This week we've discussed that poor gut health can affect your immunity and health. One of the recommendations we've talked about is increasing your intake of fermented foods to help support your gut and boost your immunity.
We had a lot of feedback on this blog. Many of you wanted to know more about how fermented foods improve gut health, and how to make your own fermented foods at home.
So, in this week’s blog I will delve into some examples of probiotic rich foods, how to incorporate them into your diet and how to make them yourself.
In our gut we have trillions of bacteria. Humans actually have ten times more bacteria cells than we do human cells.
"I often say to clients that we are more bacteria than we are human!"
We come into trouble with our little microbes when the balance of good bacteria and bad bacteria becomes out of whack. Microbial imbalances have been linked to depression, skin disorders, autoimmune conditions, leaky gut, IBS and infertility.
Fermented foods help restore the correct balance of bacteria by feeding the good bacteria. The other benefit of consuming fermented foods is over time your sugar cravings decrease as you starve out the bad bacteria, which feed on sugar and refined grains and carbohydrates.
One theory in the field of microbiome research is that the bad bacteria thrive off sugar and release cravings within your body to make you give them what they want. Clever bacteria. This means overtime as you crowd out these bad bacteria with nutrition your sugar cravings will lessen. This will help with energy, blood sugar balance and weight management.
Fermented foods have been used for centuries as a nutritional powerhouse to support health and vitality. I’ve spent a long time researching ancestral societies. Interestingly, in autumn and winter months traditional communities increased their intake of probiotic-rich foods such as sauerkraut and fermented vegetables significantly. My research shows that traditional communities consumed 12 serves of probiotic foods per day.
The reason for this is a lack of refrigeration and modern agriculture. In the cooler months, less vegetables were available and they couldn’t keep autumn produce in a fridge so they preserved their summer and autumn crops with fermentation methods.
I find this so interesting. Because of following nature’s seasonal patterns, they automatically followed their own need for immunity, building tools to keep them healthy.
Eat probiotic-rich foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, yoghurt, kombucha, miso and fermented vegetables. If sauerkraut is too strong of a taste for you or your kids you can try kombucha, kefir or yoghurt if well tolerated.
"With fermented foods it is best to start with a small dose and build up."
Taking too much at once can cause bloating gas and stomach upsets. Start with half a teaspoon in kids and one teaspoon in adults. Work your way up to 1-2 Tablespoons a day.
Avoid artificial sweeteners. Recent studies found that sucralose - the main ingredient in Splenda - can drastically alter the balance in your microbiome. Artificial sweeteners can still also elevate your insulin levels, even in the absence of sugar. It’s best to steer clear.
Lastly, taking a quality probiotic is a great idea if you suffer from gut complaints or have recently undergone a course of antibiotics.
I have a handy tutorial on youtube where I go through how to make fail proof sauerkraut at home for a fraction of the cost of store-bought varieties.
Watch the video below to learn how to make your own sauerkraut.
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