The Best Probiotic Foods to Support your Gut Health
The Best Probiotic Foods for Gut Health
Your gut is home to trillions of microbes – bacteria, yeasts and archea – with more microbes in your own gut than there are people in the World. The more we learn about the role the gut microbiome plays in our overall mental and physical health, the more we recognise the need to support this community to help it flourish and thrive.
Why should I consume probiotic foods?
Just like we should choose foods to fuel our body, we should also include foods that help to maintain the correct balance of beneficial bacteria and other microbes in the gut. Probiotics are live microorganisms that have a beneficial effect when consumed either in foods or as supplements. Probiotic foods are fermented foods. In previous generations, these foods were eaten in abundance as a way to preserve food or to make them more palatable or digestible. Little did our ancestors know that these foods were also promoting the health of the gut too.
Some benefits of fermented foods:
- To help support the community of beneficial microorganisms
- To support the immune system (since 70% of immune cells reside in the gut)
- Produce substances that support the gut mucosal barrier.
These are some of the best probiotic foods to include in your diet every day
A traditional German food made by fermenting cabbage in brine and salt. One of my favourites is from The River Cottage The Cultures Collective with an organic unpasteurised range including turmeric, beetroot and carrot. Be aware that shop bought pasteurised sauerkraut will destroy much of the beneficial bacteria.
Apple cider vinegar
Whilst the jury is out whether this strictly counts as a probiotic food, I am including it in my list since it goes through a double fermentation process to convert apple juice to vinegar. One of my favourites is Willy’s ACV, organic and winner of the Great Taste awards. ACV is considered to have many benefits from supporting overall gut health and helping support the acidic environment of the stomach. Use a teaspoon to a dessert spoon in lemon water (it’s strong!). Add a teaspoon to the same amount of water before eating to support digestion.
Miso is a traditional Japanese fermented soya product used as a seasoning that is also protein rich. One of the most common ways to enjoy it is in a vegetable soup. The Japanese have always fermented soya to reduce the phytic acid levels and to make soya more easily
A fermented soya bean product. It’s a great source of protein for vegans that’s rich in calcium, vitamin K and vitamin D. It’s also rich in Isoflavones, a type of estrogen that’s very helpful for women going through menopausal symptoms.
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