Our digestive tract contains both good and bad bacteria. Probiotics are what we call the friendly bacteria, which promote a healthy digestive system and are essential for good health. There are hundreds of types of probiotics. Some of the largest and most common are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. These two support colon health and promote healthy bowel movements. Why is this important to know?
Well, the gut is the heart of most health conditions and we don't even know it. A happy gut is one that has a good balance of good and bad bacteria. The average american tends to feed the 'bad bacteria' more than the good. This provides a imbalanced or highly acidic environment in the gut, which comes form sugar, wheat, alcohol, processed foods, high-stress, birth control pills, radiation exposure, over-the-counter medications, and antibiotics.
A bacterial imbalance in the gut results in:
- Impaired immune system
- Impaired digestive system
- Malabsorption of vitamins and minerals from food - vitamin deficiencies
- Yeast and fungal infections (Candida)
- Digestive issues (constipation, diarrhea, IBS, Chron's disease, ulcerative colitis)
- Skin issues
- Food allergies
This is why it's crucial to eliminate foods and lifestyle habits that destroy the gut lining, and incorporate more fermented foods that are packed with probiotics to help rebalance the bacteria in the gut. There are also probiotic supplements, but having the real deal (fermented foods) is the best way to get them.
My favorite fermented foods are:
- Fermented vegetables
- Coconut water kefir
- Coconut yogurt
If you're new to adding probiotics into your diet, start slowly because your body will go into a state of detoxification and you might experiences symptoms such as bloating and possibly skin issues, but you will soon be feeling great and seeing a great difference in digestion and overall health. Then you can move up to having them with every meal (recommended!).
I've been experimenting with making my own ferments at home, and reality is that they're so easy to make and so much more cost effective.
Today I am sharing with you the simplest sauerkraut recipe ever. Hope you enjoy making it!
1 head purple cabbage, shredded, save outer leaf
1 Tablespoon Sea salt (must be unrefined sea salt)
- Place the shredded cabbage in a large glass bowl.
- Sprinkle with sea salt and massage with hands until wilted and juice covers bottom of the bowl, 3-5 minutes.
- Start filling a glass jar by scooping some of the cabbage with it's juice into it with a wooden spoon. Best to use glass or wood because any type of metal will kill off beneficial bacteria. Press down firmly with spoon after each scoop to pack it in tightly. Add remaining cabbage juice to fill jar. Take cabbage leaf that you initially saved, fold, and place at the surface of jar to keep air out and keep cabbage submerged in juice (press down).
- Cover jar tightly, making sure no air gets in. Leave on counter and press down on cabbage each day for about 3 days. Taste after 3 days (with wooden spoon). You can ferment it until it reaches your desired taste. Foam and bubbles on the surface are normal and signs of healthy fermentation. When done, cover with a lid and keep in refrigerator.
Are you new to fermented foods? What are your favorite probiotic-rich foods?