Yesterday I had such an amazing opportunity, I got to share with the world a brief tidbit of my passion for gut health, probiotics and fermented foods. While I was a bit nervous to start I think it came of clearly and I got a quick chance to spread the word. I can’t say enough how important these friendly micro organisms are for our overall health and I will be adding some resources that I believe will help you learn more about them. For now enjoy this short interview I did on Texas Living on the way, why and how.
(see below for a quick recap)
What Are Probiotics?
Helpful bacteria that live all around us and make up a huge piece of the digestive process. They help do many functions including assimilation and utilization of food to helping regulate our immune system, which is largely located in the gut. The average healthy adult has anywhere from 3-4lbs. of bacteria (good and bad) in their digestive tract.
Where Are They Found?
They are all over, but we get them mostly from probiotic rich foods like properly fermented vegetables, milk products like yogurt and kefir as well as fermented drinks such as kombucha. Every culture typically has some type of fermented food that accompanies as meal; the Japanese eat miso or natto, the Germans eat sauerkraut, the Koreans eat kimchi. Unfortunately we have lost these traditions in our current food system which in turn has comprimised our digestive health.
How Can You Benefit From Them?
Start slowly, if you’ve never used or eaten probiotic rich foods before or supplemented with them once every day to couple of days. If you do not have any negative reactions (bloating, gas etc) continue to slowly up your intake to a few times per day. Examples of proper servings include 4oz kombucha, 2 tablespoons of sauerkraut, 1/2 cup yogurt. I consume fermented foods at least twice daily or use a supplement.
Sources of Probiotics?
Supplements: If you choose you can take a daily capsule.. I recommend and use these. They are award winning and contain over 12 different strands of bacteria as opposed to only one or two.
Sauerkraut: An easy vegetable to add to any meal sauerkraut is a mixture of cabbage, sea salt and water that is fermented over a few days to a few weeks depending on your method. Here’s a link on how to easily make your own. If you’re not into that, Bubbies is my favorite larger commercial brand, but look for local alternatives (always buy refrigerated kraut as the others are pasteurized leaving them void of any benefit).
Kimchi: Make your own or look in your local Whole Foods or other natural market. A great addition to soups and stews or eaten alone.
Miso: Miso Master, Mr. Miso are both good. Also found in most natural foods or Asian markets. A fermented soybean paste, Miso is great in salad dressings and soups.
Kombucha: Black tea cultured with sugar consuming friendly bacteria. Make your own for cheap! Or I like larger brands like GT’s Synergy as well as those smaller and local to me in Texas.
Atchara: This is a product that took a while for me to get used to but absolutely love now, fermented green papaya.
There are of course other options. If you have any questions about or would like to share your favorite fermented foods please do so!
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