
- Not to be forgotten is the humble tub of yogurt. If you can tolerate dairy, a really good quality organic, natural yogurt is an amazing source of food for your gut bacteria. Just please, please stay clear of the commercialised fat free, high sugar varieties. If you can’t do dairy, then try one of the diary-free alternatives that can be found on the supermarket shelves. There are some delicious fermented coconut and nut yoghurts now available.
- Does it surprise you that butter and ghee are also fermented foods? They are full of butyrate, a short chain fatty acid that feeds the bacteria in your gut which is essentially feeding your immunity.
For overall gut health, don’t forget your prebiotic foods that feed your good bacteria. They can be found in fruits and veggies (especially the colourful ones), and wholegrains. Your body will be grateful that you do!
If you would like further support in helping your gut health, let’s talk, we would love to help. Connect with us here.