If you really want to boost your health, you should consider fermented foods. These foods will help restore a healthy balance of bacteria (probiotics) in your digestive tract. In addition to being the home of probiotics, your digestive tract is also responsible for the absorption of nutrients and the removal of waste products. This is why it so important to keep your gut healthy! There are several strains of bacteria living in your intestines, most of them are healthy, but you will also find some amount of unhealthy bacteria. It is the balance between the healthy and unhealthy bacteria that is important. When your balance is out of whack, you might experience issues with digestion, such as gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhoea. An unhealthy balance is also associated with depression and anxiety, vitamin and mineral deficiency as well as a low immune system. Having a healthy balance will assist you with all of this, and what is even better, it might even help you get leaner.
Fermented foods contain some of the healthy bacteria you want to have a lot of, and that is why you should ensure to include fermented foods in your diet. The next time you head to the shops, ensure you put any of these in your shopping trolley.
Natural yoghurt can sometimes contain healthy bacteria. You will just need to ensure the container says that it does.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink and is slightly less solid than yoghurt.
Sauerkraut is made from cabbage and you can easily make your own at home. Making your own sauerkraut will also ensure you get the maximum amount of healthy bacteria.
You can also ferment other vegetables, such as carrot and beetroot.
Kimchi is also fermented cabbage, but unlike sauerkraut it has got a slightly more spicy taste.
Tempeh is fermented soybeans and in addition to healthy bacteria it is also a good source of protein. That is why I recommend tempeh in my F.I.T. programs.
Another way for you to help restoring the balance in your intestines is by eating foods that contain prebiotics. Prebiotics help your healthy bacteria to flourish and will as such help restore the balance in your intestines. Prebiotics are mostly indigestible fibre that travels through the upper part of your digestive tract undigested. Once they reach the healthy bacteria in the lower part of your digestive tract the prebiotic act as food for the bacteria. If you want to increase your intake of prebiotics, ensure you include these foods that contain high levels of prebiotics include:
- Dandelion greens
A high intake of prebiotics has been associated with better absorption of certain minerals, improved immune system, reduced cancer risk and improved gut motility. However, if you are not used to eating these foods you might experience some bloating and gas production.
Having a healthy balance of gut bacteria is really important, as it will have a major impact on your health. Another thing that I have found interesting is that the types of bacteria in your digestive tract might help you lose weight and stay lean. Yet another reason to stock on the foods I mentioned above.
What is your favourite fermented food? Let me know in the comments below.