You are what you eat.
A statement that has been claimed for as long as I can remember, and now is proven to be correct!
Over the years, it has become clear in the health and nutrition world, that gut health is the key to overall health throughout the body. Gut health has been proven to be the most important factor when trying to solve all other health problems within the anatomy. I’m not a nutritionist, nor do I have any schooling surrounding food, however, if you do your research it is apparent that our gut health makes up about 80% of our immune system. Therefore, in short, healthy gut = healthy immune system.
There are many different foods that can affect gut health. However, one of the more highlighted foods that is recommended for improving gut health, are fermented foods.
Let’s start with a little information on the importance of gut health. Problems in the gut can be linked to problems all over the body, including; mood, memory, skin, allergies, hormones, immune system, energy levels, joint pain, vitamin production, and more! Hard to believe eh? Healing you gut allows your body build a healthy and stronger immune system, this then produces the good bacteria which tell your body it’s ok to feel good again.
The gut is referred to the body’s “second brain”, because of the connection between the gut and the brain. The gut communicates with the brain about overall health, including immune system and mental health too.
So, what should you be doing to improve your gut health?
This is where fermented foods come into play. The microflora that live in fermented foods actually create a protective lining in the intestine. This can increase antibodies (these identify and fight off foreign objects in the body, like bacteria and viruses), and strengthen the immune system. They can regulate your appetite, reduces sugar cravings, and refined carb cravings.
Fermented foods contain probiotics, which are the good bacteria that line your gut. Your gut is responsible for nutrient absorption and supporting your immune system. Thus, adding probiotics (found in fermented foods) can increase energy levels, improve digestion, contribute to healthier skin, and weight loss.
Already eating fermented foods?
Now you may already be eating fermented food without even knowing it! Some common fermented foods are pickles, sauerkraut, and yogurt. However, if you want to step up your fermented foods game I recommend adding these foods as well!
Kefir – fermented milk products, or fermented coconut milk
Kombucha – fermented tea, improves digestion, increases energy, detoxes the body, supports the immunes system
Sauerkraut – fermented cabbage, aids circulation, fights inflammation, strengthens bones, reduces cholesterol
Miso – fermented soybean, barley, chickpea, or brown rice with koji (a fungus), anti-aging, helps maintain healthy skin, boosts immune system, improves bone health, promotes a healthy nervous system
Kimchi – fermented cabbage, veggies, and spices, improves cardiovascular and digestive health, has high levels of anti-oxidants
Now you know.
Now that you understand the impact fermented foods can have on the body, its clear why you should be incorporating them into your diet! This doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy all these fermented foods. But, I highly recommend adding 2 or 3 of these foods to start your fermented food kick. Personally, I think kombucha (pictured at the top of this blog) is one of the easiest and yummiest fermented foods to add into your diet. There are a ton of flavours and they all taste great! I suggest starting slow with fermented foods as well. Try a small amount, and build your body up so you don’t give your digestive system to much shock.
With all the benefits that fermented foods have for our bodies and gut health there is really no reason why you shouldn’t be adding these bacteria filled foods to your diet! If you are unsure about your health and what you might be missing in your diet I recommend seeing a certified holistic nutritionist or visiting a naturopathic doctor to help you begin your gut healing journey.