Fermented foods are one of the biggest food trends of 2017, and with very good reason. As the key to optimising gut health, scientists have found links between eating fermented foods, bacteria, and health and longevity.
Our guts are made up of 100 trillion bacteria colonies that is called our microbiome, which affects everything from our digestion to our mood and immunity. Fermentation changes the nutritional structure of some foods, often contributing to greater amounts of vitamins and minerals.
The popularity of these super-charged powerhouses has contributed to the growing trend of fermented foods and fermented superfoods, allowing everyone to benefit from the pre-digested and nutritiously enhanced foods. And we busy mamas could always do with a little boost!
Let’s break it down into three healthy gut essentials…
yogurt, miso, sauerkraut, kefir, and live pickles, kombucha
Eating foods rich in probiotics (i.e. healthy bacteria) is key to supporting your gut and keeping your colon healthy. Foods such as yogurt, miso, sauerkraut, kefir, live pickles, and kombucha are all fermented foods that are rich in diverse kinds of ‘good’ bacteria and populate your gut with the right flora.
asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, onions, beans, legumes, and soluble fibres that contain inulin
In order to gain most from your probiotic rich food, it’s important to also intake a healthy dose of prebiotics. Prebiotics are foods that support the digestion of the probiotics. Essentially, they are harder to digest foods that promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the intestines. Prebiotic foods include asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, onions, beans, legumes, and soluble fibres that contain inulin such as psyllium husk, or slippery elm.
3. Soothing Foods
ginger, fermented turmeric, chia seeds, chlorella, morninga, spirulina
Aside from populating our guts with healthy bacteria, we also should focus on soothing, or calming our intestines down. Foods that fight inflammation such as ginger, fermented turmeric, or chia are great as they can help with upset stomachs, digestive issues, or simply provide your gut some relief. An added bonus is that foods that fight inflammation are great preventative functional foods that prevent degenerative diseases. Additionally, superfoods such as chlorella, morninga, or spirulina all have calming effects on our digestive system as we literally clean out or intestines from the consequences of our bad habits (i.e. white bread, alcohol, cheese). These foods are nutritiously dense, and diverse, repopulating our guts with the nutritional needs that keep them healthy and strong.
You may also like NOURISH: Wholesome Alternatives for Immunity-Boosting Vitamin C and NOURISH: The Low-down on Kombucha.
As a general rule, try to find the fermented or sprouted varieties of most foods as these foods are pre-digested, so your body can more readily absorb the nutrition. These foods have increased probiotic activity and are often more alkalising than the non-fermented versions. Similar to fermenting, sprouted grains, nuts or seeds can increase the good bacteria activity, remove harsh digestive barriers that coat these grains/seeds such as phytic acid, and even lower the calories of the grain.
By Jayta Szpitalak – Nutritional Health Expert, Psychologist and the creative mastermind behind the bioavailable superfood brand Fermentanicals.