The human body contains more foreign microbes than human cells. In fact there are trillions of microbes in your gut alone. However, you also have a healthy microbiome in your mouth, in your eyes and on your skin. That begs the question(s): Are you feeding your little friends properly? Are you eating enough probiotic (microbe) rich food?
You may ask why you need to feed them and, if you have so many, why eat more? These are all good questions. The chances are that you are indeed feeding them, but, if fed the wrong thing, certain microbes can become overgrown and take over, causing negative symptoms including: fatigue, brain fog, digestive distress, sinus infections, and more.
By feeding them the proper, healthy kinds of probiotic foods, you cancel out the overgrowth in favor of a healthy gut population. When this microbiome is in balance, wonderful things can happen.
10 reasons to eat probiotic rich foods
- Provide enzymes to aid in digestion– These enzymes are especially helpful for the middle-age diet. Probiotics boost enzyme levels, which decline with age. They also contribute to anti-aging and longevity.
- Build a protective barrier along the digestive tract. This barrier prevents leaky gut, which allows larger molecules than normal to pass through, leading to food sensitivities or allergies and even autoimmune disorders.
- Produce anti-biotic and anti-viral substances to protect the gut and the body. These substances provide immune protection for the gut and the entire body.
- Help lower the pH in the digestive tract. These helpful little bugs produce the short chain fatty acids butyric acid and proprionic acid. “these organic acids lower the ph in the GI tract, making it more acidic which reduces the growth of pathogenic bacteria.”
- Nourish and energize the cell lining of the GI Tract – “It is estimated that the gut cells receive 60-70% of their energy from bacterial activity.”
- Produce vitamins – This further enhances the nutrition value of the probiotic food.
- Eliminates toxins and waste from the colon.
- Positively improve mood and aid in depression.
- Improved weight loss through reduced balanced microbiome and reduced sugar cravings.
- Manage GI disorders – many disorders of the GI tract could be due to an imbalance in the microbiome. Probiotic rich food can help balance the microbiome and bring stability to the GI tract.
10 awesome probiotic rich foods
Now that we know why to eat them, we need to know which foods are best. While you can buy some at the store, it’s always best to make your own, which is easy and inexpensive. I’ll be posting a greek yogurt recipe this Thursday on my KITCHEN BLOG. Also look for a DIY Sauerkraut recipe there next week.
- Kefir – This can be either water/coconut water kefir or dairy kefir. Water kefir is a bubbly drink that is often flavored with small amounts of fruit juice. Dairy kefir is simlar to yogurt but with a buttermilk texture. I favor this over yogurt due to the diversity of the microbes in the kefir, which can be anywhere from 10 strains to more than 30. Yogurt typically has only a few.
- Sauerkraut – As most of you know, this is fermented cabbage. I highly recommend making your own. Store bought sauerkraut is often pasteurized and contains no microbes. Proper sauerkraut is high in vitamin C, as well as digestive enzymes.
- Kombucha – This is a fermented and effervescent black tea. It helps support energy, digestion and liver detoxification.
- Yogurt – Most of you will buy this in the store. If you do, I recommend organic yogurt. Make sure the package says “active cultures”
- Kvass – I must admit, this one is unfamiliar to me. “Kvass is a traditional fermented beverage having a similar taste to beer. Much like kombucha because of its fermentation process and probiotic benefits, it is commonly made from stale, sourdough rye bread.”
- Apple cider vinegar – We’re talking about the raw-unrefined apple cider vinegar, which will often say “with the mother” on the label. ACV is known to help reduce cholesterol, improve insulin sensitivity, and weight loss.
- fermented pickles and veggies – Once again, we are talking about proper fermented pickles, not the canned, vinegar pickles in the store. Fermented veggies are packed with healthy probiotics
- Traditional buttermilk – or cultured buttermilk. Once again, if you buy buttermilk in the store and it says “cultured buttermilk”, make sure it says “active cultures” on the label.
- Miso – Miso is “created by fermenting soybean, barley or brown rice with koji. Koji is a fungus, and the fermentation process takes anywhere from a few days to a few years to complete.” Some of the world’s centenarians eat fermented soy and miso!
- Brine-cured olives – Once again, olives are eaten throughout the Mediterranean, home of some of the world’s oldest people! Make sure to choose organic olives from a small company.
As I venture into the world of food fermenting, I have discovered how easy and inexpensive it is to make some of the world’s healthiest foods. Remember, food fermenting has been around for 1000’s of years as a way of food preservation. Take time to experiment and find the foods you like best. Your little buggy friends will thank you, and so will your body!