Five Fermented Foods for a Healthy Gut
Fermented foods have been around for centuries and with good reason! The healthy bacterium, which proliferates during the fermentation process, is rich in immune boosting probiotics. Probiotics are good bacteria that line the digestive tract and support the body’s ability to fight infection and absorb nutrients.
Probiotics are also responsible for creating enzymes that destroy harmful bacteria and help maintain a healthy growth of good bacteria. A whopping 80% of body’s immune system is located in the gut! It is essential to the vitality of the entire body that the digestive system function optimally.
Several of the foods we already routinely enjoy as apart of the diet are fermented. Beer, wine, vinegar, horseradish, sauerkraut, sourdough and yoghurt are among the more common choices. It is most beneficial to introduce a number of different fermented foods into the diet. Variety keeps things exciting and offers the body probiotics and other nutrients from more than one source.
My absolute favourite yoghurts are made from a variety of dairy-free milks, which are fermented and turned into bacteria-rich yoghurt. Local company www.yoso.ca offers a number of options including unsweetened coconut milk, cashew milk and almond milk yoghurts.
- Miso (Organic)
Miso is made from fermented soybeans. The most common use of miso is in the traditional Japanese miso soup. It can also be used to add a kick of savoury flavour to stews and sauces as well as a tasty addition to Asian-fusion salad dressings.
- Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Apples, sugar and water when fermented turn into apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is highly beneficial to the digestive system. Chock full of probiotics and natural digestive enzymes this is one food that packs a serious nutritional punch!
- Tempeh (Organic)
Made from fermented soybeans, tempeh offers all the health benefits of soy without the drawbacks of highly processed tofu. Not only is tempeh a good source of probiotics it is also high in protein and other essential nutrients. Try it sliced thin and lightly pan-fried then add the warm slices to a toasted sandwich or salad.
Kombucha is a drink made by fermenting tea, sugar and bacterial cultures. Health benefits include improvements in energy levels, metabolic disorders, allergies, and digestive health. Kombucha is easy to prepare at home with a starter kit that can be purchased for $15-25 or buy it for $3–$5 a bottle at most health food stores.
Jennifer Nicol is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist at our Bay & Dundas Wellness Center and Yoga Instructor at our Bay & Dundas and Yonge & Eglinton studio locations.