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8 fermented foods to improve digestive health

by Lara White (follow)
Lara is a health coach, writer & qualified Kinesiologist.
Nutrition (264)      Healthy Foods (75)      Lists (60)     
Most of us are well aware of the positive effects fermented grapes can have on our spirits, but we are learning that there’s more to fermented foods than just getting a good buzz on.

Gut health is at the forefront of health concerns today thanks to emerging evidence that reveals how important our microbiomes are to our overall health.

Every aspect of our health is dealt with and controlled by our gut. This includes hormones, our weight, how we digest our food, food sensitivities, overall wellness, food cravings, our moods, and more.

Your first step to establishing a healthy digestive system is giving your body more good bacteria . Here are some fermented foods that can help with this:

1. Yogurt
Mainly due to its probiotic content, yogurt has a long list of benefits. Research shows that yogurt’s billions of active live cultures will benefit your skin and support digestion. If you can handle dairy, raw, unpasteurised yogurt is your best bet. For those of us who are lactose intolerant, there are almond and coconut milk yogurt alternatives.

2. Sauerkraut



Sauerkraut


For hundreds of years, sauerkraut has been used as a healer, immune system booster, and digestive remedy. It is simple to make at home and a great way to preserve your food. The fermented cabbage in sauerkraut is naturally full of prebiotics and has B vitamins for good gut health. Have a serving per day with a meal of your choice.

3. Kefir
I like to think of kefir as drinkable yogurt. Research shows that kefir prevents toxins and other pathogens from getting into your blood by reducing irritation in the intestines. Not all kefir is created the same, though. Make sure if you are drinking dairy kefir that it isn’t loaded with refined sugar and is organic. You might also consider making your own coconut milk kefir.

4. Pickles
I’m talking about REAL pickles, not the kind you find on your grocery shelves. These are more like sauerkraut and made with cucumbers and spices. You can usually find the pickles at a health foods store in the refrigerated produce section. They are packed with good probiotics and minerals, such as silica which helps with the health of the skin, nails, and hair.

5. Kimchi
Another great source of probiotics, kimchi is sometimes called “Korean kraut.” Though it is also made with a base of cabbage, it’s normally richer in antioxidants than sauerkraut and features peppers and other vegetables. If you like to live life on the spicy side and want more bang for your buck, be sure to add kimchi to your plate each day.

6. Kombucha
Kombucha has exploded in popularity in recent years thanks to its probiotic properties. It is made from yeast, tea, bacteria, sugar, and clean water. If you are looking for a healthier alternative to soda, kombucha will deliver with its fizzy bite. Research shows that it aids in digestion and protects against illness.



homemade kombucha


7. Tempeh
Tempeh is an Indonesian “cake” that is commonly used as a replacement for meat in many vegan recipes because of its chewy texture and nutty flavour. Tempeh is made from a yeast starter and soybeans. It’s a great source of probiotic bacteria since it undergoes controlled fermentation.

8. Natto
Another soybean based fermented food is natto. It’s an excellent source of dietary fibre, calcium, vitamin K2, and iron. K2 is great for heart health as it gets calcium to your bones where it’s needed. It also features the anti-clotting agent nattokinase, which lowers your blood pressure and protects your brain and heart.

As you can see, joining the fermented foods trend is delicious and great for your gut. These time-tested foods will have you feeling great in no time.

Related
Why homemade yogurt rocks
Kefir: A probiotic powerhouse
Homemade Kombucha recipe
The truth about Kombucha

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