There is growing interest in the idea that the bacteria in our digestive tract have a strong influence on our overall health. But what difference does it really make? How do we know if we are out of balance? And how do we incorporate these foods easily into our daily meals?
We don’t often think about anything living in our intestines other than the food we have eaten, but it is actually home to an amazing number of bacteria that we need to be in proper balance in order to function optimally. These beneficial bacteria perform functions such as helping to digest food, absorb nutrients and keep bad bacteria and yeasts in check. In fact, in the human body, there are as many bacteria cells as there are human cells!
Unfortunately, our current lifestyle has a negative impact on the balance of bacteria in our gut. Our high-stress life, combined with regular consumption of processed foods and antibiotics has resulted in a reduced diversity of beneficial bacteria that may be linked to symptoms of inflammation such as joint pain, acne, heart disease, and depression. Eating fermented foods will introduce beneficial bacteria into the digestive system to help rebalance the gut and reduce these unwanted symptoms.
If you’re struggling with your weight, consider that an overgrowth of the bad bacteria can be the cause of your cravings for foods high in sugar and refined starch. There are many studies indicating that overweight individuals have a greater incidence of imbalanced microflora. Fermented foods such as kimchi can improve metabolism leading to weight loss.
Get a guide to help you to get started eliminating the high sugar and starch foods by downloading a week’s worth of recipes here.
Gut microflora plays a pivotal role in maintaining a healthy immune system as the gut tissue represents almost 70% of the entire immune system. Adding fermented foods into the diet can help to balance our system and help to improve a number of autoimmune diseases.
How to Easily Add Fermented Foods into Your Daily Diet
Fermented foods are readily available and easy to add to your diet. Try some of these options! A little bit each day is more beneficial than a lot every once in a while.
Miso – A paste made from fermented rice, barley or soy that can be added to dips, sauces and stirred into soups. It’s high in sodium so a little goes a long way!
Sauerkraut – Made from cabbage, this fermented food is an excellent source of probiotics and fiber.
Kimchi – Similar to sauerkraut, this Korean dish is made with cabbage and added spice. Enjoy it as a condiment whenever a spicy side is required.
Tempeh – A great vegan source of protein made from fermented soybeans that can be marinated, sautéed and enjoyed in a stir-fry or on top of a salad.
Kefir – This fermented milk drink can be made from milk, coconut milk or even water.
Kombucha – This fermented tea is a widely available beverage, but watch the sugar content. The best-for-you brews will have minimal sugar and a slightly vinegary taste.
Fermented Vegetables – Make these easily at home using your favourite vegetable combined with salt, water, and seasonings. Try this recipe for fermented carrots.